Recently, we had the pleasure of being introduced to Maria Brodskaya. Maria is a singer, songwriter, pianist and violinist, as well as an actress and photo model.
She was born into a musical family Belgorod, Russia. At age four Maria began studying music, playing the violin and piano. By the age of seven she began writing music. With her first two songs she earned her first composer award at the famous Ukrainian contest “Young composers” in Kiev. Maria has won many contests as a singer and songwriter. She has performed in Moscow (Russia), Kiev (Ukraine), Berlin (Germany), Copenhagen (Danmark), Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Maria’s debute album “Apple-Moon” is now available. The CD brings to the fore a blend of pop, soul, slavic folk, jazz and ambient music. It unites the modern and ancient musical traditions. East and West.
So, tell us a bit more about your background and your introduction to music?
MB: I was born in Russia, in a small town Belgorod, in a family of professional musicians – my father was a composer and a pianist, and my mother is a concertmaster and music teacher. When I was six I entered The Special Musical Schoolfor Gifted Children, affiliated with the Conservatory, that was a border school in Kharkov (Ukraine), and five days a week I was living there, because that was the nearest special music school. Then when I finished it ahead of time, cum laude, I entered the Conservatory in two departments – violin and piano. And then, after my studying there for two years, I moved to Moscow and entered the Russian Academy of Music as a singer and songwriter. And I graduated from there cum laude too:) So, now I’m in Moscow. And actually, when they ask me about my nationality and etc – I always answer: “no matter where I am from and where I am know – I consider myself a person without age and nationality, and I’m just a human creature of this world and a citizen of the Earth planet:)
Once you had your focus on music, how did you begin your journey towards becoming a professional ?
MB: Well, actually, apart from my musical education, that was starting when I was four – I began studying music, playing the violin and piano in a music school in my home town before the special music school – I’ve been participated in many contests and festivals, starting from the age of 7. By this age – of seven – I began writing music and, with my first two songs, I won my first composer award in the “Young Composers Contest” in Kiev (that is the capital of Ukraine). Then I’ve had a lot of different awards as a singer and songwriter, and also as a composer of instrumental music. And also I have a lot of performances as an artist-violinist of a chamber and symphony orchestra. And at the age of 16 – when I was a student of the Conservatory – I had my first jazz quartet and sang jazz in club with them. And then, when I came to Moscow I organized my acoustic jazz quartet. Its name was ‘Soft-M”. We played jazz in Moscow jazz clubs, and I performed as a vocalist, violinist, arranger and art director simultaneously. But the last few years I’m focused on my own original music, and I’m working in the studio, writing a lot and recording my albums. I have some performances in Moscow clubs and some events – I play the piano and sing my jazz-folk songs in English, Russian and Ukrainian languages, and I even have a song in Hebrew. And this April I had two concerts in Buenos-Aires with my both programs – from my first album “Apple-Moon” and with my jazz-folk program that I’m singing and playing the piano. But still great part of my time now I devote to my working in the studio. And now I’m recording my new album – my second album in English.
Who were your earliest sources of inspiration?
MB: Well, there was a lot of different music sounding in my parents place. And my first names from my childhood, that have formed my musical world outlook and taste and inspired me were: Diana Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Billie Holiday. And then – who became my gurus more: Bob James, Bill Evance, Pat Metheny, Shirley Horn, Sting, Seal, Sade.
In the classical music I can emphasize my lovely great and important names for my musical life: Sergei Rachmaninov and Claude Debussy.
And also one of the spring of inspiration for me is Ukrainian Folk Music.
Tell us about your travels and exposure to international audiences?
I haven’t had a lot of international performances yet. I recorded my debut album in English in 2011, and my second album in English is getting ready very soon. But I had a few performances in Berlin, and with my new album “Apple-Moon” two concerts in Buenos Aires, that were very successful, and audience was very kind, and people were coming up to me and asking me for my album. And though I have never been to America yet – I’m just getting ready to come -, now I receive a lot of letters from my fans – most of them are Americans and English people, who has listened to my album on Internet, iTunes and on Radio, and they write me how they love my music, and how much they are waiting for my concerts in their countries. So, now I’m doing my best to come to develop and realize myself in the US. Because that is my main professional goal for now, and also my dream.
Let’s take a few minutes to watch your video “Empire of Music”.
Your CD “Apple Moon” is available on iTunes and Amazon (as well as SHOP HorizonVU Music). Give us some background on the album…what’s the message?
MB: Well, this is my real debut album, that is the mix of pop, soul, slavic folk, jazz and ambient music. And the idea of the music in this album was to unite different musical traditions – East and West. I wanted to make the modern music, but to save in it the tones of the slavic folk music with its great history. And telling about some background of this album I’d like to start from the name – “Apple-Moon”, and there is a short funny story:
I didn’t have any name for the album, but I had a few songs for it. But suddenly… – the new song is born via iPad – it was created and arranged on iPad..:) And this song became the “key-song” and also brought the tittle for the album: because of I love Apple, I love apples, and I love moon – so, the name has come: “Apple-Moon”!
And the interesting thing more is this key-song – “Apple-Moon” is based on the world known old Ukrainian song “Shchedrik” or “Carol of the Bels” – it’s English version of this song. The sense of this song has a big magic, as well as all of the slavic folk music has. And as for the lyrics in this album – I can say they are the mix too: I was trying to compile some kind of the slavic folk poetry images and the magical sense, figurative style, strong emotion of love, drama and tenderness. I wanted to make the songs soft and dramatic one and the same time, emotional and deep, magical and sexy. And I hope I did that, because now people tell me about these things in my music:)
And by the way, I have to say, that here in this album I’m acting not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a piano-and-violin-player, and also as an author of the arrangements of some songs.
And now “Apple-Moon” airs on different radio stations in the US and UK. And by the way, here in this album I’m acting not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a piano-and-violin-player, and also as an author of the arrangements of some songs.
What’s is Maria’s plan for 2012? What should our readers be looking for as far as Maria is concerned?
MB: Well, first, now I’m finishing my second English album, that will be very interesting, beautiful and strong music. Something new, I guess. I don’t like any kind of copy-cats in music and in arts on the whole. I really think the most important and interesting thing that artist can do and have to do in their arts is to express their own inner world in their doings. And that is the only thing that the creative work is for.
Second, my main goal is to realize and develop myself in the US, now I’m preparing a lot of different papers to get american visa, and hope very much to get it as soon as my new album is ready. So, I will have two recorded albums in my hands – that are my original music and lyrics. And that will be my completed concert program. And more over, there is two hundred songs in my composer baggage, and by this moment thirty songs from them are in English. So, I’m also planning to record not only the second, but also the third album in this year, at least.
I’m planning to come to the US with God’s help, create a band there, and of course I hope to have the touting through the US, and realize all my skills and creative ideas on the stage, in my music and my performance. I hope to get a serious contract with the label, maybe major – I know I can be a very good asset:)) Of course, I am setting the goal and have a big hope to win Grammies as an interesting artist with interesting music – these are grerat goals and aspirations for any musician. I am not the sort of girl who is going to give up, I’m intending to keep fighting for my dreams and for myself, for my right to be heard and realized in this world, and I’m going to win that!
Maria, we appreciate you time and we certainly wish you all the very best going forward. Maria’s album is available on iTunes and Amazon (directly and through SHOP HorizonVU Music). Let’s talk again soon!