Sunday, May 18, 2008

A voice on the radio

In a strange way, everything started when I was lying in bed one night with a mild brain concussion and listening to one of the Russian commercial radio stations - something I had never really done before. Madonna's "Frozen" had just premiered on a show called "Live from the West" hosted by Yegor Shishkovsky from the UK. I was fascinated by the show, the unusual format (not many stations back home were so up to date about foreign music and news live from the West in the late 90's) and its charming host who spoke the classiest Russian I had heard in years!

And so the 14-year-old girl with her earphones plugged into her ears in the middle of the night waiting for Shishkovsky's weekly program became a fan. I think I even emailed him one day, but of course, he never replied! Too many fans, too little time, I thought.

However, one day I heard that he was coming to his native Moscow and hosting a quick meet & greet for his fans at one of the primary expo centers near to my home in the city. Having the coolest father in the world, the moment I asked him if we could go, he didn't hesitate for a second. Why was I bothering? I have no idea! I'd never been a "fanatic" of any kind, I could care less about autographs and signed pictures no matter how much I love someone for their work. Even my mother raised an eyebrow when she saw us standing in the doorway at 9.30am on our way to meet the radio DJ. "You're both crazy," she mumbled and gave us a quick wave.

The amount of fans at the venue was quite overwhelming, I barely got to the front of the line, but was disappointed when all I got in return was a generic "hi, what's your name? Tina. OK, he's my photo with an autograph! Thanks for coming. Bye." Abrupt or what, I thought... I wasn't giving up so easily - no, not me!

So I approached Yegor once again and gave him a demo mini disc with two song: "Quand On N'A Que l"Amour" and "My Heart Will Go On" (oh come on, it was a HUGE hit at the time and I was only 14!!!) - he smirked and probably considered throwing it into the bin the moment I turned away, but as a result he hesitated...thankfully!

The next morning, I got a quick email from an unknown sender: "Tina, I heard your disc, call me asap. Yegor"

(I forgot to include my phone number!)

I will never forget that feeling of utter excitement, pride and anxiousness I experienced while I dialed the number... It was one of those moments when you know it's the start of something new, something you've been waiting for as long as you can remember yourself!

The rest is history... Yegor became my first manager, a dear friend and someone I still love to bits and have a great deal of respect for. He not only helped me to launch my career from the very early days but also inspired my journalistic endeavors in press and radio. A childish infatuation became a lifelong friendship and the beginning of my musical journey. I got an email from Yegor this afternoon, in fact, and he wrote "I am so proud of you"... I knew he meant it from the heart.

One of the most important encounters in my life? Definitely! In fact, thanks to my 2-week long concussion that left me stranded in bed next to my dad's FM radio, I was not only exposed to a great program and its host who became a very key figure in the very beginning of my career, but also got totally hooked on the medium itself - my current part-time radio job!

I have no idea how we got from the first paragraph of this piece to this very last one, but this is certainly one of those stories that I keep getting back to time and time again whenever I try to determine the starting point of a journey that has now become my life - not just a musical adventure but a path I have chosen to walk through thick and thin. The final destination will be truly blissful, I am sure, but the process - the journey itself is such a great adventure in itself, you can't replace that - no way!

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