Sarbel Michael was born and raised in Southgate, London, England, to a Cypriot father, Elias, himself a singer and bouzouki player, and a Lebanese Maronite mother, a lawyer. Sarbel's family made frequent summer trips to Greece and Cyprus. He received a Jesuit education at St Ignatius' College in Enfield. Sarbel studied music (voice), drama, art, and performing arts. From the age of 5 to 16 he performed at the English National Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and has recorded Tosca in English for Chandos Recordings as the shepherd boy.
He was named after the Maronite Saint Charbel and his name is correctly pronounced "Sharbel", but since standard Greek lacks a "sh" sound, it is pronounced "Sarbel" according to the Greek transliteration ("Σαρμπέλ").
Sarbel sang yearly at St Ignatius and other talent shows.
At the age of 18 Sarbel went to Crete, where he sang at the Heraklion Palladium. At the age of 21, still living on the Greek island of Crete, he was signed on by Sony BMG (Greece) on a six-year recording contract.
He shot into the limelight in 2004, when he recorded the Arabic hit "Se Pira Sovara" featuring Greek singer Irini Merkouri, which first introduced the young singer to fans in Greece, but also across the Middle East (especially Cyprus and Lebanon). The song is based on an Arabic song called "Sidi Mansour" by Saber Rebaï. On the same CD (a CD single) he released a second duet with Merkouri called "Agapi Mou Esi". In 2005, he released his first solo album, entitled Parakseno sinesthima (in Greek Παράξενο συναίσθημα). This album went Gold and was re-released with the Wella-sponsored song "Thelo na Petaxo" and a bonus track of "Boro Boro", which he made famous during his MAD Award Ceremony appearance. The songs "Se Pira Sovara", "Sokolata", and "Thelo Na Petakso" are some of his notable songs.
In July 2006, he released his second album, Sahara. That same year he recorded a duet with Greek singer Natassa Theodoridou called Na' Soun Thalassa which was also included as a bonus song on the album. Some of his notable songs are "Taxe Mou", "Sahara" and "Enas Apo Mas".
Seeing his growing popularity, Greek television ERT asked Sarbel to compete for a ticket to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki, Finland. Sarbel had to compete against established singer Christos Dantis and fellow newcomer singer Tamta. Sarbel enlisted the help of popular Greek-Swedish composers Alex Papacostantinou, Marcus Englof, and Mack to write his song, who are responsible for many of popular Greek singer Elena Paparizou's hits. They wrote the song "Yassou Maria", which is performed in English with only the word 'ya sou' (and the name 'Maria') being Greek. There is also a version released in a mix of Greek and English.
On 28 February 2007, Sarbel performed the song live against the two singers for the ticket. Although the performance had some sound problems, he went on to receive 39.69% of the combined televotes and jury votes, winning the contest.
In an interview in March 2007, Sarbel made it clear that he doesn't want an international career by saying "I don't care either being famous abroad or starting an international career. I only care for Greece. I grew up abroad but choose to live in Greece. I can't tell you whether Eurovision helps my career or not, because I don't know. It's very dangerous. However, it is an experience I want to live. I want to have fun in the Contest and do my best.". Following the win, Sarbel toured Europe to promote his song. He also filmed the video clip for the song and changed the scene performance around a bit. The song eventually placed 7th at the Eurovision Song Contest 2007.
On 12 March 2007, Sahara was re-released as Sahara: Euro Edition and feature the "Yassou Maria" CD single as a bonus. The CD single for "Yassou Maria" was released on 7 March 2007. The CD single includes "Yassou Maria", "Yassou Maria (Greeklish version)", "Enas Apo Mas (Special Holiday Mix)" and a duet with Persian singer Cameron Cartio called "Mi Chica" which was recorded in a mixture of Greek, English, Spanish and Persian and is Latin in style with Greek pop elements.
Sarbel started singing at Votanikos club in Athens, at 2008, along with Natassa Theodoridou and Nikos Kourkoulis.
The new single "Eho Trelathei" was introduced at the Greek National Final 2008 on ERT. It is a blend of oriental elements with the main chorus being rock. This was followed by the release of the album Kati san esena.
To promote his new album amongst his fellow Londoners, he performed at the two-day Cyprus Wine Festival of London in 2008. Sarbel felt that "My performance at the Cyprus Wine Festival (in London) is my chance to give something back to my community." And both performances brought tears to his friend's and family's eyes that still live in London.
In July 2009, Sarbel released a two track CD-single titled "Mou Pai" under his new signing with E.DI.EL record label. The second track on the CD called "So Perfect" is a song written by Sarbel.
Sarbel toured internationally performing alongside Giorgos Mazonakis in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia and other various solo appearances and Egypt.
His new CD album was released in the Spring of 2011. The first single from this CD Album was the pre-release from the album and was called "Kafto Kalokairi" with the initial performance at the Pavilion on the 18 March 2011 in front of a packed house. The release was accompanied by a music video for the single filmed on the popular cruise ship Cristall. The following single was "Pou Na Girnas" released in November 2011 and was penned by the famous Greek composer Alexis Serkos. The video clip was released in conjunction with single to launch Sarbel's winter tour of Dubai and the Persian Gulf region.
After a successful tour of Dubai, and other Arab countries, Sarbel went back to the studio and recorded a new single "Proti Ptisi" which was released in early 2013 and followed up with a whistlestop tour in Crete, Athens, Beirut and Cyprus. He was also involved in his new Record Company Honeybel Music which produces lounge music predominantly bought and used in Dubai. Sarbel was a special guest as well at the London Eurovision Party which took place in the famous Shadow Lounge in Soho. The event was organised to promote the representatives for this year's Eurovision Song Contest and Sarbel as an earlier contestant was invited to perform by public demand.
All the albums listed underneath were released and charted in Greece and Cyprus.2004: "Se Pira Sovara"2005: "Sokolata"2005: "Thelo na petaxo"2006: "Sahara"2006: "Takse mou"2006: "Enas apo mas"2007: "Yassou Maria"2008: "Eho trelathei"2009: "Mou pai"2011: "Kafto Kalokairi"2011: "Pou Na Girnas"2013: "Proti Ptisi"2004: "Se pira sovara"2005: "Sokolata"2005: "Thelo na petaxo"2005: "Boro Boro/Chiculata" (Mad Music Awards) [Ft. Chrispa]2006: "Thriller"/"Pano stin trella mou" (Mad Music Awards) [Ft. Vanesa Adamopoulou]2006: "Taxe mou"2006: "Enas apo mas"2007: "Yassou Maria" (ERT Promo Video)2007: "Yassou Maria" (Official Video Clip)2008: "Eho trelathei"2009: "Mou paei"2011: "Monaxa esy"2011: "Kafto Kalokairi"2011: "Pou Na Girnas"2013: "Proti Ptisi"