Jamala is a Ukrainian singer, composer and actor. She performs music that includes elements of such styles as soul, jazz, funk, folk and electronic. The singer became popular after her participation at The New Wave in 2009. In 2011, she performed her cheerful song Smile in the Ukrainian selection but didn’t win the final. In this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Jamala will perform her own composition, 1944.
Jamala made her first professional record at the age of nine, it was the album of songs for children. She has graduated from the National Music Academy named after Tchaikovsky in Kyiv, majoring in opera singing. Jamala was going to make a career in classical music but in summer 2009 Jamala went to The New Wave, the International Contest of Young Singers in Jūrmala (Latvia) where she won the grand prize.
This year, Jamala won YUNA awards such as "Best Album", "Best Duo", "Best Artist" and "Best Song". Besides this she got ELLE Style Award ("Singer of the year"), Ukrainian National Award "Person of the Year" (nomination "Idol of Ukrainians").
Jamala has released four albums. The latest record Podykh (Breath) was released in 2015. The singer released 12 official music videos. She played the main female part in the historical drama Guide, which got the best box-office among Ukrainian movies in 2014. Jamala also had a cameo in fantasy movie Polina by Belgian director Olias Barco.
Things you should know about Jamala
What are the most interesting aspects about your entry?
1944 is dedicated to my great grandmother. In this song I use complicated vocal technics, for instance, mugham. I also use a duduk which is a beautiful instrument.
What are the three most impressive facts about you?
I can sing in any musical style. I’ve graduated from the Musical Academy as an opera singer, I was headliner of many international jazz festivals, and I sing a lot of folk songs of various nations.
This year I won all main nominees in the Ukrainian National Music Award (YUNA): "Best Album", "Best Artist", "Best Song" (with Andrey Khlyvnyuk and Dmitriy Shurov) and"Best Duo" (with Andrey Khlyvnyuk and Dmitriy Shurov).
I made my first professional record at the age of nine. I recorded an album of songs for children. The session took only one hour and I made only one take for each song.
Do you have a (lucky) routine before you go on stage?
No, I pray only.
Why is the Eurovision Song Contest important for you?
It’s a great opportunity to be heard and to show the high level of Ukrainian music. The Eurovision Song Contest gives you a chance to perform in front of a huge audience. I have a very important song for me that I’d like to present to the world. 1944 concerns all people that had their own horrible tragedies in the past. We should always remember and never forget them to avoid the same things in the future. I want to deliver this message to as many people as possible.