Early life and career beinnings (1986–2007)
Elena Alexandra Apostoleanu was born on October 16, 1986, in Mangalia, Constanta, România. The singer recalls that the love for music was brought to her by her family, fully supporting her. In her childhood, her grandfather called her Inna, and she eventually decided that her stage name would be Inna. When she was a teenager, Inna listened to a large variety of musical genres. Although her favourite style was electro-dance, she also listened to Christina Aguilera's or Beyoncé's music. She also recalls how it was so easy for her to sing every song that she liked. She studied at Liceul Economic Mangalia (a high school in Mangalia, now called Colegiul Economic Mangalia). After graduating from high school with good marks, she attempted a degree in Political Sciences at the University of Constanta At the end of 2007, Inna signed a contract with Romanian producers Play & Win and she started recording her first tracks. In early 2008, Inna entered a couple of songs for the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, but none of them ("Goodbye" and "Sorry") managed to pass the pre-selection.
"Hot" era (2008–2010)
On November 12, 2008, Inna released her debut single "Hot", which was produced by Play & Win, a Romanian dance music trio and one of the leading music producers in Romania The single performed strong on the Romanian Top 100 as it peaked at number five in December 2008. It also became an airplay success in The Netherlands, Portugal, Brazil, Moldova, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Libya, Poland, Serbia, Gibraltar, Spain, Syria, Turkey, Russia, Hungary, France, Slovakia, Greece, Pakistan and Ukraine. In November, 2008, Inna was seeking back-up dancers for her promo tour. While on the internet there leaked some demos such as "Left Ride" or "O, ce veste minunata!", Inna was announcing shows in ones of the greatest Romanian clubs, such as Club Turabo. In early 2009, the single "Hot" entered the Spanish Singles Chart, the Hungarian Dance Chart and the Russian Airplay Chart. In all these countries, the song manahed to climb toward the top spot. Furthermore, it garnered a huge airplay success in countries such as Poland, Ukraine or Turkey. Meanwhile, the promo songs "Fever" and "On and On" officially premiered on Inna's website, being free for download for a limited period of two weeks. In the end, the song "Hot" was released and charted within the top ten in Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia) and the Netherlands.
A second single, entitled "Love", was released on March 12, 2009 and peaked at number four on the Romanian Hot 100 in April 2009, surpassing the achievements of "Hot". Inna received the first award nominations of her career at the Polish Eska Music Awards in 2009, being nominated for Best Singer and Best Single. She also performed "Hot". On April 15, 2009, Inna signed a contract with a prestigious American record label, Ultra Records. On May 12, Inna was nominated four times at the MTV Romania Music Awards, for "Best Dance", "Best Debut", "Best Show" and the special award for "Borderbreaker". The Awards were held on June 6, at Craiova. That night, Inna won all the awards she was nominated for, her show being named the best of the evening. Not long after, Inna became famous in Iceland. In the end of May, 2009, at Antena 1's main news program, the singer unveiled information about her upcoming album, entitled "Hot", after the lead single. Prior to her huge success in In the spring of 2009, Inna collaborated with Romanian DJ and producer Bob Taylor and they sent their common song "Déjà Vu" to Romanian mainstream radio on June 2, 2009. At first, the two of them decided to promote the single under pseudomanes, Inna becoming Anni. After reaching the Romanian top ten, they confirmed that they are the performers of the hit. It became yet another top ten hit on the Romanian Top 100, peaking at number seven in July 2009. It also was a major hit in Moldova, Bulgaria, Russia and Hungary. In the end of June, Inna won a Romanian Top Hits Award, the special one given by the Jury, for her top five hit "Love". Later that summer, the song "Hot" hit the first position of the Spanish Singles Chart, being certified Platinum by PROMUSICAE. The song sold over 40,000 copies during that summer. On August 6, 2009, Inna released her fourth single "Amazing", a song original recorded by Anca Badiu. The song became the most successful song of her career in her home country to date, reaching number one on the Romanian Top 100 in October 2009. It also entered the charts of several European countries, peaking at number-one in Bulgaria and at number-three in Russia. At the MTV Europe Music Awards 2009 on November 5, 2009 in Berlin, Germany, Inna won the award for Best Romanian Act Even though, she didn't manage to enter the shortlist for the Best European Act.Inna during an interview with MTV, after winning the"Best Romanian Act" Award.
In November 2009, while "Deja Vu" entered the first half of the Single Top 100 in Netherlands and the top ten in Belgium. In December, Inna premiered a new single, a Christmas song, called "I Need You For Christmas", which entered the Romanian Top 100 and the Russian Charts at lower positions and, later, it was listed in the 2010 compilation "I Need You For Christmas". In the end of 2009, Inna was named the "Woman of The Year" during the "Young Talents Awards". She won in front of other big Romanian names, such as Paula Seling, Elena Gheorghe, Claudia Pavel, Andra, Anda Adam, Amadeus and the girl band Blaxy Girls.
At the beginning of 2010, Inna reached an overwhelming chart success, as her single "Hot" peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard's Hot Dance Airplay chart. Both Inna and U.S. singer Ke$ha became the first artists on this chart to swap each others' number-one chart positions with debut singles, with Inna's "Hot" succeeding Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" and then having the later returned the favor to the former. To support the Romanian release of her debut album Hot in March 2010, Inna promoted a fifth single entitled "10 Minutes" and released it to Romanian radio on January 23, 2010. Without a music video, it failed to reach the top ten of the Romanian Top 100 and only peaked at number eighteen. For its international release a video was shot in London, England The video was directed by Paul Boyd, a fellow British director who had worked with Shania Twain or Mariah Carey. With the video out, the song re-entered the Romanian Top 100, but missed the top forty. It has also charted in Bulgaria and Russia, but out of the top ten.
During 2010, Inna's "Hot" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at #8, while also managing to reach the #1 spot on the UK Dance Chart. On the March 28 UK Singles Chart, "Hot" climbed 2 places to a current peak of #6. On 1 April 2010, the single also debuted on the Irish Singles Chart at #48. The song has also entered, on a lower position, the Canadian Hot 100. The song charted in Germany and peaked at number-six in the French Singles Chart. The single "Amazing" was a runner-up in the French Singles Chart, debuting at number-two. The song was also Inna's first top forty in Germany, her first top ten in the Swiss Singles Chart and her first chart effort in Austria. In the UK, the song entered the Official Chart at number 14. It is her second top ten in the European Hot 100, after "Hot The single "Deja Vu" peaked within the top ten in French and out of the top forty in the UK. Meanwhile, her debut album entered the top ten of the French Albums Chart, peaking at number-nine. The album went gold in that country, with over 50,000 copies sold. It was also listed in the year-end charts from Romania and France. A deluxe version of the album was released in France and Spain (the France one is entitled "Very Hot"). The promotional single "Un Momento", off the re-release, charted in Spain and Romania. At the 2010 Romanian Music Awards Inna won the awards for Best Female, Best Album, Best Show, Best Web Site and Best International Artist, and performed her Romanian number one single "Amazing". She also presented a brand new song entitled "Sun Is Up". The track was sent to Romanian radio stations in June 2010, premiering on Kiss FM. and quickly became a hit in her home country. On November 28, 2010 "Sun Is Up" reached number two on the Romanian Top 100, becoming Inna's fifth top ten single and her second highest charting single of her career, only being behind "Amazing".] The song has also reached the top spot in Bulgaria and the peak position, of #3 in Russia. The music video for "Sun Is Up" was shot on August 24, 2010 in Marbella, Spain. It was directed by Alex Herron, who previously worked with Taio Cruz and Ke$ha ("Dirty Picture") and Basshunter ("Saturday"). A teaser of the video was released on September 27, 2010 that showed Inna on a bed being privately photographed by the photographer of a photo shooting. The official music video finally premiered on September 30, 2010 on Inna's web site. The video's length is 3:18 and it was filmed in HD.
Even though she is considered the "Best Romanian Act Worldwide", Inna didn't perform live many times before 2010. During 2008 and early 2009, Inna's outfits were very hardly critisized by the Romanian gossip magazines. She responded by stating that: "A man in his lifetime can do something better than anything else. I can sing way better than I dress myself up. I know how to sing, and from now on, I know what to wear, because I employed a stylist from Timisoara. My previous stylist wasn't good enough, so I fired her." Furthermore, the designer Alina Latan created a collection of eleven pieces, inspired by Inna. Her public image suffered after an interview with a Hungarian reporter, after an accident. Various Romanian websites and magazines hardly critisized her speaking, using headlines such as "Inna consideres herself an international artist but she can't talk in English". Her worst mistake during that interview was when she said that she was "(...)boring After that, the Romanian humouristic group "Mondenii" imitated Inna in their primetime series, making fun of her because of the incident. In February 2011, it was reported that Inna is dating her manager, Lucian Stefan.