Off the back of her latest single 'Little Babylon' - which has just been remixed by Maywald - we caught up with the Russian singer whose passion for dance music has seen her perform at Tomorrowland, UMF and Electric Zoo, receiving a Grammy for her song with Eminem and signing to the infamous Ultra Records.
At what age did you move from Russia to LA?
I moved to the states at sixteen. At first to Boston to study, but I knew right away that New York is where I was meant to be, so I lived in NY for a number of years, which were very formative. I only recently moved to LA.
How has growing up in Russia shaped your music?
Growing up in Moscow I got my foundation from classical music (I studied classical piano from an early age, and that's how I often write my songs). Being close to Europe and it's 90s booming electronic and dance culture had a big impact on my 'sound'. At the same time I was also listening to a lot of great artists from the States, and that was more about learning the craft of the song. So the music I make today is really a combination of all three.
How does being classically trained help you in the world of electronic music?
Having a classical background has allowed me to be precise in the studio when creating a 'sound' for a record. I work with other producers but am very hands on and often sing or play parts that become ingrained into the DNA of the instrumental track, as was the case with 'Book Of Love' (with Felix Jaehn) and my new single 'Little Babylon'.
Tell us about your live appearances at Tomorrowland, UMF and Electric Zoo?
It was great to be performing at all these festivals with some of the top talent of the time at the height of the rise of EDM culture in the states. Ain't nothing like looking out at a sea of people and see them sing back the lyrics to your song.
What’s your favourite gig you’ve ever done?
My first one. I was 14. I came out during one of my mum's shows (who is a Russian 90's Pop singer ANKA) I got a standing ovation and was like: wow I can really do this...
Do you go out much in LA as a punter? Where are some of your favourite clubs and music spots?
I travel most of the time so being home in LA is very precious to me. That's usually my time for some introspection, planning, having quality time with my close friends. But of course there's the glamorous side of living in LA with it's 'Hills' parties and star studded member houses. I've had the craziest experiences in LA in terms of kind of people I get to meet and hang out with. If I want to hear some 'proper' music and dance I head downtown.
Tell us the story behind the lyrics for ‘Little Babylon’?
When I wrote Little Babylon I was feeling nostalgic and was thinking about that one special place & time that each of us has. For me the song is about coming back to a place of a carefree childhood, to a time of untainted, open hearted attitude to life and love. For the video for "Little Babylon" I've teamed up with a London based director Rory McKellar. I feel he was really able to capture the story and the mood of song through his cinematic style and the video feels more like a mini film. I’m very excited to share it with my fans.
What’s been your biggest career highlight to date?
Receiving a Grammy for co-writing and featuring on a song with Eminem ("Legacy" MMLP2 album). And of course 'Book Of Love' having the worldwide success that it's had and going 'Gold' and No.1 in Germany.
Do you have any more projects coming up that you’re excited about?
I've been working on something that artistically will show a very different side of me to the audience. It's a new journey, new chapter for me. That's all I can say at the moment... Stay tuned! :)