Natasha Gordienko has been gigging since 2007, however it was only after competing in the Holos Krainy (Voice of the Country) talent show did she achieve her goal of gaining a wider audience by signing a contract with Universal Music Group (UMG). Last year her debut videos and singles Kyiv-Goa and Lyubov ne Tekila (Love is not Tequila) rocketed up the Ukrainian charts.
Moment Of Glory
In 2011, Gordienko took part in Holos Krainy, making it into the finals, only to lose out to Ivan Ganzera in the sing-off for top honours. The loss was not a waste of time for Gordienko as producers came calling and she signed a contract with UMG soon after the show. Ask her what she thinks attracted producers and she replies: “It’s hard to say, so I’ll just quote my producer who says I have crazy energy and charisma. I do know my vocal skills are not the best you can find, and there are people who sing better, but I still managed to get through.”
The show follows the same format as The Voice, an international reality television singing competition where contestants chosen are then trained by a successful recording artist acting as a coach. Now the tables have turned for the singer as she is coaching a choir from Kharkiv in the third season of Battle of the Choirs talent show. The switch from contestant to coach has been an easy transition for her, she says. “Singing and knowing people are judging you is so much scarier than guiding the participants. The mission of the coach is to help participants feel confident. My choir is from Kharkiv and aged 13–19. I’ve chosen the youngest to have the chance to be the boss, as it makes me wonder how I would manage somebody older than me.”
Gordienko has released two singles with videos from six songs in total. All her lyrics and music is, so far, the product of her composer Ehor Solodovnikov, despite the fact Gordienko can write lyrics herself. She explains: “I do write songs, but they are not used in the project. I totally trust UMG and follow their direction. But if anything changes, in the future I can always go back to my band or continue as Gordienko singing what I write.”
For now, Gordienko’s single focus is her audience. She grew up watching movies about Jim Morrison and The Rolling Stones, and romanticised of going on a year-long tour. But to achieve that, she needs to build her audience in order to pack concert halls. As she tells it: “Right now I’m at the stage of gaining an audience. When I have my little army of followers then there will be a reason to record a full album and go on tour.” According to her, her target audience is young and energetic people; youth who are wild and free and have not become stale.
Looking To Europe...Via Russia
Although Gordienko is a Ukrainian singer, UMG is Russian. She also sings in Russian but recently started working on a song in English written by a European producer. Last year she sang on Moscow’s Red Square for thousands of people, which she says was a great experience. However she admits her aspirations extend beyond the Russian market. “I think it would be good to play in Poland because, according to what I’ve heard from my fellow colleagues, they would accept me more readily. Many musicians admit they feel European audiences are so overwhelmed with quality music that they treat musicians with snobbery. And it’s so hard to impress them. But Poland is closer to us and I hope people they will get my message,” Gordienko says.
She believes Ukrainian artists are in demand in Russia as they are more sincere, making their musical material more interesting for Russian people. With Russian-Ukrainian relations in the spotlight just now, what is Gordienko’s take? “As a media personality I don’t want to promote myself through these events, but I have a strong position. I can’t say anything publically as I’m signed with a Russian company, but I admit to looking the way of European clubs...” – Gordienko leaves us with little doubt about what she means.
by Vadym Mishkoriz