Monday, September 19, 2011

Honoring with her song: Yulia

When singer Yulia was younger she would visit her grandmother in the suburbs of Moscow and together they would sing.
“My grandmother dreamed of being an opera singer, “Yulia told Underground Mainstream.
“She even had some vocal training – but family and children came first.”

In her grandmother’s kitchen, Yulia learned Russian folk songs and listened to Caruso on her grandmother’s record player.
“My grandmother loved opera.”

A decade and several thousand miles later, Yulia – who now calls New Zealand home – is living her grandmother’s dream.

2010 was a busy year for the Russian born singer. She won the Grand Prix in the European Song Competition in Riga, Latvia and the national award for Best Nationwide Entertainment in the Corporate Events Guide 2010 People's Choice Awards while in the United Kingdom she was also an International Classical Crossover Album of the Year finalist.

The awards are the result of a combination of talent, passion, and good old fashioned hard work from the singer.  In 2009 Yulia spent year training with classical Russian and Italian singing teacher Valeriy Maksymov.
“It was a year of total immersion in classical singing.  I had to travel quite a distance several times a week to work with him.”

During the same period Yulia auditioned, and was accepted into Southern Opera and although she later declined the role, she  received valuable guidance from opera historian and former NZ Opera patron Jeremy Commons.
“He felt I needed to cultivate my own voice, so I took on board everything they both told me and I train every day of the week.  This is my life and this is as much a job as being a Doctor is.”
Yulia sees singing as an extension of herself and when she connects with a piece of music – whether be it be something she has written or a piece from another composer – she knows she can ‘really deliver’.

While in London in November 2010, Yulia ‘delivered’ for producer Craig Leon.  Leon, who has worked with a variety of artists including Blondie, The Bangles, The Ramones, and the late Pavarotti, heard Yulia’s music online and requested a meeting.
“It’s exciting to be working with him.  One of my dreams is to create a legend with my music and this is part of that.”

For a long time, Yulia says, she struggled with her identity.  She grew up in poverty and it is a normal human reaction to want to replace the hardship associated with that history with ease and abundance.  What is not quite so usual is that wealth in and of itself is not what drives Yulia.
“To achieve artistic greatness mean I could use that profile, that resource to help others achieve their greatness. I want this so I can share it with others.”

The words are far from empty; Yulia has already raised over a million dollars for New Zealand charities and would like to set up her own charitable organisation to educate, empower, assist and inspire others – with a special focus on orphans.
“My grandmother was given up for adoption during the war so orphans are close to my heart.”

With so much ahead of her and so much to focus on Yulia is philosophical about how to achieve her goals.
“In music, things take time.  Concentrating on what is in front of me right now is my focus.  Everything will happen one step at a time.”
With her eye fixed firmly on her destination, Yulia’s steps are well and truly on the right path.
©2010 Angelique Jurd – All Rights Reserved.

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