Ethereal and eclectic: two words used to describe the sound of Siberian singer Polyna as she makes waves in the "frosted art-pop" scene. Hailing from a secluded town in Siberia - and when we say secluded, we mean remarkably hidden - Polyna grew up in an area that "wasn't on the map and didn't even have a name up until recently."
Despite these challenges, the talented singer has launched a successful career in music. She's even won the Ovation award, the highest music award in her country. The Teen Magazine had the privilege of sitting down with Polyna for a candid interview, where she shared her inspiring journey to success and the driving forces behind her unique music creations.
Where it all started…
Everyone possesses a distinct and intriguing background to share, and in Polyna's case, her life mirrors that of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Eager to see what lies beyond her home, Polyna muses, "As long as I remember myself, I always dreamt to see the big world, faraway lands, and meet foreign people."
While her desire to explore new horizons was strong, she always carried a piece of home through her music. Polyna was "very close to [her] Nordic nature, and later it became [her] biggest inspiration."
"The crunching sound of snow when you walk on it, the first drops of melting ice in spring, the short summer rains… Everything inspired me, and later I started using those elements in my music. For example, in one of my songs, we create a percussion sound by playing on frozen water of Lake Baikal." - Polyna
We all have moments when we're tired and burnt out from doing something for so long. Sometimes, the things we love can burn us out the most. Yet, this was never a huge issue for Polyna, as she shared the following:
"It's funny, but somehow, I never even thought that I could give up and stop making music. I do have ups and downs, and sometimes feel discouraged, but deep down I know that after a little pause, I'll eventually get back to music. Nature helps a lot. Just one day spent by the ocean or in the forest can bring back inspiration."
Method to it all
"Every time I go through a tough time in my life, music is what saves me. As soon as I start writing a new song or just singing, I feel the relief and release from all odds. I feel alive, and immediately remember what I live for and what truly recharges me."
Songwriting, just like any other creative task, requires time and patience. There are times when ideas will flow like waves, yet there are moments when it can be a struggle. "Sometimes a song would just pass through me, and all I need is to only catch it and write it down quickly before it disappears. And other times, I have a notebook where I write one-liners or sometimes just single words.
They come to me randomly or, when I'm inspired by something, or after a conversation with a friend. Whatever fascinates me, I just write it down. Same with little melodic lines, I have a whole load of them recorded on my phone. And later when I'm in my studio, I open those notes and feel whichever one inspires me the most at this moment, whichever one resonates with me right now. And start spinning it around and usually soon I have the whole song that grew from just one single word or a phrase."
Music has the power through its ability to shape not only ourselves but also those in our presence. It's an expressive form of art that stirs feelings within the audience while enabling the artist to reciprocate by expressing their own emotions through their songs. "I used to struggle with being able to put all my feelings in lyrics, it felt too personal to share… However, when I started writing songs in English, I discovered a new shelter for my feelings and emotions. It felt like I could write about everything that I truly feel or go through,and because my friends or family couldn't understand it, I felt that I could be completely free, raw, and honest.
And soon I realized that writing about deep emotions can help going through tough times. My song 'Complicated' was written about my own personal story. And I remember how much lighter I felt after the song was released."
Fashionista Pop Star
The phrase "looks matter" is widely known and often internalized by many. It permeates the media and finds expression in various designs. This becomes particularly evident when we witness various unique outfit choices worn by our favorite artists in music videos.
But it's more than that for Polyna. It's another form of expression. She shares, "I'm in love with styling and creating the visual representation for each of my songs. I'm inspired by Nordic fashion, I love mixing eclectic, vintage elements and blending them into modern looks. I love headpieces, fashion masks, and hats, I have a whole collection! I often collaborate with amazing fashion designers and often draw my inspiration from the north since I was born there."
"For my latest music video called 'Deep Water', I collaborated with a wonderful fashion designer who is inspired by the Far North as well – Sasha Gapanovich. When I saw Shasha's ruffled blouse made from unique cotton, I felt [at] home! I immediately knew I wanted to collaborate with her. It was the perfect match that connected us through our mutual love to the north." - Polyna
Around the world
Despite Polyna's strong attachment to her roots, it hasn't hindered her from forging new connections in a different environment that has enabled her to thrive and grow as a musician. She states, "I feel very lucky I had a chance to experience both London and LA are capitals of modern music. I love collaborating with local musicians and learning about local culture and music styles. I'm very grateful I have an ability to use elements of many different cultures and blend them into my own music along with Nordic elements from my homeland."
Creativity and Innovation
Creating any project always starts with a vision. For Polyna, "Every time I write a song, I also see a visual for it. I love creating music videos just as much as music itself. I also love to collaborate with other creative minds, I love the synergy that is being born when a whole team is working on a beautiful and meaningful piece of art."
But behind a great music video is a great team. "My upcoming music video was created with a wonderful film and video production company 'No Longer Network'. From the moment we had our first chat and exchanged ideas to the result (which will be released next month!), It was nothing but pure creativity, joy, and professionalism. The production company, my amazing partner in the video Jeffrie Favianni, and the whole crew are one of the main reasons why I love the visual side of music."
What sets Polyna apart from other artists is her distinct fusion of diverse elements in her songs, notably incorporating elements of world music elements and gypsy influences. She shares her experiences, stating, "I used to be a lead actress in one of the biggest musical theatres, the main purpose of which was playing music of different cultures and sharing it with the world. It was an amazing experience that taught me how to appreciate and draw an inspiration from the ethnic music, instruments, and elements. I'm deeply inspired by North and folk music in general, and I love blending those elements into my modern pop genre."
What comes next?
"It was a true pleasure being able to write music with some of the best musicians and producers in the industry. I appreciated every moment of it, and I learned a lot from their approach and experience. I used to think that "the more – the better", and now I believe that "less is more", and if you can take a sound out of the production without it loosing much overall, you should." - Polyna
Polyna's music career is continually evolving and has become a force to be reckoned with. When asked about upcoming plans she has for the future, Polyna divulged, "I have a new single and a music video on the way, it will be released next month! Also, I'm currently working on live shows [and] can't wait to start touring with the new album!"
Quick Questions with Polyna!
1. If you could communicate with animals, which one would you talk to first, and what questions would you ask them?
I'd love to be able to talk to cats! They are such fascinating creatures; I'm always wondering what they are thinking about! I'll ask them to share some wisdom on how to stay calm and balanced. I'm sure they have a lot to say on that topic!
2. What is your favorite song to perform?
Currently, it's my newest single, "Deep Water," I co-wrote with the super-talented Aaron Liebman. The melodic line and the lyrics are so simple, yet they go straight to your heart. And when the drop comes, I have goosebumps every single time I listen or perform it.
3. If you weren't an artist, what would you do?
Ahh that's tough! I'd probably be an entrepreneur and would create a product that would help people. Actually, I already created one!
It's called "Zhiiva", and it's my fully natural skincare serum from Siberia. It is made from unique ingredients using Siberian cedar trees. The recipe has been known in my region for generations, and now I'm sharing it with the whole world.
4. Any advice you would like to give the readers?
Be kind. This is the most important quality that can make the world a better place.
Stay for a while
Keep up with Polyna's social media if you don't want to miss an update or future project in the works!