Waves and Curls of Time of Yulia Geniush’s life
PopImpressKA Journal XIII Edition / Front Cover (Below)
PopImpressKA Journal XIII Edition / Back Cover (Below)
She is always on the move. First, she is in a rush to the studio, thinking over the upcoming interview. Later, she is hurrying to a concert or the chorus rehearses. She takes her youngest daughter to the ballet, painting - or middle daughter in high school; this is because all of her three kids are wrapped up inside of creative work as into nutrient. She sings along to the radio while driving her car, delighted with the New York scenery through her window. Then, running out of the house, she takes pictures, while others could spend hours searching for the right angle; and again, she rushes off somewhere without stopping. This conversation was recorded by pieces, while she was in traffic, had walked through the parks and squares of New York, running by familiar paths and lanes while telling me everything on the fly, and now... I listen to her smiling voice and collect a thread of discrete records, banded with the feeling of her smile. Yep, imagine, her voice is just like this. I’ve known her for more than twenty years, and through all these years she always smiled in all situations, even those ones not quite joyful. Her smile is heard, especially when she sings. Notwithstanding any processing and devices, she sings all through life.
PopImpressKA Journal: Yulia, being quite young, you started your career as a pop singer, you became top-liner of the band “Anzhelika”, paving the way of the 90’s, releasing classic pop music albums, which still could be found on the web. I’ve listened to most of them, but lately I know you as a jazz singer. What occurred between those two periods? When you came from pop into jazz?
Yulia Geniush: Look, it was such a game with pop music. I was born in a family of musicians. Dad, Mom, two sisters - Everyone was engaged in music! When I didn’t even know how to read, I happend to look at the photos in the magazine “Musical Life”, which my parents always wrote out, and it was just as interesting as the pictures in Murzilka (kid’s magazine). Being one and a half year old I started played piano with my mom, and, at the age of 9, I already performed on stage with a symphony orchestra. And when I was invited to the group, I took it as a game, as an unexpected gift.
Back then, I studied at the music department of the Saratov University, a teaching institute at that time. The first year you passed classical vocals. Of course, when you sing Tchaikovsky and you are the leading soprano in the choir, at the studio all albums of “Angelica” with simple melodies and very simple texts were sung from one take. Then I was curious why people, surrounded by many other clever and academic people, were playing this style with such a passion? And they say “What music?”. Although it is obvious the charm of such melodies and texts quickly passes, the hits quickly appear and quickly disappear.
PJ: And how did you feel inside of this game?
YG: Of course, I soon realized the audience who listened to us with pleasure on the tour were a bit non-standard, and they altered from all those who surrounded us since childhood, our family and my mother’s father in the professorship. Maybe this is not a very correct comparison, but I would say, when a person is born in an aristocratic family, he seems to apologize for the fact he was originally given more - a seamless social network, and a subcoscious desire for beauty; he is accustomed to an inner understanding of the truth; he has a good education and a hormones perception of the world. I think therefore, members of the royal family worked in hospitals and gave back to the community. I perceived myself different, but I felt grateful that I had a different start. The more opportunities you have, the more responsibility you take on. I was honest in this work. Then, there were a lot of phonogram groups, the time was like that! Many of those who stood on the stage had no relation to music; they were beautiful, tall, having guitars hanging on them, and the soundtrack played - nothing new, show business, with its own rules of the game! I’ve been always surrounded by music throughout my life. I went to concerts with my parents, my sisters, my classmates, and so. Since I was 6, I listened to my parents’ records of classical music, jazz, and other interesting things. I was quite lucky to have my older sister Luba! Her “Pink Floyd” was still on reels, and “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Star and Death of Joaquin Murieta” were on the roll and I always sang all the parts!
From tenth grade, after the first school ensemble –which I started in the ninth– I performed at the graduation and started earning some money. I sang in the vocal-instrumental ensemble of the local taxi fleet and other groups. We played at dancing clubs and city festivals, then I was adjoined to different musical groups of the popular palaces of culture –such as a Soviet aesthetics at that time. What a people system surrounded us! Excellent musicians, strong personalities, and talents! All of them had to work on labor books in official workplaces, and to do music in their free time from work in the palaces of culture. And there were no music radio stations back then. We ourselves were looking for them! And I was looking for Western music, went for sensation, copied, and created my own collection, my personal music archive.
And imagine, when I was 19, on the recording session for the next album “Angelica”, I met my first husband, Andrey Subbotin. He was a sound engineer at the recording studio, we began to live together in Moscow - and it turned out that everything I was looking for, and collected in my own collection of musical sensations in small pieces, he had collected into whole albums. A huge collection of original records of all the music monsters from the sixties! It was fantastic to immerse myself into the music with him at that time! We were given 22 years of family happiness.
PJ: By standard logic, having married a well-known sound engineer (Andrey Subbotin, 1963-2014, one of the leading mastering engineers of Russia, the founder of Saturday Mastering studio, who worked with almost all the celebrities of Russian show business - comment by O.Ch.) you must have made a brilliant career yourself!
YG: Soon after the marriage, we started to have nice feasts at home, and sometimes our house has held even 25 people, and today I just wonder how I always cooked all this, waiting for the guests! Andrey ironically joked: “I have a grief in my family, my wife is a singer.” Well, who wants to make her husband unhappy? Right? That’s when I finished with my singing definitively and irrevocably. No for show business! I gave birth to three children, and my lullabies to them were my only singing.
PJ: And you never went back on stage, did you?
YG: To sing - no. Only to speak up! The microphone remained mine when I voiced the successful TV project “Shop on the couch”, a popular educational computer program, read children’s tales and a lot of advertisements on the radio and TV. Another fave microphone was pulled out when I organized parties! Kind of a sublimation of my singing life. Only once I took the microphone to sing. One day, soon after the birth of my youngest daughter, my friends decided to drag me out of the house for a while. And we were suddenly on a TV karaoke festival. I stood next to the man behind the console and listened to the girl who was singing impressively, but she took a very note. “A talented girl, but it’s too inconvenient to sing in this tonality, she’d better pitch it lower,” I said. This man happened to listen what I said and did turn her microphone lower, and he asked me: “Do you sing?”. I answered: “Only lullabies.” I looked at myself from the outside “I, nursing, having an immense size”, and I added - “Lullaby of the Big Dipper.”
And soon after, I was asked to go on stage. As I was in a simple shirt, with the milk coming out, I grabbed the stage and sang “Spouting the snow with a spoon, Night is going great ...”. It was the only sudden appearance on stage I’d done in 20 years. By the way, now, when I sing “Smile”, my favorite concert pianist, Talgat Khasenov, plays quotes from this same lullaby, which stirs memories and associations from different periods in my life. Creating and making me feel my time curling!
PJ: So eventually, you came to America. But as it is known, most Russian musicians and singers move abroad, especially where there is a large Russian-speaking diaspora, so as to sing in Russian restaurants. And what do they sing? Of course, pop music covers for the Russian community. Interestingly enough, having yourself a big experience on pop music, you decided to take a totally different road, very atypical, by choosing to sing jazz over pop. How could it be?
YG: Honestly, all that happen quite randomly to me. But I know, I’ve always loved jazz and we oftenly listened to that style back at home.
As a result of this, I suddenly discovered my different self in jazz. For the first time in my life, I found out you can sing yourself out. I originally came to America to visit my sister, we went to New York Jazz Night, a karaoke evening -a free microphone - a sign-up for a special book and sing.
We came with a company of friends and I was asked -“would you like to sing?” And I did not even know if I wanted to or not. I dared. I dared to sing my favorite. And I decided to sing what always hooked me ... with the form and the content, and what tuned through all these years...“Cry me a River” in the version of Julian London, I guess you understand what I’m talking about. The song began with the sounds of a double bass, and as soon as the double bass player, the magnificent brunette girl, stepped in, the crowd gasped at these sounds. And when I started to sing, I felt like I fell into another dimension. Mine. But different. As if all that I have accumulated during these years of silence - tenderness, passion, hope carried me away to another planet. Which suddenly became visible to all those who were there. During that song, I seemed to have lived a million years. And all of them lived it with me.
PJ: This just sounds like a magical story!
YG: Isn’t it? I think much more talented people would deserve the same luck. But it happened to me. Apparently, heaven led me somewhere solving some multi-path issues. Since that moment, I started to perform actively.
PJ: And you began to sing in a choir, as the door to new career opportunities. Tell me, what does this give you?
YG: I am grateful to all music and all the moments in which I am involved in music, where I can sing and express myself. I’m comfortable on stage, the same as in a good company, as in a blooming garden. music, friends, work on the radio, meetings, and all that Jazz!.
PJ: And what do you listen at this time? Have your musical tastes changed?
YG: I have a dream! To hear alive those musicians, whose music I grew up with, sounds surrounded me, first on the plates, then on the cassettes, on the disks, and in the car! It’s fantastic - to hear live what was once collected by bit. Join this energy. That means the musical atmosphere has remained about the same as in your youth and childhood. “It’s a curl of time.” The famous musician Nikolai Levinovsky told About this in our radio program. He was surrounded by classical music, his father and mother were soloists of the Opera and Ballet Theater. And once upon, he, being a twelve-year-old boy, went to the skating rink and was dumbfounded by the sounds of jazz because there was no censorship at the rink and they were playing jazz without any restrictions. He returned home, turned the radio and suddenly found himself on Willis Conover’s program on jazz, on Voice of America. He began to listen to these programs, then to write to the reels and try to repeat those standards. He graduated from the Saratov Conservatory, but played endlessly jazz. And imagine, at that very time the first pop and jazz department opened in the music college in the Soviet Union! A few years later he was asked to create the country’s first jazz orchestra. It was called Allegro. I remember how my parents listened to him! Tours, records, festivals. 21 years later, after that first acquaintance with jazz, he buys his first apartment in Moscow, in which there is nothing but a radio. He turns it on, twists the pen and hears Conover’s voice: “On our waves, the program “All that jazz”, now you will listen to the performance of Nikolai Levinovsky’s orchestra at the Warsaw Jazz Festival.” And just like in the rink, he was blown away. And 21 years later - he lives in New York, he has a big band, he finishes the performance, goes backstage and meets Will Conover. And it turns out that Conover remembers that program 21 years ago, in which he streamed that record. Incredible, right?.
Here they are, visible curls of time. These waves and curls of time – everyone has them. The intersections, the signs that lead us out, show us the different parts of the puzzle. And in creativity, and in relationships with people.
PJ: But now you have RUSA radio in this puzzle, for me it is not a surprise and quite logical that you are successful in this project as well, because your voice has always been your tool. During these five years, making both live concerts and large complex interviews, just those being the moments, when you were more a musician than a presenter?
YG: Yes, it’s all according to the laws of curls of time. From age of 8 I led concerts of our music school on radio and television, and participating in them myself! And now I can not distinguish between different sides of my personality. This is a chemistry in which everything is mixed. When you’re on air, you do not remember yourself and there you can only be who you are. This is my natural state. No matter how many you would think up, no matter what image you create, you can not just stand on tiptoe for two hours. Even on the stage there is a game “backstage scene”, but here it is quite another. The conversation on the air opens you completely. Of course, music is in the air all the time, I lead musical programs and even interviews with talented people on Saturdays are always permeated with creativity.
Baroness Olga Papkovitch Von Siebenburgen
CEO & Founder of PopImpressKA Journal / Art Couture & Art Collection
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