Though Austrian pop star Christina Stürmer's initial claim to fame was coming in second to Michael Tschuggnall on Starmania, a Pop Idol-like televised singing contest, her career eventually eclipsed his with a string of award-winning albums and singles. Stürmer was working in a book store and performing with various bands in the city of Linz before she appeared on Starmania in 2002. And while she didn't win, her popularity grew after the show ended. She released her debut single, "Ich Liebe," in 2003 and teamed up with guitarists Oliver Varga and Hartmut Kamm, bassist Gwenael Damman, and drummer Klaus Perez-Salado as her backing band. Her first album, Freier Fall, topped Austria's charts, and Stürmer was named the country's Shooting Star in late 2003.