Ville Hermanni Valo (born 22 November 1976) is a Finnish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the lead vocalist and main songwriter of the Finnish rock band HIM. Prior to HIM, Valo played bass and drums in various bands around Helsinki, as well as occasionally working at his father's sex shop as a teenager. Valo formed HIM with bassist Mikko "Mige" Paananen in the early 1990s, and in 1997, the band released their debut album Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666. HIM achieved international success in 2000, with their sophomore album Razorblade Romance, and the hit single "Join Me in Death". Razorblade Romance was followed by Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights and Love Metal in 2001 and 2003, respectively, and in 2005, HIM became the first Finnish band ever to receive a gold record in the United States, for the album Dark Light. In 2007, HIM released Venus Doom, the making of which was marred by personal difficulties faced by Valo, including a nervous breakdown and his worsened alcohol abuse. Valo was eventually admitted to the Promises Rehabilitation Clinic, and in 2010, HIM released Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice, the first album Valo worked on entirely sober. Following a hiatus, brought on by nerve damage sustained by drummer Gas Lipstick, HIM released Tears on Tape in 2013. Aside from HIM, Valo has collaborated with various musicians during his career, including guest vocal appearances on albums by Apocalyptica, Cradle of Filth and Anathema, as well as playing bass with Jeff Walker und Die Fluffers, and drums with Daniel Lioneye. In 2016, Valo released his first solo single, entitled "Olet mun kaikuluotain", a Finnish translation of John Denver's "Annie's Song", which charted at number 1 in Finland. Valo has a baritone voice type with a five octave range, and was found, by VVN Music, to possess the eight-highest vocal range of any known singer in popular music. He was ranked number 80 in Hit Parader's "Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time". Valo is also the creator of the heartagram, the trademarked symbol of HIM, which he first drew on his twentieth birthday.