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Toše Proeski

Toše Proeski
Toše at his last concert in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia on 5 October 2007.
Background information
Birth nameTodor Proeski
Born(1981-01-25)25 January 1981
Prilep, SR Macedonia, SFR Yugoslavia
Died16 October 2007(2007-10-16) (aged 26)
Nova Gradiška, Croatia
GenresMacedonian traditional music, classical, Pop, Pop-Rock, Rock, Electronic
InstrumentsKeyboard, guitar, piano, saxophone, clarinet, bass guitar, drums
Years active1996–2007
LabelsHayat Production (for Bosnia and Herzegovina releases, 2002–2007), City Records (for Serbia releases, 2004–2009), BK Music (for Yugoslavia, 2002, 2004)

Todor Proeski (Macedonian: Тодор "Тоше" Проески [ˈtɔʃɛ ˈprɔɛski] (About this soundlisten); 25 January 1981 – 16 October 2007) was a Macedonian multi-genre singer, songwriter and actor. He was popular across the Balkans and was considered a top act of the local Macedonian and Balkan music scene. He was dubbed the "Elvis Presley of the Balkans" by BBC News.[1] He died in a car crash on the Zagreb–Lipovac A3 highway, near Nova Gradiška in Croatia in the morning on 16 October 2007, aged 26.[2]


Early years

Proeski was born in Prilep[3] and grew up in Kruševo[3] as the son of an Aromanian family.[4][5] After his musical talent was discovered at the age of 12, he was chosen to perform at the popular children's song festival Zlatno Slavejče (eng.: Golden Nightingale) in Skopje, performing the song "Јаs i mојоt dеdо" in the Aromanian language.[6][7][8] This was his first public music performance; however, his successful career began in 1996 when he participated in the teenage music festival Melfest in Prilep.

Following this public exposure, he was acclaimed for his strong vocal capabilities. This led to his rise to fame when he participated in the music festival Makfest in Štip with the song "Pušti me" ("Let Me Go") in 1997. His fanbase quickly grew and he continued to make use of festivals, such as SkopjeFest and OhridFest, as a platform for promotion and publicity. Proeski collaborated with one of Macedonia's acclaimed lyricists and composers, Grigor Koprov, to produce some of his most successful songs, such as "Usni na usni" ("Lips over Lips") and "Sonce vo tvoite rusi kosi" ("Sun in Your Golden Hair"). In 1999, he released his debut album, Nekade vo noḱta (Somewhere in the Night). In the summer of the same year, Proeski performed his first solo concert in Skopje.

In 2000, Proeski participated in the Eurovision pre-selection for Macedonia in SkopjeFest. He sang "Solzi pravat zlaten prsten" ("Tears Make a Golden Ring"), which won the televoting from the public; however, he finished third overall behind Karolina Gočeva and the winners XXL. During that period, he began recording tracks for his second album, Sinot božji (The Son of God), which was promoted by the end of June 2000. The album included songs such as "Nemir" ("Restless") (a duet with Karolina Gočeva), "Vo kosi da ti spijam" ("Sleeping in Your Hair"), "Izlaži me ušte ednaš" ("Lie to Me One More Time"), as well as "Iluzija" ("Illusion") (Grand Prix at the festival Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk) and "Tajno moja" ("Secret of Mine"). Two songs are composed by Kire Kostov (winning second prize at the festival Sunčane Skale, held in Herceg Novi, now Montenegro).

The Serbian production house BK Sound purchased the rights to release Proeski's latest album in the other former Yugoslav republics, which led to his victory of the Oscar of Popularity in those former republics for the year of 2000, and his sold-out shows in Skopje and Belgrade. Proeski embarked on an Australian tour along with other Macedonian singers in 2001.

Rise to regional stardom

After spending his time in recording studios in Athens, Greece, Proeski released his third album "Ako me pogledneš vo oči" ("If You Look into My Eyes") in October 2002 in Macedonian and Serbian. After the release, Proeski went on a tour throughout Macedonia doing intense promotion. He also went to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria for further promotion. Proeski won Beovizija in Belgrade on April 2003, with "Čija si" ("To Whom Do You Belong?"), a song which became a huge hit in Macedonia and the other former Yugoslav republics. This song was due to represent Serbia and Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 but the EBU stated that too many countries wanted to enter in that year and so some would be forced to withdraw. Serbia and Montenegro (who participated as one country at the time) were one of them.

To improve his singing, Proeski took classes in New York from maestro William Riley, who was also coach to famous tenor, Luciano Pavarotti. When he returned, Proeski held humanitarian concerts throughout Macedonia. He was awarded with the Mother Theresa Humanitarian Award and in 2003 he became a Regional UNICEF Ambassador.

Proeski on the rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 held in Istanbul, Turkey.

In 2004, MKTV chose Proeski to represent Macedonia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul, Turkey, and in February, he performed eight songs, where a jury, televoting, and his own opinion chose the song. The song "Angel si ti" ("You're an Angel") was chosen by all three. In April, Proeski released his album "Dan za nas" ("A Day For Us"), which featured the eight songs from the Eurovision selection in Macedonian.

In May, Proeski finished 14th with the song "Life", which was the English version of "Angel si ti". Prior to the contest he was popularised by reporters due to his tremendous opera singing ability, at his press conferences.

All eight songs were recorded in English, but only the winning song of the national final, "Life", was released. During the TV national final show, after each song was performed, a clip of the song was played in English to show viewers how it would sound if that song won the contest and was performed in English at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 final.

In 2004 Proeski was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and recorded the song "This World" which became the UNICEF anthem. Proeski signed a contract with Dallas Records so his next album could be released in Croatia and Slovenia. To establish himself in these countries, Proeski recorded "Krajnje vreme" with Slovenian singer, Anja Rupel. In 2005, Toše's fifth album Po tebe (After You) was released throughout ex-Yugoslavia. Po tebe is one of the most successful Balkan albums ever. It topped music charts for months in Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Božilak (Rainbow) was a compilation of 14 selected traditional Macedonian songs arranged by Saša Nikolovski Gjumar, Ilija Pejovski and Soni Petrovski. The artist was backed up by a symphony orchestra on the album.

His last album Igri bez granici (Macedonian title)/Igra bez granica (Serbo-Croatian title) ("Game Without Limits") was released all over ex-Yugoslavia in August 2007.

Apart from songs in Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, he also recorded one song in Slovene, "Moja" ("Mine") in 2007, and one in Italian, "Aria" ("Air"), with Italian superstar, Gianna Nannini. The list of artists who collaborated with Proeski includes Anja Rupel, Antonija Šola, Bora Čorba, Karolina Gočeva, Esma Redžepova, Gianna Nannini, Goca Tržan, Grigor Koprov, Jeff Beck, Tony Cetinski, Željko Joksimović and other notable musicians. Prior to his death, he was a student in his final year in the solo singing department of the Skopje Music Academy.


Proeski also established himself as a songwriter. He wrote several hits for himself including "Ima li dan za nas" ("Is There A Day For Us"), "Slušaš li" ("Are You Listening"), "Malečka" ("Little One") and "Polsko cveḱe" ("Field Flower"). In 2004, Proeski composed "Muza" ("Muse") for Martin Vučić, the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 representative for Macedonia. It became the title track for the young artist's second album. In interviews, Proeski stated that he had written over 100 songs but was waiting for the right moments to record them as they were still in demo form.

Toše's last concert was held on 5 October 2007 for the Primary Education Project for USAID. The concert raised tens of thousands of euros for the primary schools of Macedonia. The concert was attended by over 40,000 people and viewed all over the world.

The night before his death, Proeski gave his final interview to the Macedonian Television Station Kanal 5. He talked about his intention to finish his Musical Academy studies, his search for his soul mate, and his new album in the works.[9][10]


During the early morning of 16 October 2007, at approximately 6:20 am, Proeski died in a car accident on the Zagreb–Lipovac highway near Nova Gradiška, Croatia. He was a passenger along with his manager Ljiljana Petrović in a Volkswagen Touareg driven by Georgij Georgijevski. The Touareg crashed into the back of a truck and then into the median barrier, killing Proeski instantly, crushing the third vertebrae of his neck, although the truck sustained no damage. Proeski was asleep in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash.[11] Of the other two passengers, only the driver suffered serious injuries (head trauma).

Proeski's body arrived at midnight in Skopje by helicopter of the Macedonian army, and was transported by car to his home town of Kruševo. Grieving citizens gathered to pay their last respects at the airport and also in Macedonia Square. The Embassy of the United States of America, the USAID and the Diplomatic mission of the European Union published official statements on the death of Toše Proeski.[12][13][14] 17 October was pronounced a national day of mourning in Macedonia.[2] The three days following his death were pronounced days of mourning in the City of Kruševo.[15]

After his death, the government of the Republic of Macedonia, gave him the title "Honorable citizen of Macedonia"[11]

State funeral

Toše's grave in Kruševo has become a pilgrimage point

The government organized an official state funeral[16] for Proeski, which was held on 17 October 2007 in his home town of Kruševo, including military honour ceremonies by the Ceremonial Guard Battalion of the Macedonian Army (personnel of which conducted an honorary rifle salute) and a military band. The funeral, which was broadcast by the national Macedonian TV, was attended by many domestic and foreign delegations, including the President Branko Crvenkovski, the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, members of the Macedonian Parliament and its President Ljubiša Georgievski and other high-ranking officials, the US and the EU Ambassadors Gillian Milovanovic and Erwan Fouéré and other diplomats, representatives of the Red Cross, the USAID and other organizations, sport clubs etc. Also, the funeral was attended by many notable musicians from Macedonia and other countries, including: Karolina Gočeva, Kaliopi, Vlado Janevski, Lambe Alabakoski, Elena Risteska, Jovan Jovanov, Martin Vučić, Adrian Gaxha, Tijana Dapčević and her sister Tamara Todevska, Aki Rahimovski (the frontman of Parni valjak), Toni Cetinski, Ceca Ražnatović, Željko Joksimović, Vlado Georgiev and many others. The religious service was held by the Macedonian Orthodox Church led by the Archbishop Stephen of Ohrid, as Proeski was a declared Orthodox Christian.[17]

Numerous websites, blogs and internet forums are filled with the last messages from his fans and friends. A petition was available online[citation needed] for Toše Proeski to be remembered by naming educational facilities, like the local Center for Music Education in Bitola, where he had studied to carry his name. This petition is to promote an annual humanitarian concert, carrying his name "Toše Proeski" for the poor and disabled and those of desperate need of medical attention. A page for condolences can be found at the Kruševo municipality official website.

Since his death, each year on 25 January Mile Stojkoski as a symbol of grief and respect runs a marathon in his wheelchair from Prilep to Proeski's grave in Kruševo. Since 2008 Stojkoski run an additional long distance marathon starting from Kruševo in honor of Toše Proeski.[18] These two notable Macedonians both received the Mother Teresa Award for their humanitarian accomplishments and shared a close friendship.[19][20]

An online petition was held for a tribute to be paid to Toše Proeski at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. It gathered over 13,900 signings however it was not honoured. Tamara Todevska, singer of the Macedonian Eurovision entry of this year said that their entry was dedicated to a few people including their "angel who is up there watching over us".

On 25 April 2011 "Memorial House Todor Proeski" has been opened in Kruševo. At World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2011, in Barcelona, the building won award "People's Choice Award, by OpenBuildings" as the most beautiful one in the world.

Tribute concerts

On 5 October 2008, the anniversary of Proeski's last concert before his death a tribute concert was held in Skopje. Over twenty singers from various Balkan countries performed.[21]

A documentary about the work of Toše Proeski was released on 12 February 2009 in cinemas all over Macedonia.

Another concert was held on 24 January 2010, the day before what would have been Toše's 29th birthday.

A memorial concert for Toše was held on 2 November 2018. It included many popular Balkan musicians and was held at the SCBT Arena.

National football stadium

On 9 April 2019, North Macedonia's government made a decision to rename the sports stadium "Philip II" in the capital city of Skopje in honour of Toše.[22] The stadium's new name is "Toše Proeski National Arena".


Immediately after Toše Proeski's death was announced, the citizens of Skopje and people from all around Macedonia, as well as foreigners, started to gather at the Macedonia Square bringing candles, flowers and messages of condolence in his memory. Also many institutions such as schools, universities, sport clubs and business companies joined the spontaneous commemorative campaign. Similar gatherings took place in many other cities around the country, but also around the Balkans, especially in the former Yugoslav countries and the diaspora. A mourning ceremony was organized in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina near Skenderija, where around 2000 people gathered to light candles in memory of Toše Proeski.[23][24]




  • The Platinum Collection (2008)
  • The Ultimate Collection (2009)
  • Toše i prijatelji (2010)
  • Toše: Poslednji pozdrav (2011)
  • S ljubavlju od Tošeta (2011)
  • The Platinum Collection (6 CD Box) (2012)
  • The Best Of (2013)
  • Secret Place (2018)


  • Zabranjena Ljubav one episode #1.402 Mladic Bosko (2006)
  • Kako Ubiv Svetec Tose (2004)
  • Nad Lipom 35 one episode #2.2 Himself (2007)

Singles chart positions

His chart toppers include:

Year Single Translation Chart positions[citation needed] Album
1999 "Tajno moja" "My Secret" 1 Sinot Božji
2003 "Ako me pogledneš vo oči/Ako me pogledaš u oči" "If You Look into My Eyes" 1 1 1 Ako me pogledneš vo oči/Ako me pogledaš u oči
"Soba za taga/Soba za tugu" "Room of Sorrow" 1 1 1
"Magija/Čini" (feat. Esma Redžepova) "Spells" 1 1 1
2004 "Life" 1 2 25 49 Den za nas/Dan za nas
"Čija si" "To Whom Do You Belong" 1 1 1 10
2005 "Žao mi je" "I Am Sorry" Po tebe/Pratim te
"Po tebe/Pratim te" "After You/I'm Following You" 1 1 1 1
"Koj li ti grize obrazi/Ko ti to grize obraze" "Who's Biting Your Cheeks" 1 1 1 1
2007 "Srce nije kamen" "The Heart Isn't Made of Stone" 1 3 Igri bez granici/Igra bez granica
"Volim osmijeh tvoj" "I Love Your Smile" 1 1 1 1 1
"Nikoj kako tebe ne baknuva/Ubijaš me usnama" "No One Kisses Like You/You Are Killing Me with Your Lips" 1 1 3
"Veži me za sebe" "Bind Me to Yourself" 1 4
"Igri Bez Granici/Igra Bez Granica" "Game Without Borders" 1 1 1 1 1
2008 "The Hardest Thing" 1 1 1 1 1 1 The Hardest Thing
"My Little One" (feat. his nephew Kristijan)
2010 "Još uvijek sanjam da smo zajedno" "I Still Dream That We Are Together" 1 1 1 1 1
An em dash (—) indicates that the single did not chart.

See also


  1. ^ "In pictures Macedonia mourns Tose Proeski – 'Elvis of the Balkans'"
  2. ^ a b Staff writer, Macedonia's government declares day of mourning over singer death. FOCUS News Agency. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b Biography at Toše Proeski's Official Site Archived 18 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Macedonia, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, p. 234.
  5. ^ Destination Avdela 2012, or back to the future a travelogue, Paul Beza, Fast-Print Publishing, 2013, ISBN 1780356285, p. 38.
  6. ^ Ѕвездите ќе пеат за „Златно славејче“, Дамјана Ивановска, Време, број 2134, 14.12.2010. Archived 19 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Тоше Проески – А1 Телевизија Archived 24 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Tose Proeski Timeline, Legacy & History
  9. ^ Hrvatska radiotelevizija/Croatian radiotelevision Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Poginuo Toše Proeski, tijelo prebačeno u Makedoniju – Archived 16 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ a b Casule, Kole.Shocked Macedonians mourn pop star Proeski. Reuters. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  12. ^ Official website of the US embassy in Macedonia Archived 19 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ USAID Macedonia Statement Archived 20 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Erwan Fouéré, EU Special Representative and Head of the Delegation of the European Commission Statement". Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  15. ^ Macedonia will bid last farewell to Tose on Wednesday – Makfax agency, Tuesday, 16.10.2007
  16. ^ Government of Republic of Macedonia official site Archived 20 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Toše Proeski's funeral – BBC in Macedonian language (in Macedonian)
  18. ^[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^
  21. ^ Concert in Tribute to Macedonian Pop Icon Unites Balkans
  22. ^ The stadium "Philip II" will be renamed to "National Arena Tose Proeski"
  23. ^, Macedonia
  24. ^ Dnevni Avaz, Bosnia and Herzegovina Archived 20 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Karolina Gočeva
with "Od nas zavisi"
Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Martin Vučić
with "Make My Day"
Preceded by
Beovizija winner
Succeeded by

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