MAINZ, Germany — Watch out, Susan Boyle: Germany's own unlikely star is on the rise. A Sony music executive working out on a fitness bike was intrigued when he saw a singing truck driver featured on a report by German broadcaster ZDF — and has helped set 47-year-old Winfried Biermann on the road to stardom.
“At first, I only saw images of a truck driver moving his mouth, but had no sound,” Michael Brueggemann, head of Sony Classical Music Germany, told NBC News. “When I later heard his singing, I said we have to sign him up — and had a co-worker chase him down on a German highway.”
The chase led to Biermann, who is widely known as "Winni." He has been at the wheel since 1997 transporting building materials and rubble for a logistics firm in western Germany.
“Every day, I sing operas and operettas while driving my 40-ton truck,” Biermann told NBC News. “Today, even my three sons applaud my singing at home, even though they fancy totally different music styles.”
While Biermann said he only took up singing in 2006 — when a friend introduced him to a men’s choir with 62 singers — he looks set to follow in the footsteps of amateur singers-turned-superstars, thanks to a Sony recording contract.
Last week, Biermann celebrated his birthday in a professional recording studio, where he laid down tracks to his first three songs for his upcoming album: "A Song Drives Around the World."
"It was the best birthday of my life,” Biermann said in a phone interview Tuesday as he drove his truck.
“What is happening to me is unbelievable, it is a dream,” he added. “But for now, I will not give up my 12-hour working days in the truck.”