Natalia Terekhova – Dark Princess

Interview by Miriam C.

Translation by Vard Aman

Dark Princess is probably (even without probably) THE most underrated symphonic metal band of the whole Russian musical panorama. But, beside their long career and an important line-up change (sadly, Olga Romanova quit the band years ago for the ones who don’t know)  I cannot really tell you why (or find the real reason) but with this interview we intend to shed some light to a gifted band and artist like Natalia Terekhova
 
Hi Natalia, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine! It’s a pleasure to be able to talk with you! How are you?

Hello! I’m very glad too! I’m fine!

Tell us a bit about your early career as a singer. Where, when and how did it all begin?

I started singing at 14. I used to sing before, but not professionally of course. I liked the Uruguayan singer and actress Natalia Oreiro. I used to sing, but when I saw Natalia Oreiro performing on the stage, enjoyed by millions of people (her fans), something inside me was set on fire! I wanted something like that! I really wanted to learn to sing and act professionally on stage. So I went to a vocal studio and met with a wonderful vocal coach . His name was Sergey Baulin. We are still good friends, but we don’t see each other much now.

We know that you have taken part into the Eurovision Song contest, but how did you come across Dark Princess?

Yeah, I took part in Russian selection of The Eurovision Song Contest twice. About Dark Princess: I met the producer of the band, Valeriy Romanov, in 2008. It was very unexpected. I honestly never knew the band before, and never really listened to Rock music before. Before then I only sang Pop music. Of course, I did like some rock groups, such as Queen, but before Dark Princess I wasn’t really fond of Rock music. Anyway, in 2008 I recorded a song with Valeriy‘s solo studio engineer; a friend of mine called Vitaliy Chulkov. He recorded his early albums with Dark Princess‘s former singer, Olga Romanova. In the winter of 2008, Olga Romanova decided to leave Dark Princess, just before they were due to open for Within Temptation. They needed a vocalist to perform the shows, and Vitaliy Chulkov suggested to Valeriy Romanov that I sing with them. I had 10 days to learn all their songs! That was my first performance with a Rock band; and after the shows I stayed with Dark Princess. Gradually, we started to write new songs with the band, which subsequently were included on the album “The World I’ve Lost”.

About “The World I’ve Lost”, what you can say about its genesis/development and its lyrics? Also the title is quite important, what does it mean for you personally?

First of all, I was very excited to plunge into a completely different kind of music (which was not usual for me)! And I was surprised to realize that this music is very close to me! Music became my spiritual map! The lyrics were also very close to me. My personal life was sometimes not very stable, and the lyrics largely reflect my personal experiences.

The album title was controversial. It is closer to our producer; after all, he took a huge part in the recording of the album and it was he who insisted on this title. I think the album title reflects his inner feelings at the time. The meaning also refers to the World in turmoil – the World is going through a lot a bad events, and it sometimes seems that we are losing our World.

What’s your favourite songs and why?

I have a few favourites. They are mostly the songs with lyrics that I wrote myself because they are the closest to me personally; like “Fight With Myself” and “We Cannot Fly So High”. And “The Temple of Darkness” of course!

And “Paradise Land”?

Yes, but that’s like a little fairytale. For me, this is a fantastic song.

I love it too! Now for the question that most people would likely want me to ask: was it hard for you “The World I’ve Lost” to be compared with the Olga Romanova era albums? What are the main differences between “The World I’ve Lost” and the previous album “Жестокая игра”?

I will say this: Olga was a pioneer; she was the beginning of a larger project called Dark Princess. I started a new page and a new chapter. Time moves on and the music is also changing. The style is also changing. Our new album is not as “classic” or as gothic as the previous albums. Perhaps this is the main difference. “Жестокая игра” is an old album already – a classic of the group Dark Princess. These are the songs that made thousands of fans fall in love with this band! And then I fell in love with the music myself in 2008. If it were not for those albums, there would be no new album. “The World I’ve Lost” is a different chapter: new, modern, but still the same sensual music about relationships and love and feelings!

So what are the future plans for Dark Princess? I hope some gigs and new album.

At the moment we’re going through a bit of a difficult period.

But you can confirm to your fans that Dark Princess is still active?

Yes! Absolutely! I believe in our bright future!

So back to you and your musical career : I understand that you’ve got the chance for two times to enter in the national (Russian) finals of the Eurovision song contest, first in 2008 and then in 2010. Most of us have seen the Eurovision finals, and some of us have seen regional finals from various countries as well, but like everything in the arts such as television and music, we only see the finished product. What is it like to take part in the Eurovision? Give us some insight…

Yeah! It was awesome! Great experience! Eurovision is both a huge celebration of music, and at the same time a great responsibility and a lot of work! It is a great stage experience, a TV show, television shooting experience, rehearsals, interviews… For any artist it is a great achievement. I just sent a letter with the CD recordings of my songs, and twice (2008 and 2010) the editors chose me and my songs. It’s very nice to know that they liked my songs and thought that I deserved a television broadcast!

What can you tell about your solo album “The First Step”?

I deliberately called it “The First Step” because this was really the first step in writing my own songs and lyrics. The album contains only my own songs. Before that I used to sing cover songs, and never thought that I would write my own songs for myself or for other artists. In 2008, I sat down at a piano and the music just kept flowing out. I recorded songs for the album over 3 years, and in 2011 the album was finished and mixed.

Most of your songs are in English. What are your thoughts about singing in Russian and/or other languages?

Each language is beautiful in its own way! English is certainly the most used language in the world and is very suitable for singing. We really want to record an album in Russian. Perhaps we’ll do a few songs on the new album in Russian. I also love the French language, especially for singing.

Yes, French has a particular melody when you sing on it.

I agree.

Also how would you compare performing solo or with a band, i.e. Dark Princess?

Oh, there is a big difference! There is a big difference in the energy and the premise. When I’m alone on stage it is something personal, just me and the audience and I worry more! When I am with a group, especially with Dark Princess, I feel much more confidence because beside me there are five excellent musicians. When all the instruments are in unison there’s such a power!

What is, or rather, who are “The Moscow Four”?

This is group headed by Igor Portnoy. Igor is a professional actor, singer and actor in musicals. I met him in 2009 at the rehearsals of the musical “Treasure Island”. He came up with a show for Broadway Musical hits. The Moscow Four is a group of four artists (me, Igor and our colleagues on stage) which toured abroad (including the cruise ships) for foreign viewers. The Moscow Four came from another earlier project – the Broadway Stars or The Broadway Galaxy. We just cut down the number of performers and changed the program slightly. We started rehearsing the program around the summer of 2011 and in the autumn we went on our first tour. In fact, many of our projects are practically created at home. We are a group of enthusiasts and artists. We don’t have producers or people who invest in the development of our business, but we cope well on our own!

So, you play Broadway hits, which is your favorite one?

Ooh, it’s very difficult to pick any one song! I like The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Super Star, Mamma Mia!, songs from the Sounds of Music! Many, many…

It’s been almost a three now since the release of “The World I’ve Lost”. How has the response been so far, in Russia and abroad?

Everything went a bit wrong, as I thought… Of course, there was a lot of hype surrounding the release of this long-awaited album, and I only know about the positive reviews about it. But beyond that nothing has progressed, and there are many reasons for that. These reasons also influenced our stasis in our project, which is still ongoing.

In your opinion, what didn’t work at the time? And is that a direct consequence of this hiatus?

No driving force. No professional people who could promote and develop the project further. Our producer “retreated into the shadows” and in the end he was the one who could not cope. For a large project you need teamwork. The project should involve professional people who work in this field (the field of show business). We need people! I call on people to join us! It ties me up because, apparently, I have to develop the project further, as if it wasn’t already hard enough for me; I’m a singer and an artist, and I’m not an entrepreneur. Everyone should be doing what they’re supposed to be doing; but I have to do it, I don’t have a choice.

So you’re saying that your record label wasn’t able to successfully promote the album and that it was too much on your shoulders, right?

All negotiations with the record labels are done by our producer, Valeriy Romanov. So I don’t know specifically what they were wanted to do. But apparently, it was done in the wrong way and so I was forced to personally leading the project myself.

So for the next Dark Princess album, will you finance it by yourself, without any label on your back after what’s happened?

I wouldn’t like to do that. I still count on the support of serious, professional people who would believe in us and our group! We want to take part in major European Rock festivals! I really hope after this  incident to meet the right people who can help us!

Well, I really hope that Dark Princess will be back soon with a brand new album because I really enjoyed “The World I’ve Lost”; and here in Europe we have plenty of serious Metal labels like Nuclear Blast and Napalm Records.

Thank you for your kind words! I’m sure everything will work out! I will never give in to difficulties! The guys support me! We believe in our success and our creativity!

A pleasure.. I’ve forgotten to ask you what are your favourite songs from old Dark Princess? Do you still perform them live?

“Cry”. It’s my favourite.

I love that song too!

We certainly do, and will perform the best songs from previous albums!

Do you have any plans for tours in Russia or abroad?

There are no specific plans for performances with Dark Princess yet, but like I said, we are planning to participate in major Rock festivals, both in Russia and abroad. At the moment, I’m very busy with my solo work and with other projects.

And what about your personal musical projects, what’s next after your debut solo album?

I have a lot of different ideas. Firstly, I want to open my own concert agency. After that, I would like to take part in more television projects. In general, I want to move forward in every possible way.

You told me before that you’re an actress too. So you’re the definition of what is called an artist. Tell us about your career as actress.

I’m not a professional actress. I have no acting training. In Russian, an “artist” is a person who performs on stage in some way. So I can say that I am an artist (I sing, dance, and even sometimes play some small parts on stage), but I’m not an actress.

Well, Natalia we’re at the end. I really thank you for this interview! 

It was a pleasure to talk to you! Thank you!

 

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