Raised in the German city of Bochum, Grönemeyer began playing music as a child. Eventually splitting his time between musical and acting pursuits, he managed to win roles on TV before his singing career found solid footing. In 1981, he starred with Jürgen Prochnow in director Wolfgang Petersen's international breakthrough film, "Das Boot." Two years later, Grönemeyer combined his talents as an actor and musician for the biopic "Spring Symphony" (1983), in which he starred, along with Nastassja Kinski, and composed the score. Although it seemed as though Grönemeyer was on track to become one of Germany's most renowned screen stars, he opted to focus on his music, and finally scored a hit record with 1984's 4630 Bochum. Before long, Grönemeyer left screen acting behind entirely and continued honing his songwriting and singing skills. In 1999, he founded his own label, Grönland Records, and three years later, he had another major project out, with Mensch becoming one of Germany's all-time bestselling albums. Half a decade later, he returned with the highly successful 12, and that year he also had a brief appearance in Anton Corbijn's "Control" (2007), a moody biopic about Ian Curtis, the late frontman for the post-punk band Joy Division. In 2010, he contributed the film score to Corbijn's thriller "The American," starring George Clooney. Although non-European success had mostly eluded Grönemeyer, in 2013 he released the English-language album I Walk and performed his first concerts in the United States, marking a new phase of his career.