Polish diva Tatiana is going global and she’s serving a classy concoction of soul/pop.
There comes a point in every pop superstar’s career where domestic ubiquity just isn’t enough anymore and so plans are made for world domination.
Tatiana Okupnik first broke through in 1998 as the frontwoman of a Polish soul pop band called Blue Cafe and after notching up a few hit albums with the gang, she left to go solo. Her 2007 debut On My Own was a success in her home country but fast forward to present time, and here comes the diva, ready to attack the UK market with her first international single ‘Spider Web’ and album of the same name.
The single ‘Spider Web’ – produced by Denis Ingoldsby (the man behind your faves like Louise and Eternal) and Andy Murray (hit maker for Gary Barlow and Craig David) – is already grabbing the gay scene by the disco balls. The 7th Heaven remix has been playlisted on JOY 94.9 (Australia’s gay and lesbian radio station) and it’s even earned spins on Gaydar Radio.
Tatiana chats with me on her first ever Australian radio interview – on JOY 94.9‘s Diff’rent Strokes with Jade and Dave – about her James Bond-esque new album, her love for playing live shows, and why she wanted to cross over to the UK market.
Queens, it’s easy to see why this fabulous and bubbly singer is quickly becoming the talk of London town.
Download the show podcast or read on for the full interview here:
Dave: You’ve got your first international single ‘Spider Web’ coming out on 18 April, tell us a bit about that!
Tatiana: It’s a bit crazy, what’s going on at the moment. Right now [that] we’re coming to the release of the single and the album – and I can feel the buzz! It’s really amazing that people in Australia found out about Tatiana! [Releasing music worldwide] is something I’ve dreamt about achieving for many, many years and I always love to perform, to get on stage, and have fun with the audience. But this is not only about the live performance – this is about having my songs on the radio, which is amazing, and I think it happened because I was working with the right people.
Dave: Now your first language is Polish but I’m also told that you’re fluent in English, French and Spanish!
Tatiana: Si claro! Oui, bien sur! You know it’s a funny story. Of course, I’m trying to do my best in English. You’ll always hear the accent because I wasn’t born in the UK, Australia or the United States but since I was a little child, I think I’ve been trying to imitate the big [Anglophone] vocalists like Janis Joplin, Robert Plant or Chaka Khan. Because I loved the music so much, it helped [if I] got in touch with the language and tried to learn the best way I could.
With French, the story is really simple. I’ve been studying French at a university in my city. When it comes to Spanish, it’s not the best [yet] but I’m getting there and I’m sure one day I’ll be able to sing a few songs in Spanish, which I already did but to be honest with you, they were pretty simple. They were dance tracks and there was no deep meaning to the lyrics. It was just for fun!
But I’m dreaming of singing in front of Spanish, French, English, Hungarian audiences… I don’t care where you’re coming from [or] what the colour of your skin, I just wanna have fun with you!
Dave: You’ve worked with Tim Hutton (famed for working with Groove Armada) for your first international album – what does it sound like?
Tatiana: I won’t sound like a humble person… but it sounds like a James Bond soundtrack! That was the main response I got when people hear the album. People said it reminded them of tracks that Tina Turner, Gladys Knight and Shirley Bassey recorded. I think it has a lot to do with the meaty and juicy sound of the brass section and string arrangements. [I told Tim] that for this record, I’d love for us to go deeper with the sound of music.
Dave: You’re so established in your home country Poland, what made you decide that this is the point in your career to break the UK and go international?
Tatiana: I’ve been watching the [Anglophone] music stage for many years. When I watched the BET Awards or the Grammy’s, in some cases I actually thought, ‘you know what? I can do better!’ (laughs)
Dave: Oooh… yes, gurl!
Tatiana: (laughs) You know, I just want to be honest with you. I know what I can and what I cannot do. And what I’m really good at is having fun with the audience and singing out loud. Nowadays, people are forgetting that it’s not about the reality shows, what you’re wearing or how good you’re cooking the soup in your kitchen! Maybe I sound a bit serious, but when I look at the stars like Janis Joplin or Donny Hathaway, they didn’t talk about if they wore Louboutins or Gucci!
Dave: Now back to you taking your music to the UK, how are you handling the pressure to prove yourself to a new audience?
Tatiana: Right now, I feel like I’m somewhere on the edge. I’ve spent a lot of time working on this project. You don’t get as excited as you would when you’re 18. Right now I just want the project done well and it’s up to the audience to decide if they’re gonna like me or not. I cannot do anything more. I just got to be myself and perform on stage. I think it’s really nice [to have this] at this point of my career because in Poland, people know me as someone famous but for the audience outside [the country], they actually know nothing about me. It’s really nice to have butterflies in your stomache when you get on stage and people don’t put any stickers on your music or you as an artist.
Dave: You did your first UK live show at Wardrobe in Leeds – what was that like?
Tatiana: Oh gosh! We had a few encores! I think that’s the best award for an artist who’s coming from a different country. Even the band was surprised. When we came off the stage, they said to me, “that was really amazing! We didn’t know the audience would react they way they did.”
Dave: I can tell that the live performances are what you live for but for the UK launch, you’re servicing ‘Spider Web’ to radios and there’s an expectation now for you to pull audiences there with singles. What’s your plan of attack?
Tatiana: ‘Spider Web’ is released first and then we’re gonna go straight ahead with the album. That’s the plan for now! [For the next single], I’m dreaming of ‘Been A Fool’ but first, we need to get some feedback because there are so many nice songs on the album. I can think of four [that could be] the next single. ‘Been A Fool’ is one of the most beautiful tracks on the album and it was the first song we recorded with Tim Hutton. It’s really emotional for me. It is a different to ‘Spider Web’ and it’s something you can compare to a James Bond soundtrack.
Tatiana‘s debut international single ‘Spider Web’ is out on iTunes 18 April and the album of the same name follows on 1 May.
You can listen to a snippet of two sensational album tracks – ‘Been A Fool’ and ‘Supersize Love’ – on her official website now.