How is the tour going?
Pretty great, it’s been a lot of fun. I was in New York then went onto Moscow, now I’m in London and I’m going back to LA tomorrow.
How does it feel to be going to so many different places?
It’s great. I have to be pretty inventive because I’m an independent artist, organising it and running the whole thing but I’m getting to be alright at it and it’s been fun.
Would you say you preferred recording or live shows?
You know I think the two are very different. I think that generally I prefer recording because its calmer and a lot more factors and details are under my control so to speak, you know unless I’m collaborating with someone else who has to be on site I can be anywhere in the world. But performing live when everything goes great when I’m performing with great musicians and great sound people it is a wonderful feeling, there are a lot more things that can go wrong
What would you say was your favourite live show?
Last year I was performing in Russia with a band called B2 who are well known in Russia, they’re only really well known in Russia because they speak in Russian. They’re kind of like a Russian U2, you know like a rock band, and we toured with a symphony orchestra and we went to Belarus and we performed in Minsk and there were 14 thousand people there it was an arena so I have to say that was by far my favourite show because I got to sing my own little sets like an opening set before the show then in some songs with them then I performed one of my own songs within their set with the symphony orchestra as a guest.
With your degree in opera and music composition-would you say that that type of training helps when you’re performing live?
Sure, I think classical vocal training can help anybody because you learn how to use your body more efficiently. As far as composition, yeah because for example when I perform live I do some sampling and live looping so I layer vocals and keyboards on top of each other so you know I think for that you need a basic understanding. However, I have to say there are lots of people who are great at these types of things and they don’t have any training so it just varies.
What would you say you like the most about your profession?
Sometimes I do ask myself whether this was a good decision to begin with but I think the fact that when it works and I write and record a song that somehow transcends to my own personal experience also a lot of people relate to it and it becomes a thing of its own and it moves independently. For example, last year I did my first release where I produced it and released it on my own record label and the song was remixed and the video did well with millions of people watching it and I still get great feedback from people because the song seems to have a universal theme and people really respond to it. So there’s an element of if I do what I’m suppose to do I can transcend myself and touch a lot of people now because of the internet people can be in Vietnam or in Russia or the US and that’s really probably the best thing about it apart from the fact that I get to do what I love and what I’m good at, that’s also a huge blessing. A lot of people have jobs that they don’t particularly enjoy they just do them to make a living, I mean my life is very unstable because its an artist profession and I am an independent artist but I think I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You say you have a lot of success in a lot of different countries, were you surprised about that? Did you always go into the industry planning to play in lots of different countries?
You know I’m already a bit of a mutt when it comes to my background because I’m Russian by origin, I was born in New York City because my parents were living there but then as a baby I went back to Russia and grew up there then I went back to the States for university. Before that I spent a few years in Europe and I speak four languages fluently and recently I started recording in other languages. I recorded something in Chinese and I loved it. So I already I had an international background I just took it further I just really love languages in general, I travel a lot and absorbed a little bit of the cultures where I’m at you know like for example, I speak Italian and I love Italy and I’m Russian so I have a huge connection to Russia and Russian culture. Obviously English. I’m a huge fan of Japanese culture. I speak very little Japanese but I sing well in it apparently. So I just kind of mix it up you know it all kind of goes together and I want to keep doing more of it really. To be honest when you sing in a different language people also connect to it in a very different way. English is obviously the universal language of pop music, but all these other languages have subtleties to them, emotionally they hit people in their own language much more strongly.
Regarding your new album ‘Messenger’ I’m a big fan, would you say you had a theme to the album?
Yeah well as you can see I gravitate towards arcutitle kind of things, my last year’s EP was called ‘Hero’ and this album is called “Messenger.’ ‘Hero’ is actually going to be re-released in a few other languages and I’m excited about that for this winter. But there’s a bit of a theme for change and possibility and hope. The whole album has a dark theme such as the song ‘Trapped’ which is about depression, its not actually a romantic song as such, although it can come across like that, but then there is also, I’ve always been attracted to space and anything to do with space travel so, for example, the last song on the album ‘Space Pirates’, a love song which is going to have a really cool video. Sorry I’ve just completely digressed.
Haha don’t worry, the theme of the album?
Oh yeah, well the last EP was about being heroic because it took a lot of courage and then there was dreamer, so I went from dreamer to hero to messenger so I think with messenger its less about making a huge effort but more about carrying it through, following the path, you’ve made the huge effort so now the idea is to keep going even if the path is twisting, you know you’ll get there and when you do you can send a message to all the people behind you on the path letting them know it’s possible, something along those lines.
And would you say you have a favourite song of the album?
(Laughs.) Erm, you know what at the moment the last song that got added which was a collaboration was space pirates love song which to me it was the very last song and its very different to the rest of the album but I wanted it to be o there. It’s a good exit song you know in terms of the mood, you have this journey and then you get into a space ship and blast off so but then you know a lot of artists can relate to that, their favourite song is the last one they worked on which is probably totally biased.
It’s always good to end on high.
Well the good thing is I’ve heard from new fans and old fans and people are really saying they like different songs that is good. It says good things for the album as whole. Some people are saying they love ‘Icarus’ and some people are saying they love ‘Trapped’ and some people are saying they love ‘Time Of Your Life’ because it’s a really positive song. By the way there is going to be a great short animation film for ‘Icarus’ that won an Oscar a few years ago.