Fluent in four languages, classically trained as a singer and ballet dancer, visual artist, performance artist, and self-taught painter, Alya recently dropped a new single, “Puppet Strings.”
With two versions of her debut album (one in English, the other primarily in Japanese) just around the corner, Alya’s sound has been likened to Bjork-meets-Massive Attack, a sound blending pop, Japanese folk, trip-hop, electronica, surf rock, jazz, and classical music. It’s a multifarious sound, misty and polished, elusively familiar yet simultaneously sui generis.
Born and raised in Russia, Alya knew she wanted to be a singer early on. Excelling in music school and a school for the gifted, she was preparing for college, where she hoped to study music. Her parents insisted she be more realistic in her choice of profession. She enrolled in journalism at Moscow State University.
Proving to be a brilliant journalist, Alya was a special correspondent for the state news agency, RIA Novosti, and later the national anchor at VESTI, followed by the position of spokesperson for the vice chairman of the state legislative body in the ruling assembly of Russia. In her spare time, she created her first musical project, Japanica, a fusion of pop and traditional Japanese melodies. Preferring to work collaboratively, she put together a team of talented individuals.
In spite of her apparent success, Alya felt empty. In 2012, she attained personal resolution, choosing to pursue music fulltime. Two years later, she was married, living in Los Angeles, and working with producer David J. Holman.
“Puppet Strings” opens with baroque classical strings flowing into an indie-pop vibe. Brightly streaming colors flow overhead, as burbling synths hold down the middle, and a syncopated rhythm cements the foundation. The music builds, assuming multiple sonic layers shimmering with surging energy. It’s cliché to say so, but it’s a potently beautiful song, ethereal and brawny at the same time.
Alya’s voice is mesmerizing, reminding me of the best qualities of both Cyndi Lauper and Dolores O’Riordan – penetrating yet graciously melodic. It’s a magnificent voice, lush with pristine timbres.
Alya most definitely got next up. “Puppet Strings” is infectiously splendid.