Wearing a tall turban, singer Jamala burst on to the Ukrainian music scene only a year ago with a look and sound from another planet. Her future, however, can easily be imagined outside Ukraine. And her first album recorded in English shows why.
A Ukrainian jazz singer, Susana Jamaladinova, a.k.a. Jamala, has only one song in Russian, but it helped her star rise. Recorded in jazz-pop style, it was balancing on a thin line, appearing in the pop-music festival New Wave in 2009. Grotesque, flamboyant and decidedly strong, Jamala was voted the best. The next item on her wish list is representing Ukraine in the next Eurovision song contest. But for that she has to win the selection rounds in Kyiv.
Jet-setting between London, Amsterdam, Istanbul and Moscow to sing at countless concerts, Jamala, 27, briefly touched down in Kyiv recently and met with the Kyiv Post in her studio. She wore a bright-yellow long dress, high heels and a big smile. Thoughtful and reserved, she left a totally different personal impression than her wild and eccentric stage presence.