Valery Meladze

Valery Meladze

4 articles
Short biography

I want to tell you, dear readers, that Valery Meladze is my favorite performer in the CIS pop scene. And not only because we are from the same land! I think there is no need to describe his singing qualities - the power and timbre of his voice are universally recognized. For a long time he had a Soviet passport (in which he was recorded as Valerian) in Georgian, with a stamp "Ukraine" and Moscow registration.

With his wife Irina they raise 3 daughters. Over the years of marriage, all sorts of things have happened in the Meladze family. Here is what Valeriy said about it: "During all this time, Ira and I had two serious discords. The first time such thoughts arose when we first moved to Moscow. There was no money, no friends, but there were debts, insecurity, gravity and fear. I was performing at clubs, saving money on cabs, and doubting, doubting... My wife did not like that I paid her little attention, she was lonely in a foreign city, and I could not understand what exactly she wanted from me. The second crisis in the relationship was about seven years ago. Business, on the contrary, was booming, I was making good money, but... It turned out that I was not at home again. At that point I had turned into a workaholic in the worst sense of the word. Now we have the relationship I dreamed of. On the one hand, we - a strong family, and on the other - do not grasp each other like shipwrecked. About his mother-in-law Valery speaks only positively: "When we were very poor with money (I was still in graduate school), Irina parents great support to our young family. My mother-in-law did not let us die of hunger, providing us with pickles, potatoes.

Many people think the girls of the group "VIA Gra" (all of them!) are Meladze's mistresses. When asked if he meets them on a schedule or all at once the singer said: "It would be cool if after talking about his happy family life I suddenly announced:" But in fact, hell, I have lovers, I'm through the roof!" I do not want to upset you and all who think so, although my words would not dissuade anyone, but I have a stable personal life and I really love my wife. Besides, the girls from 'VIA Gry' are decent women, and they all have boyfriends of their own. Excerpt from an interview with Valery Meladze.

- Valera, tell us about your childhood and your family.

- My parents, Nelli Akakievna and Shota Konstantinovich, are very special people. My brother Kostya and I were brought up strictly. But, in spite of this, we were restless children, me especially. Kostya was quieter, but his opinion almost always differed from his parents'. My grandfather was the biggest authority for me. He was so genuinely surprised by my actions that even I began to understand that it was wrong to behave that way. It's generally accepted that grandparents, especially in the Caucasus, spoil their grandchildren. But not in our family: my grandmother was very strict. Now my parents live sometimes in Batumi, sometimes in Tbilisi. They come to visit me in Moscow or Kostya in Kyiv. My wife Irina and I were married when we were still at university. Although I am rarely at home, I am sure that I am a good father and husband. In this sense, there can be no discounts on my profession: in any situation, I have to be a man. All my relatives are doing well. And this is the most important thing for me. Actually, my parents have three of us - there is also my sister Liana. She is three years younger than me, and Kostya is two years older. I graduated from the music school and Kostya and I majored in piano, and Kostya in violin and piano. We studied poorly, but we liked to play four hands at home. But we started to study music seriously, somehow unwittingly. A buddy of mine invited Kostya to a rehearsal of a new ensemble - they lacked a keyboard player.

- How did you come to Mykolaiv?

- Kostya first studied medicine, but ended up at the Mykolaiv shipbuilding university. I followed in his footsteps. Our professions, however, were different: he was a marine equipment engineer and I was a marine power plant engineer. I've liked mechanics since childhood, I was involved in aircraft modeling. Then I got interested in radio construction, which was very fashionable at the time. At the age of 12, the receiver I built caught the local radio station with a huge antenna! That's why even now I solve small problems with the TV set, water tap, or coffee machine myself.

- Well, how did two engineers become musicians?

- Nikolaev is a musical city, where Ludmila Sencina, Igor Krutoy, Alexander Serov, Nikolai Trubach, and the "Dialogue" and "Dream" groups are from. One day Kostya was invited to a new vocal-instrumental ensemble, and a few months later I got there as a sound engineer. That was the time of Queen, Manfred Mann, Uri Heap, Pink Floyd. Later on I began to sing in the second voice. We sang mostly songs by Vladimir Kuzmin. Well, when Kostya started writing songs, I sang them, of course. We earned a keyboard in the construction camp, and then the head of Dialogue Kim Breitburg heard us. With his help our first album "Autumn Shout of the Hawk" was released in Germany and it was a disaster.

- And that's why you decided to take part in the Steps to Parnassus contest?

- And so you flew through those steps with your face! I was so disappointed by this failure - I was so sure of myself! But, most likely, I was no artist at that time.

- Was the thought - "I'll prove it to you!"? Are you a vindictive person?

- If someone has done something bad to me, then I must definitely take revenge. I feel that something is bothering me in my life, and I start to make a plan to get revenge. But, on the other hand, many people think I am too emotional, open and trusting. And in this I am also incorrigible. For me, for example, it always helps to think that everything will be okay.

- And after that you began to dig even harder into the granite of science?

- Then I went to graduate school, burning desire to do science and teach. I would have been a good teacher: I would not give bad marks, but I would not pander to rude people. I defended my master's thesis on "Intensification of exchange processes of ionic filters with a pseudo-liquefied layer of cathonite", or, more simply, on the cleaning of ship mechanisms from salts. Kostya, meanwhile, was working for a pittance: writing songs, making arrangements. Then we borrowed a large sum from friends ($25,000) and began working with producer Evgeny Fridlyand. We needed the money for a music video: how could we declare ourselves without it? Though we had a complete concert program ready by that time, it was still a great risk for us: we had no absolute confidence that we would be able to get the money back... We played in the provinces, recorded songs, earned some money. But we absolutely understood - we don't want to live like that tomorrow. We had all the well known songs recorded - "The Night Before Christmas", "Don't Trouble My Soul, Violin". By the way, "Violin" was the winner in the "12-2" hit parade held by the Promin radio station. That was the only contest that brought us a victory.

- Together with Friedland, you achieved a lot of success. So why did you part ways?

- We are grateful to Evgeny for being the only one who believed in us at the time. It wasn't until nine years after we started making music that we started making money. That wasn't the main thing for us in the beginning. People said about my appearance that it was atypical for our stage - they wrote that I looked like a clerk or an engineer. The producer suggested that I shouldn't sing Kostya's songs (supposedly they weren't bright enough) and advised me to change my last name. But I'd rather give it up than break myself like that. Under the terms of our contract, we did not interfere in the promotion process, and Evgeny was removed directly from our work. But that was not enough for Fridlyand, he wanted to make his subjects into slaves, he liked all means to achieve popularity and, first of all, scandals. But our mentality does not accept this approach. So we offered to terminate our contract and paid a hefty fine. We had to work hard for that. We have changed and our fighting spirit has improved. We meet difficulties with gusto. We proved what we could do without a producer.

- Do you get any offers to perform other bands' songs?

- There were especially many such offers in the beginning. And I always turned them down. I don't want to sing other writers' songs as a matter of principle, because I'm sure that no one will write better for me than Kostya. He can drastically change his style. And with all that he remains Konstantin Meladze, and I remain Valery Meladze.

- How do you feel about your female fans?

- I'm against fanaticism. I've never worshipped anybody. I know at least a few girls from Moscow who come to all my gigs. They're quite noisy at concerts, but my director can't handle them. At the same time, it's such admirers that give you a sense of being an Artist. And when I hear that there's a fan club somewhere, I treat it with a slight irony: it's all temporary, age-related. A sense of proportion and tact should always be inherent in a person. And don't let the girls who treat me with such reverence offend me. It's much more important for me how people who have already learned something in life treat me, and that they find an outlet for themselves in our songs. If people like it, it's a huge compliment for me.

- What do you think is the secret to being popular?

- A lot of people think you become popular for the money. But that's not true: showing up 150 times a day on television or being reminded of yourself in other ways (scandals, striptease) is the way to become a famous, super-famous person. Popularity, on the other hand, is something else. There was a Russian award like that - "Zvezda," but it was a one-time thing, because it was honest and didn't survive (Ovatsiya, on the other hand, is still going strong). The organizers themselves were amazed that I got 2 "Stars." And what was even more gratifying than the awards themselves were the words of a major figure in show business, "We've done everything we can to make sure you don't get any Stars, but I have to congratulate you." That was great!

- How capricious is "Meladze's star"?

- The main thing is to make me feel comfortable. Despite the fact that I gather big halls and sell a lot of CDs, my lifestyle has not changed since the Nikolaev period. I don't have the security that most stars aspire to, I walk freely around town. On tour, I need a warm hotel so I don't catch a cold, otherwise I might snap at the concert. I need hot water. By the way, once a famous scene from "Twelve Chairs" happened to me almost exactly the same way: I ran out of hot water when I was taking a shower, and they brought me boiling water from a restaurant. It is desirable to have a normal TV (sometimes you want to watch it after the concert) and a good bed... As for the car. I like the Rolls-Royce, but do I need it? It can be followed by a whole chain of relevant conventions. If it's a car as good as a Volga, that's fine. Although once in Samara they took me to a concert in an "Oka", I tried to close myself off so as not to be noticed. Can you imagine: the whole city was covered with my posters, there was a lot of promotion, and suddenly a "Repin's picture"!

- Valera, we both know that our guys from the Caucasus (especially those who grew up on the Black Sea coast) are very self-confident in the company of beautiful girls. And you say that you get lost in the company of pretty women. How do you explain that?

- The fact is that I lived in Batumi until I was 18, and I started having real contact with the female sex after I came of age. Of course, there were many tourist centers in Batumi, and even more holidaymakers. And it wasn't too hard for the natives to flirt or even have an affair. But I had no such experience, because until I was 18 my parents didn't allow me such communication, and I always obeyed them. I was a guy in love, but, thank God, I always met very decent girls. Maybe it was thanks to them that I became like that. Falling in love and lust are powerful creative stimuli.

Even with a priest I argued about this: on the one hand, wanting more than you have is a sin; on the other hand, it's a huge incentive that keeps you going. I'm always inspired by something, I can't live otherwise. Caucasians are contrasting people. Men have 2 extremes: some behave very slutty with the ladies (and they don't succeed), others (who are well brought up) have a reverent attitude to women, behave modestly. And the latter achieve much more success...

(from an interview with Gurgen Grigoryan)

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