Born in Ostrava, Marie Rottrová has been one of the brightest stars of our stages for over 50 years now and has lent her voice to many iconic hits. It's hard to believe that this sophisticated lady will turn 80 in a year! She is literally brimming with energy and much younger colleagues could envy her for her appearance - and for her iconic style dominated by skirts and high heels, which has accompanied her throughout her life.
This charming brunette was born in Ostrava 79 years ago. Music has accompanied her since childhood, as her mother was a singer and her father an organist. And even though Marie had taken to the piano already as a child, when she reached teenage years, she longed to become a figure skater or teacher. However, an unfavorable background check prevented her from studying at a pedagogical school, as well as enrolling in a Prague law school several years later. Until 1960, she therefore worked as a clerk who could only sing and play the piano in her spare time.
It was a coincidence that changed her life - a music competition searching for young talents, which she took part in in 1960. Thanks to the contest, Rottrová appeared on Czechoslovak television, where she charmed everyone with the song Rozmarné stvoření (Whimsical Creature).
Rottrová's professional singing career started, somewhat untraditionally, only after the birth of her two small children. And until 1985 she resisted the lure of the capital city and remained loyal to her native Ostrava. There she began her collaboration with the first Ostrava rock band Samuel, and later with the professional-level ensemble Majestic. That's when she switched to soul and drew inspiration from singer such as Aretha Franklin. In 1969, she became a member of the band Flamingo, where she sang with Petr Němec, who is closely connected with Rottrová's soul period.
And so the clerk turned into a diva who collaborated with almost all the great dance orchestras. Later on, Jaromír Nohavica, Jaroslav Wykrent and Jiřina Fikejzová (who has also written lyrics for Waldemar Matuška or Hana Hegerová) all wrote lyrics for her. Since Marie Rottrová is a woman of many talents, she wrote a number of songs herself, and even composed the music.
Her first big hit was White Horse - a Czech version of the song Ballada wagonowa by Polish star Maryla Rodowicz, followed by another immortal hit Markéta. In addition to cover songs from abroad, she also captivated the audience with original songs, such as Lásko (Love), Řeka lásky (The River of Love) or Měli jsme se potkat dřív (We Should Meet Sooner). And who wouldn't know Zřejmě letos nikde nejsou kytky (There Seem to Be No Flowers Anywhere This Year), Lásko voníš deštěm (She's Gone), Řekni, kde ty kytky jsou (Where Have All the Flowers Gone) či S tím bláznem si nic nezačínej (Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer)?
She has released dozens of records and albums during her career. Among the most important ones counts her album Podívej (Look) that she produced with Zdeněk Vřešťál and Vít Sázavský from the band Neřež, for which she won a platinum record. Her album Všechno nejlepší (All the Best, 2003), which contained a selection of her songs, also enjoyed great success. Even though Rottrová had long hesitated whether to take this step, her concerns turned out to be unfounded. The album sold more than 40,000 copies and she won two platinum records for it. Two years later, Všechno nejlepší 2 (All the Best 2) followed up on the success of the first best of album, winning a gold record. Despite all her success, the singer has never won the Czech Nightingale, but she did rank 3rd in 1971.
She also released an album of duets Jen ty a já (Just You and Me), on which she collaborated with great names such as Karel Gott or Karel Černoch.
She has announced the end of her career several times, even organized a huge, magnificent goodbye-concert in a sold-out hall in Ostrava. But she always began to miss music and ended up postponing retirement multiple times. The last time was this happened was in February, when she released her last song, Cesta (The Journey).
By the way, she seems to be enjoying her life a lot in recent years! In addition to aging with grace, she got lucky in her love life. Specifically with her third husband, the 15 years younger businessman Milan Říha, with whom she lives on the outskirts of Prague. She also has two adult sons, both composers, and looks forward to grandchildren.