The music, the message, the email, everything was perfect.
“hey, Sure, why not? All the best,
Michelle Gurevich, known by her stage name Chinawoman, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Her music is influenced by her Russian heritage, and has been described as slowcore rock and “lo-fi pop”. Maneuvering between grandiose retro motifs and a surprising sincerity, Chinawoman’s songs are tragicomic, melody-driven, sentimental and suspended in shadowy glamour. In her music lies a collective remembrance and a repurposing of influences, which in turn – expels only itself. Her story began when her bedroom-produced debut album Party Girl (2007), by some fateful unknown hand was delivered to the land of her forefathers, and soon made its way blaring from the yachts of Russian billionaires and as the ringtones of mothers all over the Ukraine. Her move from Toronto to Berlin marked a major turning point, most notably as a live act, from playing smaller shows in Toronto to regularly selling out concerts of 400-1000 guests in cities like Istanbul, Bucharest, Tbilisi, Belgrade, Athens, Vilnius and Moscow.
The daughter of a Kirov ballerina and an engineer from Leningrad, Chinawoman grew up listening to her parents’ collection of Soviet and 70’s European records. Her music has drawn comparisons to Nico and Leonard Cohen, Soviet era singing stars such as early Alla Pugacheva, with a voice akin to Tanita Tikaram. While her concerts include more live aspects and a line-up of musicians, she continues to record and release in the same bedroom manner as her first two albums – maintaining an intimacy and singleness of expression: from her bedroom to yours. A genre based partly on elements of melody and style, but moreso, a signature fatalist-celebratory approach to songwriting.
Resistance to the charming magic of Chinawoman is in vain… she doesn’t resemble
anyone living and is so remote from the world that one desires to believe recklessly:
she exists. – Felix Sandalov, writer for Billboard Magazine
Her music evokes images of Soviet Ballrooms of the 80s and Douglas Sirk melodramas…
But for all the grandiosity, you wouldn’t expect that both her albums were produced
and recorded in her bedroom. – Stil in Berlin
Mysterious, twisted and lush.
– Kevin Hegge, Now Magazine
From the first note unceremoniously grabs the soul—that same melancholy that
always finds resonance in the Russian heart—and never lets go.
– Andrei Buharin (4 stars) Rolling Stone