Kamaliya has already established herself as one of Ukraine’s biggest stars now she is bringing her unique brand of pop-opera-dance fusion back to the UK following a number one hit in the dance chart with Crazy In My Heart in late 2011 and a string of hits in 2012. Not only that, but she and her husband Zahoor are the stand-out stars in the major Fox TV reality show ‘Meet The Russians’.
Her new single, Love Me Like, is already getting airplay from the likes of Capital and Kiss, following in the steps of ‘I’m Alive” a huge summer smash across Europe, where she’s already had a number of hits.
Having been snapped up by record companies All Around The World in the UK, Ultra in the US, Warners in Spain and Ministry in Germany, the dance diva is following in the footsteps of fellow Ukranian stars Milla Jovovich, Olga Kurylenko and Mila Kunis in becoming one of her countries biggest success stories.
In short she’s the biggest pop star you haven’t heard of – yet! In an age of unlikely pop stars (hello Psy) the timing couldn’t be better for Kamaliya to make her mark on the rest of the world.
Love Me Like is taken from Kamaliya’s fifth album, Club Opera, which is set for release in the UK in November. “I’ve always wanted to mix dance and opera. Some people have dabbled with it in the past but it hasn’t been done on a big scale before. I wanted to take all of the kinds of music I love and blend them together to create great pop music. There are short arias from Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, Mozart, Bizet, Beethoven and Puccini, as well as an excerpt from The Flower Duet by Delibes on I’m Alive.”
Kamaliya also recorded two duets with opera icon José Carreras this summer, one of which will appear on his forthcoming album.
The album is produced by the esteemed Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen. “He’s best known for Nena’s 99 Red Balloons, and he’s also worked with Justin Timberlake and Prince, and his songs feature on many films, including Boogie Nights and Watchmen, so he’s got a incredible background. I worked with his team in Norway and it was such a great experience. He really ‘got’ my voice and technical ability. I got to be really creative and had such a great time coming up with mad ideas.”
The video for I’m Alive is in keeping with the theatrical theme of the album. The Roman themed video sees Kamaliya as a legioner and empress, allowing Kamaliya to show off the more dramatic side of her personality. “I wanted the video to have an operatic sense to it but still feel very contemporary. To be able to come up with a vision for something and then see the finished product work so beautifully was wonderful. I wanted the video and the cover of my album to reflect my sound, which I call ‘house music with a heartbeat’. I can’t wait for people to hear the album. Every song is different. They all make me want to get up and dance and I hope they’ll do the same for everyone else.”
Kamaliya started performing at the tender age of three, when she began singing in her local children’s choir. Her military father was later deployed to Budapest, where she continued performing and set her sights on a career as a musician.
On moving back to Ukraine she studied at Lviv Music School. Whilst there she began writing her own songs, learnt to play violin and was also encouraged to study opera due to her incredible singing range. “Opera wasn’t something I’d really thought about doing before but my teachers said the style would suit my voice. Once I tried it I fell in love with it and it was great to have that other side to my singing. I also learnt to direct shows while I was at the University of Performing Arts in Kiev, so that’s something I would love to in the future.”
In her teens she started singing professionally having won a series of singing competitions, and was soon offered a record deal. “Growing up I loved all styles of music, from Deep Purple to Boney M and Abba. I also had a real passion for soul music so I loved Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey, and two of my idols were Madonna and Michael Jackson. Nowadays I still love all of those artists and I also adore Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna. I like big voices and lots of energy. All of those people have influenced me in some way.”
Kamaliya released her first Russian language album in 1996 and went on have a further four massive hit records – becoming one of the Ukraine’s best-known singers in the process. As a result, in 2004 she was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine by the President of Ukraine as a thank you for her outstanding achievements in developing Ukrainian culture.
Four years later she entered – and won – the Mrs World beauty pageant, which put her on the worldwide radar. Offers soon started rolling in and in 2009 her acting career took off. She has starred in a number of successful Russian language films and TV shows, as well as several Hollywood movies. 2013 will see her starring alongside Sharon Stone and Andy Garcia in the drama What About Love, while past co-stars include Stephen Dorff and James Woods.
In 2011 she recorded her eponymous first English language album, and in 2012 she was invited to support Steps on their nationwide tour. “The tour was incredible. Getting to perform every night was a dream for me. I also had some downtime so I got the chance to do some more song writing. I’ve written tracks for movies as well as for other artists in the past, and that’s something I plan to continue to do.”
Despite having a hundred and one things going on in her life, right now Kamaliya’s main focus is getting back on stage and showcasing her new album. “I am happiest when I am on stage with my dancers around me. I like to put on a big show with incredible lights and lasers and create a real party atmosphere. My aim is to make the world feel good!”