Inna was called “one of Romania’s biggest exports” by The Guardian, based on her sales and popularity. She has also received a number of awards and nominations, including five Balkan Music Awards, European Border Breakers Award, three MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Romanian Act and thirteen Romanian Music Awards. Inna’s 2011 net worth was estimated at €8,000,000 (approximately $9.3 million US), and by March 2016 she had sold four million copies of her first three studio albums. In 2015, Antena 3 reported that Inna was Romania’s best-selling artist abroad.
Inna was born on 16 October 1986 in Mangalia under the name Elena Alexandra Apostoleanu. Her mother, grandmother and grandfather sang as a hobby and she also became interested in music. As a teenager, Inna listened to a variety of music, including electro house and europop, and to artists such as Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.She attended the Colegiul Economic (Economy College) in Mangalia, later studying political science at Ovidius University in Constanţa. Inna also took singing lessons and participated in music festivals.
When Inna worked in an office, her manager heard her singing and contacted Play & Win. Adopting the stage name Alessandra in 2008, she entered “Goodbye” and “Sorry” to represent Romania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008; neither was selected. The singer performed “Goodbye” live on the primetime TV show, Teo!, her first televised appearance. Later that year, she changed her stage name to Inna since it was easy to memorize; she also said that it was what her grandfather used to call her when she was young. Early in her career, Inna released pop-rock songs, but switched to “commercial” minimal-infused house music after changing her stage name. In a News of the World interview, Inna cited Swedish House Mafia, The Black Eyed Peas and Jessie J as inspirations.
Inna’s debut song, “Hot”, was sent to Romanian radio stations in August 2008. The single topped the Romanian Top 100 that winter, and she was booked at Romanian nightclubs. The track was also commercially successful throughout Europe, and topped Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay chart in early 2010.”Love” (2009) was released as Inna’s second single, reaching number four in Romania. The singer received the first nominations of her career at the 2009 Eska Music Awards in Poland for “Hot”. Her Romanian label, Roton, signed a contract with the well-known American label Ultra Records in April 2009.
Inna collaborated with Romanian musician Bogdan Croitoru on her follow-up single, “Déjà Vu” (2009), which they released under pseudonyms (Bob Taylor and Anni) before revealing their true identities after a period of speculation. The single was as commercially successful as its predecessors.
Inna had her second number-one hit on the Romanian Top 100 with “Amazing”, her fourth single, in 2009. The song was originally written by Play & Win for Romanian singer Anca Baidu, who later complained that they had “stolen” it.
Inna’s debut studio album, Hot, was released in August 2009 and included the final single “10 Minutes” (2010). The record was commercially successful, being certified Gold in the Netherlands and Romania and Platinum in France. Till December 2011, it had sold 500,000 copies worldwide. Inna was the Best Romanian Act at the 2009 and 2010 MTV Europe Music Awards, the first Romanian artist to win the award in two consecutive years. In 2010, she was also nominated for Best European Act.
Inna’s sixth single, “Sun Is Up”, was released in October 2010 and peaked at number two on the Romanian Top 100.It did well in a number of other European countries, earning Gold in Switzerland and Italy and Silver in the United Kingdom. “Sun Is Up” won the Eurodanceweb Award in 2010, the first time Romania won the award. That year, Inna also received a career award at the Zece Pentru România Awards. In January 2011, she bought a €250,000 penthouse apartment in Pantelimon, and was congratulated by will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas for her achievements during the after-party of the NRJ Music Awards, wishing her luck in the American music business. She released her second studio album, I Am the Club Rocker, in September 2011. Featuring europop, dance-pop, techno and house music, the record was honored as one of the year’s best albums by her label Roton and was certified Gold in Poland. The album was promoted by the I Am the Club Rocker Tour (2011–12) of Europe and the United States. In Mexico, Inna notably did several interviews and made radio appearances. She had her first major Romanian concert at the Arenele Romane (Roman Arena) in Bucharest, where she arrived by helicopter “like a diva”.
“Club Rocker” (2011), the second single from I Am the Club Rocker, was moderately successful. It was the subject of a lawsuit when Spanish singer Robert Ramirez sued Play & Win for copying the refrain of his song, “A Minute of Life”. Three subsequent singles, “Un Momento” (2011), “Endless” (2012) and “Wow” (2012), were released from the album. “Endless” peaked at number five on the Romanian Top 100. In December 2011 Inna was offered a lead role in a French film, but she turned it down because the role involved nudity. According to Libertatea, Inna also became the highest-paid Romanian and Eastern European artist in that year.
Televiziunea Română (TVR) approached Inna in early 2012 to represent Romania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, but she turned the offer down due to scheduling conflicts. In the same year, she released the single “Caliente”, which she dedicated to her Mexican fans. “Tu și eu”, a Romanian language song, received heavy airplay in Romania and peaked at number five.
This was followed by another top ten hit, “Inndia” (2012). On New Year’s Eve, Inna presented a concert at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
She released her third studio album, Party Never Ends, in March 2013 with the commercially successful singles “More than Friends” (2013) and “In Your Eyes” (2013). “More than Friends” was controversial in Romania, since its writers were accused of plagiarizing Pitbull, Akon and David Rush’s “Everybody Fucks” (2012). The album spawned several promotional singles, including “Ok” and “Spre Mare”. Party Never Ends peaked at number 10 in Mexico, and was nominated for Best Album at the 2013 and 2014 Romanian Music Awards. In March 2013, Inna was the guest singer on “P.O.H.U.I.” by the Moldavian music project Carla’s Dreams, which reached number three in Romania and was honored as the year’s best song at the Romanian Top Hits Awards. In late 2013, Inna contributed to Pitbull’s “All the Things” on his EP, Meltdown.
“Cola Song”, a collaboration with J Balvin in April 2014, was successful in Europe, being certified Platinum by Productores de Música de España (PROMUSICAE). It promoted the FIFA World Cup 2014, and was used in the American action comedy film Spy (2015) and the dance video game Just Dance 2017. Inna’s follow-up single, 2014’s “Good Time” in collaboration with Pitbull, was featured on the American sitcom Young & Hungry and the American film Pitch Perfect 2. She released her fourth, eponymous studio album in October 2015. Another version of the album, Body and the Sun, was released in Japan in July 2015.
Inna was the Best Romanian Act and was nominated for Best European Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards. One of the singles from her album was “Diggy Down” (2014), her third number-one hit in Romania.Based on airplay, it won the Best Dance award at the Media Music Awards. Inna’s next single, “Bop Bop” (2015), peaked at number two in Romania, and “Rendez Vous” (2016) was certified Gold in Poland.
In August 2016, Inna was the opening act for the Untold Festival. She also became a member of the supergroup G Girls, with whom she released two singles (“Call the Police” and “Milk and Honey”), while being a coach on the first season of Vocea României Junior with Andra and Marius Moga.
Inna is working on an upcoming fifth studio album with producer David Ciente and Romanian singer and songwriter Irina Rimes. In the span of a year, Inna released four singles “Heaven” (2016), “Gimme Gimme” (2017), “Ruleta” (2017) and “Nirvana” (2017) — of which the last three were featured on the record — to commercial success in Europe including Romania and Turkey. “Ruleta” peaked at number three in her native country.
In February 2017 relesed her music video “Gimme Gimme”. In June Inna promoted her song “Ruleta” in a collaboration with Erik Tchatchoua which was very successful. In Novemver 2017 she promoted her new project “Nirvana”.
In 2018 she released her new single “Me Gusta”.