Азис (Azis) is a Bulgarian artist, who is best known for his flamboyant personality and non-traditional gender personification. I was looking on Youtube for other songs by some of my favourite Eurovision artists from the past couple of years and I saw a video of Azis in the related sidebar, at first I thought he was a woman and when I watched the video I suddenly found myself watching more and more and more! As my friend Monique put it, “well he just thinks he’s sex on legs!”. Azis’ music is of the chalga (folk-pop) style, and while I believe he mostly sings in Bulgarian the melismas of his vocals and music style has an aesthetic much akin to many Arabic artists.
In October 2006, Azis married his husband Niki Kitaetsa, though their marriage is not legally recognized given the laws of Bulgaria. =( In August 2007, Azis became a father to a daughter conceived via artificial insemination. Her name is Raya and her mother is Azis’ life-long friend Gala. At the end of November 2007, controversy erupted when Boiko Borisov, then-mayor of Sofia, elected to take down billboards with pictures of Azis kissing his husband. Both men were shirtless in the campaign. A wave of removing the posters from other Bulgarian cities followed. Although Borisov said the reason behind his decision was that the posters were too graphic, media said that much more explicit advertising could be found all over Sofia without being taken down. The Bulgarian LGBT social movement Gemini and the director of TV2 said that the same-sex nature of the ad, as opposed to its racy content, was what led to its removal by an order of the mayor.
Despite these controversies, Azis is widely successful in Bulgaria. In the 2006 TV programme Velikite Balgari (the Bulgarian version of the 2002 Greatest Britons from BBC), Azis was elected as the 21st greatest Bulgarian of all time (and was in fact the second ranking “living person” on the list, after football player Hristo Stoichkov, who was 12th overall). He has released 10 albums since 1999, of which I have only been able to get a hold of 2006’s Дива (Diva). He has also released several DVDs. Even more impressive is his list of awards, 20 Annual Awards, including 6 years of Best Singer, 7 for Best Stage or Best Media Presence, and 3 Best Albums!
Azis has collaborated with many artists in Bulgaria and is featured in numerous videos. He just seems like fun! I wish I could get more of his music!