On Monday night, I got to meet up with Sergey before his soundcheck for his repeat performance at superclub Heaven in London. This is the second time I’ve got to chat to the Russian sensation and we had a great time. I really wanted to get to the bottom of what’s happening with his UK album and Sergey gave us some inside info and also gave us some exciting news on a Special Edition Remix album he’s putting together. He also filled me in on the latest naughty happenings of his friends t.A.T.u!
Sergey is on the hot promotional trail in the UK now and you can hear the Electro Radio Mix of "Girlfriend" below which is a real stomper!
Girlfriend [Electro Radio Mix]
EQ: Welcome back to London Sergey – Has the rainy weather got you down today?
Sergey: No, no, no – actually I’ve had a very good trip so far!
How was Birmingham Pride yesterday? Which songs did you do?
It was very good – we expected a very big audience who enjoyed the show, enjoyed my performance. I did three songs, “Shattered Dreams”, “Girlfriend” my new single and “Flyer”.
I saw you were watching the Eurovision Song contest from here this year and providing some commentary on your website blog/diary. We’re you proud that Russia took the award this year?
Yeah of course! It’s very good that Russia finally won this competition. Actually next year it will be in Moscow or St. Petersburg – definitely in Russia. I’m really happy about it actually. Everything has happened in the last week, some good events and good things for Russia. We won the Ice Hockey World Championships, the Champions League that happened in Moscow, and finally the Eurovision Song Contest!
Do you think you’ll submit an entry for next year again?
Next year? No I don’t think so. We did it once but I don’t know if we will do it again soon. It’s not necessary for me to do it again. Dima has already did it. I have plans now for next year.
Is it difficult being a pop star based out of Russia trying to break into a new market in the UK? I imagine that’s a lot of flying back and forth for you. Or are you used to all this?
Yeah, it’s very hard but that’s why we come so often to the UK, because you have to be here to do something and now we have UK managers who work with Jay Sean and it will be a little bit easier. But it’s very hard because it’s a very different mentality, different audience, different music, everything’s different. It’s hard, but we’ll do it!
How are UK audiences different to Russian audiences? Is it more fun playing the smaller UK stages versus the bigger stages in Russia?
The difference between Russian audiences and UK audiences for me is that Russian people know me very well from when I was very little. In the UK market, I am a “new” person so that’s why the reaction is a little bit different here. In Russia, when you say “Sergey Lazarev” people already know me as a household name. Here in the UK – Nothing! So we are building this all from the bottom up.
Is it fun being the new artist again because in a sense, you get to start over?
Yeah it’s a very good feeling because you can change something, you can do something new and nobody will compare it with things you already did. It’s fun to be somebody new for a new audience.
So you are currently working on your UK album release. I heard you are hand-picking songs from your first two Russian albums for the UK release. Any news on what the final song selection holds? Will “Flyer” will be on the final cut?
We will record some new songs for the UK album. Some songs we already did are already old because we recorded the first album in 2005. The second album was released a year ago in May so maybe we will do new arrangements for this album and record a few new songs with the new managers and songwriters. I don’t know yet about “Flyer” because it will be released in Russia very soon. It will be included in a double remixes album that I am gonna release at the end of May. It’s a Special Edition with every remix I have. It will be 26 remixes plus singles, so I don’t know if “Flyer” will be on the UK album.
How about my personal favourite “Lost Without Your Love” – will that be on the UK album?
Ok great! But I don’t know!
Now, this is just my opinion, but I think “Music Under My Skin” could work quite well for the UK because it’s got that pop/r&b/electro flow going on that seems to work well here. Have you considered that song as a potential UK single?
Yes! Yes! This is more the sound that I am looking for, so that kind of style will be on my third album in Russia and first album here. We will choose the most groovy R&B tracks from the second album and do something new in this direction!
Are you a Missy Elliot fan?
A little bit – Yes!
Your new single “Girlfriend” is released soon. The song talks about how you are falling in love with someone else’s lady. Life experience or just a bit of fun role-playing through music?
No, I’ve been in that situation. I think everybody has had this life story – when you fall in love with somebody’s girlfriend. That’s happened to me once but this song was not written especially for me, but it suits very well for me.
There seems to be an insurgence of Russian-born pop artists trying to break through in the UK now with Valeriya and Doe Deere – have you heard of her? Is breaking through in the UK seen as very important for Russian artists who sing in English?
Yes it’s very important, but very hard. For me this is the main thing now because I already have success in my own country and I want to do something else. I wanna go somewhere else, the next level because it’s very easy for famous artists to stop doing things when they get to the limit. I don’t wanna stop, I wanna keep going, so for me this is the next level and I want to reach it!
So you’ve just finished work on the Russian version of High School Musical…
Yes, I’m doing the voice for Zac Efron and it aired a few days ago in Russia. The second film will be in a few weeks and we are expecting to do the third one which is still shooting. It will be released in November so I will continue to work with this Disney project/film. I hope it will be as successful in Russia as it has been everywhere.
Well let’s take a look at you in action on High School Musical then…
Do you like doing voice-over work?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Recording is great and the good thing is that I sang in Russian. Most of my songs are in English, even for Russia. There I was doing the job in Russian. I spoke in Russian and sang in Russian. I prefer performing in English though. It’s better for me and my voice. It’s easier for me because I am doing it from when I was very little. Even when I was in a children’s band I used to sing in English – even though I didn’t understand what I was singing about. <laughs>. Now thanks to my English teachers I can understand it.
What do you think of t.A.T.u’s new video for “White Robe” – It’s a bit controversial for them again!
Uh, I think the whole story of this group, the whole image is very scandalous. I expected something unusual from them. I just saw a couple weeks ago the new version of the video. Have you seen the unedited version?
No – not yet!
They have it on their website. And it’s even MORE hard and shocking. The girls are showing their whole naked body and nothing’s covered. It’s very good! <laughs>. It’s on their website! I really liked the video and I’m looking forward to listening to the album because they are going to release it very soon.
t.A.T.u. video for Beliy Plaschik" / "White Robe" – Warning, you shouldn’t watch it if your’re a 14 year old or younger Russian…
You’ve done some other acting work and have done the whole reality TV thing, do you like acting as much singing?
It’s a part of the job to be an actor and to open myself up and show different sides to my audience. I like it very much. Sometimes I’m tired of just music and I may do something else to just relax and to change the subject. That’s a good thing.
So if you weren’t in show business – what do you think you’d be doing otherwise?
Anything that has an audience, attention and art.
That’s it Sergey – thanks so much. I’ll let you get to your sound check now!
Thank you EQ for supporting me, I know that your readers support me a lot so thank you very much!
And thanks to Sergey and his wonderful manager Ilya who made this all happen. In the meantime, here’s some more links for you to "Get More Sergey"…
Also – make sure to check out Sergey on The Dicky & Dolly Show this Sunday, June 1st on Gaydar Radio, 9am to 1pm. Sky Digital 0158 or www.gaydarradio.com