A lot of people outside of Ukraine…
might be unfamiliar with the wonders of Tina Karol. In fact; she has a large following around the world - but the U.K. is a territory where many unsigned and undiscovered fans exist. I have been interviewing the songwriter about the track, Blindfold, and whether 2018 will see any new material arriving. I ask Tina Karol about her career so far and what the scene is like where she is; what her latest album is all about – and what it was like working with Yoad Nevo.
I ask about her charity, Polyus Prityazhenia, and whether she will continue to commit to that work next year. I learn more about Tina Karol’s favourite music and what inspired her work; how she will spend this Christmas – and how her busy touring schedule is going at the moment.
Hi, Tina. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I am very busy...
I'm currently on the Intonations tour - with a rammed, packed week full of performances (with only two days off a week). I love the stage very much and, for me, a day off is real torture. Haha! I’m having a great time; especially as I’m getting to know my new drummer, Devon Taylor.
He previously played with Rita Ora and Justin Bieber!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Tina Karol. Singing is my life, as are my lyrics…but I’m easy-going (laughs).
Blindfold is the new single. What is the story behind the song?
Blindfold is a mix of Slavic melodies and Trip-Hop beats. Such combinations usually don’t meet and this, for me, makes the song very valuable.
It has quite a sweeping and epic sound. It seems like it could score a film or dramatic scene. Did you have this in mind when putting the song together?
After all; the story of this song is like a real dramatic film. I have a lot of stories: all songs are infused with my personal experiences.
The video was created alongside Gloria FX Studio. It seems like it was an amazing, immersive experience! What are your feelings looking back at it?
This was a colossal experience because Gloria FX Studios used a whole set of special-effects with invisibility-motion and live-animation with the flowers - and the dress turned into Sakura branches.
I had black dots all over my body, with markers, as the flowers blossomed out of the dots in a video - this was in order for them to catch all the detailed facial expressions. I looked really funny and then, for a long time, I couldn’t wash those dots off...
It looked very funny. I loved it!
You have a new album out – and have already released six records. What can we expect from your new L.P. in terms of themes, sounds and songs?
All my songs have a huge focus on the lyrics; with a touch of love songs. The album is a blend of influences from traditional music from my home to Trip-Hop beats from my favourite current artists.
It’s a real mix…you’ll have to wait and see…
Yoad Nevo has been brought in to the fold. What was it like working with such a legend?
Exciting and fascinating at the same time.
The most effective thing Yoad taught me was to not worry too much; to enjoy it - especially if, on one day, we do not achieve something new. At first, I thought that every day there should be an obvious result because, sometimes, if you don’t achieve something new, that is result in itself.
In the past; you have finished seventh in the Eurovision Song Contest (representing Ukraine); been a judge on The Voice Kids (Ukraine) and The Voice (Ukraine). How important and instrumental have these experiences been? Do you feel like you have been able to change lives and help other artists by featuring on these shows?
Yes. I'm happy to share my experience with people who dream of showing themselves; find themselves and understand their charisma. I'm not greedy enough to disclose vocal secrets for the show participants: my mission is to inspire, please people and increase the talent that the Lord has given me.
What is the modern music scene like in Ukraine? Is there quite a thriving and varied market?
Recently, it has been a thriving and attractive market for World music majors. We have a very talented generation that is free from the Iron Curtain - which was imposed and grafted to our parents.
You have won awards and accolades but it seems like your charity, Polyus Prityazhenia, provides a greater reward! Tell me about it and the work you do?
The ‘Pole of Attraction’ foundation has existed since 2014. It’s been carrying out its activities through my personal financing. I always give a percentage of my earnings to the fund. It buys all necessary medical equipment and medicines for children’s oncology departments - in hospitals all over Ukraine.
The aid has been provided to twenty-eight cities so far.
I am interesting learning about the music you were raised on. Which artists inspired you growing up?
Frankly speaking; I can’t name anyone in particular…
I’ve always listened to lots of absolutely different music. I’m a big fan of music as a whole - not this or that artist - and I try to learn from all styles - from Classic music to Rock.
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out
I would recommend you listen to Malbec. They are band from St. Petersburg.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
My first would be a collection of Ravel's works. I love expressionism.
Also; I would choose the first album from David Bowie (David Bowie) - for the courage of its experimentation.
Also; the album Dead Can Dance (by Dead Can Dance) for its mysticism.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Do your job sincerely: the reward will find its hero!
Can we see you perform anywhere at the moment? What gigs do you have coming up?
Right now, I'm in the all-Ukrainian tour of Intonations: thirty-five cities in Ukraine; more than fifty-five solo concerts in total.
I also created an album of national Ukrainian Christmas songs called Carols. With this album; I will be performing, in January, in the U.S.A.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I want to spend Christmas with my family and my beloved son.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Play the song of your soul! Improvise…
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