Yulianna's the Women Who Does Opera and Pop and Makes It Work

Performing artist Yulianna has an EP by the name of "Popra" underway with shows in the works and so much more coming there's no telling on when or if she will ever stop. Yulianna herself discusses the EP, shows, and other plans coming soon.

1. What type of artist are you?

Yulianna: I am a composer performer.  I try to think of myself as an innovator.  I like to experiment with my sound and try to stay up to date with new sounds and technological developments.

2. Tell us the brief history of you being an artist.

Yulianna: I started writing poems in high school.  At the age of 15 my work was published in my school's magazines and I was also winning some music competitions as a violinist and a singer. By the time I went to college I racked up awards as a musician and wanted to pursue my career as an Opera Singer.  When I attended CalArts the knowledge that I got there from attending Jazz composition as well as world music, it made me realize that I had developed a bigger potential for composition.  From there on, somehow I just have been lucky working with amazing musicians.  I have worked with Grammy award winner songwriter/ producer Walter Afanasieff who is one of my idols, Waleed Moursi an Academy winning director.  As well as producers like Nicholas Ras Furlong, Spencer Nezey, and Metaphase.

3. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Yulianna: Most of my influences come from classical music however I admire people like M. J. Whitney Huston, Tina Turner, Roxet, Celine Dion, Beyonce, Pink, Black Eye Peas, Linkln Park, Metalica , Bjork, and bunch of classics.   I also love writers such as; Shakespeare, Frank Herbert, Sidney Sheldon.  I am also very much inspired by paintings by Da Vinci, Kandinski, Freda, Dega, Monet, Manet.  I am a fan of the Romantic and Renaissance era as well as the minimalism and fiction.  

4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Yulianna: Some of the major themes are love, friendship, having a good time, standing up for ones self and for the good, loneliness, party, stepping into the light, heartbreak, bravery, fear.  It's something that we all have to deal with eventually.

5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Yulianna: I write by myself and I also love to collaborate.  Recently I have developed my own multi media genre called "Popra" not to be confused with the musical term "popera".  Popra is a genre that is mixed with classic music, rock, hip hop, pop, dubstep, electronic and dance music.  It is fused with theatrical dramatics and film like scoring. First I had to figure out which way am I going;  Should I continue with dance or a pop sound or should I evolve into who I really am as an artist.   I figured that I should write in my own genre and thought about what was popular today.  I love all genres so I decided to put them all into one.  I chose elements from each and combined them as a whole.   I came up with a diagram that allowed me to explain my idea to my co producers.  The next thing I had to think about was lyrics, but I didn't want this album to be the same as I had previously done.  I sat down and thought my album has to tell a story.    This next album is called "Popra"~Soldier... It a story that is built out of 18 vignettes that are sung in songs.  The songs tell the story of a Russian Popra singer falling in love with an American soldier.

6. Can you tell me about the song  "You Love Me"?

Yulianna: "You love me" is the 4th track of the album "Popra~Soldier".  As I have mentioned each song is connected to each other and is part of this story. This particular song takes place on the first night that the soldier and the singer meet.  And since its part of this feature as well thinking more along the lines of theatrical movie music it has a suspense feeling, playful seductive mixed with world pop euro dance fusion with hip hop.

7. Why did you want to bring the mix of pop and opera?

Yulianna: I think that I have done more then simply bringing pop and opera together.  There are a lot of elements in my new sound that come from a lot of popular genres. I wanted to have an evolved sound from all of my favorite genres.  No one said I couldn't, so I figured why not ;)   I wanted to make a popular indie type of sound and take on a new direction.  But I also wanted to include other fields in it like theater because it has its dramatics but not a long the lines of music like in classics.  I decided that I will use more different forms not just ABA in my structure and get way from grid type of production.  I used all that I could possibly think of.  That's where I came up with an idea that with the tools and technologies available today, I could make a feature film.  So this album has 2 parts to it since its a 2 act story.  I figured as a composer my imagination is so vivid that I should use it to my benefit and start directing.  I have already worked with a few super amazing directors and have learned a lot with my hands on experience.

8. Who produced "Popra" and what was it like working with them?

Yulianna: I am the executive producer and the brain behind this album.  But I would have not pulled it of without my co producers and writers Nicholas Ras Furlong, Spencer Nezey, Bill Scott, Metaphase and a Grammy winning Ruslan Sirotta.  To make brilliant music you have to have a team of brilliant musicians.  17 songs on this album out of 19 were written by me.  Many of these songs were rearranged by my producers.    I am more of a classical, pop, world music and jazz musician. RAS has pop, dubstep, dance and an electronic background, Spencer has an electronic, hip hop, and jazz back ground. Bill Scott has a hard core rocker sound, And Metaphase is brilliant with dubstep ,drum and base sounds.  Ruslan Sirotta who is one of the most amazing piano players a Grammy winning musician.  I loved working with him because he understood me well in both Russian and English.  I would tell him the story of the song that he is introducing with the piano and he had to come up with the little preludes that you will hear before 11 songs on this album.   I worked with Spencer Nezey and Nicholas Ras Furlong on my last album "Californ-i-a".  I knew that I had to pitch my idea correctly to these guys because they are super busy and professional.   I had story boards, and everyday started with inspirational quotes.  Sometimes I would bring in movies and operas as well as TV shows to let them hear what kind of sound I wanted for a particular song.

9. Is there any story or concept behind the "Popra" title?

Yulianna: Popra Soldier is based on an original story written by me.  It's a fusion of many different genres of music including theater multi media drama film. That's what I felt I was missing in the music scene today.  There aren't very many albums out there today that tell one big story as Pink Floyd did back in the day or Radio Head.   Popra is my developed genre...  It is like a musical or opera or a story.

10. Who did the cover art for "Popra" and how much input did you have on it?

Yulianna: I am the visionary behind all of the concepts.  I work with people who can take directions and are able to develop my vision into reality.  The cover had to be simple yet a bit theatrics modern yet classic because it was representing Popra.

11. While you have this EP underway, do you have any new music in the works in terms of a follow-up?

Yulianna: I finished all the music within a couple of months.  Once I had a set structure I realized that I had a lot of material already in the works that could compliment and be part of my new album.   This is a 2 part peace so this EP is only the introduction to the first part of my new album.  Which means that there will be a lot of new material that will follow this first release.  I am also starting to work with a Russian Rock group by the name of Ivanov.  Something I started this past November.  I already wrote a few songs with the lead singer Sasha Ivanov and am hoping to continue the collaboration in the near future.

12. What are your upcoming plans for shows and touring?

Yulianna: Right now I am planing on shooting this feature and while I am preparing for the shoot I am going to perform a couple  local shows in LA.  "You love me" has already been getting airplay in Thailand on 89.5 FM Phuket.   I have been invited to Bangkok for a few shows and interviews.  But as of now I am very focused on getting my project off the ground here in LA.

13. What inspires you to do what you do?

Yulianna: Just the fact that I love what I do gets me out of bed everyday.  My friends, family, co producers and fans have a big part of inspiring me to be an artist.

14. What advice would you give to fellow artists/bands?

Yulianna: The only advise I have is keep writing keep creating.  Try to meet new people you never know what will inspire you.  Take risks, know what you are getting yourself into, and stay true to yourself.

15. How does music affect you and the world around you?

Yulianna: Music is a big part of who I am... it's a way of self expression.   Music helps me in the development of my imagination, creativity and has been great medicine for my heart aches.  music is one thing that has never lets me down.  It also opened many doors for me.  I have met some of the most extraordinary people in the World; artists, musicians, actors, celebrities, film directors and legends.  I feel pretty lucky to be a musician and for all that's been given to me throughout my life.

16. What are your dreams and goals?

Yulianna: My dreams are always changing.  I have accomplished a lot of my goals and I'm looking to continue going further and further and grow as an artist. I search for personal enlightenment.  My spiritual connection with my art helps me be very creative and innovative in my sound.  

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