Bendzko grew up in Berlin. As a youth he attended a sports school and played at the first FC Union Berlin football. Later he studied Protestant theology and non-Christian religions. His musical career began with guitar lessons. At age 16 he wrote his first song. He was a winner of a talent competition he participated in during the summer of 2009 before 20,000 spectators at the Berlin Waldbühne. Thereafter he devoted himself entirely to his music.