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» interview

Anastacia interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

Anastacia has always been one of my favorites: ever since I heard her powerhouse attitude-heavy vocals on her hurricane debut single I’m Outta Love back in 2000. I was also geeky enough to spend a lot of time on the Russian Anastacia-themed message board around the time her Anastacia album came out and made some fantastic friends in the process with whom we’ve traveled to Kiev, Saint Petersburg and Helsinki to see Anastacia’s shows over the years. So I was beyond excited to finally be able to chat with miss Freak of Nature about her newest compilation record Ultimate Collection, staying positive and people mispronouncing her name.

The Russian version of the interview was published at Zvooki.ru and the original is below.

Hi, Anastacia! It’s a huge pleasure to finally be able to talk with you after waiting for you outside your hotel in Moscow 10 years ago. How are you?

I am in Los Angeles in my house, still doing my work but at least being able to sleep in my own bed. Trying to take the last moments of sun before the winter comes ‘cause it’s coming.

It’s your second Greatest Hits compilation. What made you decide to release it now?

It was reuniting with Sony that made the decision pretty easy. It was a nice way to introduce coming back home to Sony. And I just released Resurrection so I felt like the title Resurrection, going back to Sony, the whole theme of what was going on the last couple of years was pointing to being able to put out an ultimate collection. It feels like even better time than when I released the first one which felt too soon.

You’ve certainly paid your dues (pun intended!). What’s been the most fun and the least fun moments of your career?

There’s a lot of ‘most fun’s, so it’s hard to give an exact answer ‘cause I really enjoy what I do and how I do it. It’s not fun to ever have to go through your health and personal life in public. I think most people can probably admit that but that is the hard thing to balance your career with. It becomes difficult but you just try to measure through the complicated part.

You’ve been to Russia a lot of times. What do you like about our country? And do you follow any of the Russian musicians? Cause you did work with Dima Bilan.

I actually enjoy seeing your country grow since I’ve been coming in around 2005. And just within that time and it’s only 10 years I’ve been able to see the amount of your country’s growth in dramatic ways which is very exciting. I guess I would kinda call it ‘Western ways’, ‘wordly ways’ developing into Russian culture. And it’s really exciting to see people becoming more understanding of other cultures, even our culture. It’s this fusion that I enjoy watching: when you adopt different things but still stay prideful in the Russian way. It’s like you want to stay Russian but have many different influences.

Did you ever think about doing a SPROCK record in a way that 1/3 of the album would be pure soul, the other one rock and the final one pop?

I don’t know if I’ll ever think about separating stuff, ‘cause when I do my music is just sorta forms into whatever it is. The song itself pens to sprock energy, but usually it’s not 100% sprock album, because that’s probably too much energy all at once [laughs]. It’s kinda the way I like to do my concerts, too: I like to have a variety, and give my audience almost a roller coaster ride instead of throwing them out of the plane with no parachute.

Your live shows used to be these huge spectacles with dancers and costume changes, but for your last Resurrection tour you decided to strip it all off (not literally though). Is this the way you want to perform now – almost low-key with your big voice in the center?

No, I don’t think so. Before the Resurrection tour I wanted to take the title of the tour and make it more of the rebirth and make it more about starting at the beginning spiritually, emotionally and mentally and that’s why I wanted to do a Q&A at the concerts, which isn’t normal. Sometimes when you perform with all the dancers and all that success, you forget what’s it like down at the bottom and you forget what it was like when you just started and didn’t have the hair and the make-up team or whatever. I just wanted to do things differently than my fans were used to and I think it really went well because nobody really does that at my level, so it was nice to experience almost like their own independent concert each and every night. And that was what I was trying to get out of the loyalty for my fans and the dedication that they’ve given me over the years. Now the fans want the Q&As at every concert. I can’t do it in arenas! That’s so funny.

If you didn’t follow through with being a singer, what would be the Plan B?
Before I got my break as a singer when I was 28-29, I started thinking: ‘Okay, it doesn’t look like people are gonna give me a record deal or that I’m gonna have a music career. I need to think of something I need to do for a job, ‘cause I’m getting too old’. And I thought what would make me happy would be if I went to school and got a degree so that I could become a social worker for children or a therapist for kids. I enjoy helping other people but actually helping the younger generation to try to get in touch with where they’re going. And that was my wish and then I got my career right around the corner. So I’m very glad I didn’t try to go to school, cause I think I might not have passed.

How many pairs of glasses do you actually own?

I got my eyes LASIKed so I don’t always have to have a prescription behind my glasses. I used to not be able to see far which is why I always wore glasses, now as my age is happening I need glasses to see my Blackberry. So maybe I will get my eyes fixed again, ‘cause it limits your activity. I have so many glasses, I can’t put a number on it, probably about a 100. It’s a little much, I know.

I noticed that on UK TV shows they often call you AnastaZia. That can’t be right, can it?

My mom came up with the pronunciation which isn’t the correct one. But I’m an American and that’s how we tend to say it. I think when my mom heard Anastacia in a Chekhov play before I was born she didn’t realize that it wasn’t with a C. So she spelled my name with a C. So now everyone whose name is spelled like this is probably influenced by me, because that’s definitely not the traditional way.

So now I’m picturing you on a theater scene in a Chekhov play. Maybe the next time you’re in Russia…

Oh my God that would be amazing! That would actually be really amazing, I would love that.

Well, your new single is called Take This Chance. So I was gonna ask you what chance are you gonna take, so I think that’s it – acting in theater!

That’s a big chance, I wouldn’t be able to speak Russian though. As long as I can do in English I think I can do it.

I feel like what a lot of people don’t know is that you have a great sense of humor. Is it hard to stay positive while working in this industry? And did you ever think about maybe writing a comedy, a sitcom?..

People have said to me: ‘Oh you should have your own show’. But from when I was very young I learned that the way to get through a lot of difficult times was humor. And maybe being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease it was an easier way to deal. And if you sometimes think about children in hospitals, they usually smile and have a good time because it gets them through their illness. And I think that was something that happened to me or maybe more my personality, it’s always sorta stuck with me to want to make people laugh and finding humor in something dark, trying to find silver lining in something difficult. It’s just been who I am and I continue to live with that kinda perspective and it’s been much easier to get through a lot of the situations in my life to have a little bit of a lighter opinion rather than be so down and moody. I just like to feel easy and light and let it roll off my shoulders easier.

What about writing an autobiography?

I do have a title for a book. I’ve had it for a good ten years and I do know that I’ve wanted to right my side of things that people don’t know. Not telling stories about other people but just about my own journey and how I grew up and what went on and different things that I think my fans would be interested in. But it still hasn’t happened for whatever reason I haven’t searched directly for a book deal, but I know that the right time will come when I am completely ready for it. It will happen, it just didn’t happen yet.

Just like my first glasses line that I will put out in spring with Bluemarine. It’s the first time I’ve ever put my name on a pair of glasses and people will be surprised because they’ll be like ‘Really?’. I am famous for my glasses but I’ve never had the opportunity to do the right deal. And this is just the perfect relationships and the glasses I have in the album cover is one of the pair of glasses that are part of the spring line. It’s so exciting to do something that I’ve thought of for so long. So I think the book will eventually happen and I’ll be saying the same thing: ‘Gosh, I’ve been thinking about this book for many many years’.

What are you favorite artists and songs right now?

There’s a lot of people I really like. I like Imagine Dragons and The Black Keys. Even though they’re rockbands, it’s the voices and the way they write their music that I enjoy. So whether or not we as two voices together would write the same kinda energy and work well I don’t know, but I’m a fan of old school rock as well. Classic AC/DC and Zeppelin yet I still enjoy Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, John Legend, I have such a variety of things that I like. I like Macklemore, ‘cause he’s so funny.

I’d love to hear a Macklemore ft. Anastacia single. I’ll tweet him! And finally when is the next studio album comes out?

I’m gonna tour the Ultimate Collection. And while I’m on tour I’ll write the next album. ‘Cause if I’d waited til after the tour, it would probably be too long. That’s how I wrote my last record and I liked not having too much in-between time strange as it is. I came home from my tour in beginning of September and I’m already doing interviews for the next one. I don’t mind, because the fans want the project. They’ve been following my tour for a long time and I think they’re ready for something new.

Get Ultimate Collection now.

Interview with Naomi Pilgrim

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

About a year ago Naomi Pilgrim released her debut single – a trip-hop-y ‘No Gun’ that had pleasantly mellow sound and some remarkable lyrics (’12 hours flight, didn’t charge my Pod’ and ‘…at least now I know I should just stick to grass’ were among the best ones). Now she’s got a new song out – it’s called ‘It’s All Good’ (I’d like to think of it as a happy-end sequel to ‘No Gun ’ – ‘cause every melancholic Swedish lady deserves one!) and it’s, well, pretty good, too.

Back in April we did an interview for Cosmopolitan Russia and here’s the original version of the interview. Russian version is on the Cosmo’s website here:

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What’s your story?

My story contains Sweden and Barbados, a lot of longing for summer and creating while searching my own path. I’ve been making music for a long time, but it wasn’t until last year that I decided to dare to dream bigger and since then I’ve been busy fulfilling those dreams.

Why do you think so many talented artists come from Sweden and Barbados? Something in the water/air?

I think it’s because we live in a society where there is room for growth and where we appreciate the uniqueness in and of things. From that point of view we are able to take it further by pushing the limits.

What things from the ‘No Gun’ lyrics actually happened to you?

It’s not biographically written but some things are still true, but which scenarios I’m gonna leave unsaid haha.

What did you learn from working with Lykke Li?

I learned a lot, she is an excellent teacher. She taught me to ask the hard questions in the process of making/ creating and to always stand up for my vision.

What’s the most exciting thing about making music for you?

A lot of things! For example how an emotion and a simple thought can build a new world in a matter of seconds. Music teaches me new things Every day and I love to be absorbed in its wise universe.

You call yourself a ‘a whistle-blower for peace’. What does that mean exactly?

I am a firm believer in equality and since I have my freedom and we live in a cold world I think it would be a crime against humanity not to use it. The deadliest war since world war II  is happening right now in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Kids to small to carry a gun are being sent out in The frontlines of war armed with only a whistle. I use their weapon as my voice. Falling Whistles is campaign for peace in Congo, they sell this whistle and the proceeds goes to different life saving projects on the ground in Congo. And by wearing a whistle close to my heart I keep the story of these children alive.

Is there one thing that unites all Naomi’s of the world?

The warmth, the loving and the excellence?

What’s the game-plan for you this year? When will we hear new music?

I am heading out for The festival season with a new single coming out in the end of may!

What else does the world should know about Naomi Pilgrim?

I love champagne and oysters, swimming and horses.

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More on Naomi at her Facebook and twitter.

Kelsey Ellison Interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Interviews, Music, Style | Leave a comment

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Avril Lavigne may have cause a bit of a riot with her shockingly bad Japanese-inspired ‘Hello Kity’ video, but when it comes to doing justice to J-world, there’s hardly another firecracker like British YouTuber Kelsey Ellison. For years she made YouTube a much more kawaii place and now she’s ready to kick off a music career, too. Her debut single, Maya von Doll-penned ‘Pom Pom’, is a perfect introduction to what’s yet to come: it’s ridiculously catchy, fun and just the right amount of crazy. Obviously I had to find out what was going on behind-the-scenes on that video shoot and, as Kelsey put it herself, inside her ‘cartoon like brain’.

What’s the story of Kelsey?

I come from the land of the Jelly Shoes and the Spice Girls, A.K.A the nineties. I’m from the U.K and I grew up in a small town in South Yorkshire called Barnsley. My Dad has been in various bands and my Mum is a Musical Theatre lover, so I’ve been surrounded by music since a very young age. After I had an operation on my eye when I was three, I lost a lot of confidence, so my Mum took me to dancing classes, and I got a huge passion for it! When I got told in career advice at school that performing wasn’t really a real job, I decided I wanted to be a performer for a living.

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It’s all about HER: Interview with Veva

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Cinema, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

You can’t do an iconic teen movie without a punchy soundtrack. And Darren Stein got it right with the ‘GBF’ – just like he did 15 years ago with the ‘Jawbreaker’ OST. One of the highlights of the ‘GBF’ soundtrack is Veva’s ‘HER’ – delicious electro pop number with a killer chorus: ‘H, my hips, E, emotion, R, the rhythm’ (spelling and pop music always blend very well). I chatted with the girl behind the hips, emotions and the rhythm. Meet Florida-based singer Veva and get to know her story.  

Who is Veva and what’s her story?

Well, that’s a long story, and it kinda incorporates two questions. I grew up in Toledo, a small industrial town in Northwest Ohio, where my best friend and now music partner Matthew Paul only lived blocks away. We eventually met and it was over from there. His mom used to tell him that his twin was here when I arrived at his house. He noticed my pipes when I was about 14, and always encouraged me to pursue singing. Growing up in a poor family it was a struggle. But at my 6th grade recognition people started to notice my talent when I performed ‘Hero’ by Mariah Carey. Fast forward to middle school, and I was in choir, and then in high school I was in the gospel choir. After the death of my sister in the early 2000′s I decided to take the bull by the horns: Matthew and I pow wowed how we would get to the ‘American Idol’. I went but didn’t quite make the cut, so we started researching and after a long drawn out conversation I packed and took off to sunny Florida. We placed Craigslist adds and networked for a producer. Justin Diggs answered the call and that’s how “HER” was born. After that we buckled down in the studio and recorded many other tracks, but it wasn’t until ‘GBF’ that we finally had something.

What’s the story behind ‘HER’ and how did the song end up on the ‘GBF’ soundtrack?

Justin Diggs approached Matthew and me with the demo for ‘HER’ in early 2011 which had a hook but no verses and bridge at the time. I was like ‘Wow, this is a really great track! It has massive potential’. So we did an informal writing session which turned into ‘HER’. And we had many difficulties in the studio: I do believe at one point we lost a bunch of files. It really was an adventure. We then contacted Tom Baker for mastering and once we got it back, we just KNEW! I had the strangest feeling. Matthew has always been fan of ‘Jawbreaker’ so it didn’t surprise me while networking that he would run into the famous ‘Jawbreaker’ director Darren Stein. Matthew made the connection, he met Darren Stein and they became professional friends. Darren at the time was looking for new music for his movie ‘GBF’. Matthew sent him a few of our songs and Darren fell in love with ‘HER’ which alongside ‘Love Gun’ made its way into the film. ‘HER’ plays during the sexy slow motion strut scene and again in the credits and Love Gun plays in a hilar scene with Megan Mullally (Mrs. Van Camp), Michael Willet (Tanner) and Paul Iacono (Brent). ‘HER’ also made its way onto the ‘GBF’ soundtrack!

Do you have a GBF?

LOL Yes: Matthew Paul.

 Is ‘She’s a monster’ line anyhow connected to Lady Gaga?

As much as I Love Lady GaGa, that’s a no. ‘She’s a monster’ just means ‘she’s fierce, she’s on fire, she’s out of her shell’. We had no intent on that at all. Honestly I didn’t know anything about the connection until after the fact.

Are you a party girl? If so (and even if you’re not!) – share your wildest party experience with me. No holding back!

Well, there have been so many!!! Haha, but I would have to say that anytime Matthew Paul and Veva get together…Enough said!

What’s next for you?

Sky’s the limit! I’m working on a plethora of projects right now including a few music videos and more music. So I’m geared up and ready to take on the world! I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for myself and Team Veva! Get your fangs out!

You can get ‘GBF’ soundtrack on iTunes.

Interview with Jeremy from PARAMORE

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

Paramore had a pretty good year. Their fourth self-titled became a huge success and made several ‘best-of-2013’ lists. They toured like crazy – and even came to Moscow for one of the biggest summer festivals. Back in May I chatted with band’s bass guitarist Jeremy Davis for Rolling Stone Russia about his pizza-delivering past, recording a song for ‘Twilight’ and the best gig Paramore ever had.

How are you?

I’m good, I’m currently in Boston. We have a show here tonight.

It’s a cool city. Have any of you ever been to Russia or the upcoming show is going to be your first one?

None of us has been to Russia. And we’re so excited about it. We just started filling out all the paperwork we need for our visas. Russia’s one of those places: I have no idea what it’s gonna be like. It’s really exciting.

It’s been more than 3 years since the last album was released. What did you learn during that time? Was it a necessary break? 

Music is our lives, so to not be playing shows for that long it was really hard for us. But it was nice for us to be home and have normal life. We constantly tour and we’re never home, so it was nice – to act like normal people: watch movies and TV shows when they come out. Normally we watch it all on DVD all the way through, and now we’d watch it like normal people and wait for the next week. That was kinda boring, but the rest was good.

When we got to start recording, we had a lot of plans and ideas. We were very happy that we were able to pull off a lot of things that we did, like having a gospel choir or a strings orchestra on the album. We really had enough time to experiment and try new things.

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NYC vlog 3

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NYC blog #3: beautiful breasts, panty droppers, hipster wine shop and cameos by awesome friends Allison Tartalia, Alyson Greenfield, Melissa Torres and Bree Sharp of ‘Beautiful Small Machines’.

Chromeo

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Seriously not sure what my legs are doing while I’m interviewing Chromeo last Friday.

Interview with Amelia Lily

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I was very pleased to know that Amelia Lily was coming to Moscow for the Valentine’s Day – it’s not that often that we get a rising popstar over here plus I liked both of her Xenomania-produced singles a lot. At the time of the interview it was not yet revealed that Amelia would serve as a supporting act to the upcoming Girls Aloud tour (which made total sense!). So eventually I saw Amelia three more times on the stage – and each time her voice was absolutely great and powerful – she rocked these arenas with such confidence and ease as if those were some low-key bars. Not to mention that she was an absolute pleasure to interview: very mature and honest popstar is always a winner in my book. Amelia’s debut album ‘Be a Fighter’ comes out on April 29th and I’m very excited. And you should be, too.

She gave me a sweet shout-out, too.

Our interview in Russian on Rolling Stone website

Mikey Moscow and Amelia Lily

Whole interview in English is below.

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Girls Aloud for Harper’s Bazaar Russia

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Back in the summer 2011 I literally bumped into a stunning Irish gal named Nadine Coyle – 1/5 of the world’s best girlband Girls Aloud – at the On Top party in New York. We ended up partying all night long and doing a big interview later on. A small part of it ended up in the February issue of Harper’s Bazaar Russia – just in time for the band’s ‘Ten’ tour in the UK (which I’m obviously attending as a hardcore fan). Take a look at the magazine piece for now. The whole interview will be published soon.

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I even got into ‘Authors of the month’ section, which is always a nice bonus.

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