Luba (singer)

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For other uses, see Luba (disambiguation).
Luba
Birth name Lubomyra Kowalchyk
Also known as Luba, Lubomyra
Born 25 April 1958
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Genres pop, rock, poprock, soul, R&B, Caribbean calypso, adult contemporary
Occupations musician, singer-songwriter
Years active 1978–1990, 2000–2001, 2007–present
Labels Capitol-EMI of Canada, Azure Music (Maple Music distribution), Universal Music
Associated acts Luba (band)
Website Official Site

Luba (born Lubomyra Kowalchyk (Ukrainian: Любомира Ковальчук), 1958, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter and recording artist from Ukrainian descent. She was commercially active from 1980 to 1990, 2000 to 2001 and is active again from 2007 to present.[1] She was initially the vocalist for a band named Luba before signing as a solo artist under that name. She has released five full-length albums and two EPs as a solo artist. (Two albums were released as a member of a band - 1973's Zorya, (Via Zorya) and 1980's "Chain Reaction" - with a band named "Luba".) Two of her albums are certified platinum by the Canadian music industry (sales in excess of 100,000 units). She has nine top-40 hits on the Canadian pop charts. Her signature song is "Everytime I See Your Picture" (1983). Her most successful song is a cover of Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" which reached #6 on the Canadian pop chart and #3 on the Canadian adult contemporary chart (1987). She is a three-time winner of the Canadian music industry Juno Award for Female Vocalist of the Year (1985–1987). Her success is limited to her native Canada as she has never charted in the US or elsewhere. In addition to her Juno Awards, Luba has also received CASBY and Félix Awards, and a Black Music Association Award for "Female Entertainer of the Year". Most recently, her music has been featured on Canadian Idol. She continues to record music under her own independent label.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Luba Kowalchyk was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1958 to Ukrainian immigrant parents. Growing up she studied piano, guitar, flute and voice. During her teens she traveled across Canada to perform traditional Ukrainian folk songs at weddings and festivals.

Early career[edit]

In the 70s, then known as Lubomyra Kowalchyk, Luba released her debut LP with a musical ensemble "Via Zorya".[2] The LP (Виа Зоря - "...Любомира") was released by the label Yeshvan featured traditional Ukrainian folk songs with new arrangements. Two years later, Luba released her first full-length solo LP, called "Lubomyra" via SAGE Promotions.[3] It featured again Ukrainian folk songs, but this time mixed with elements of jazz, blues and rock. Both Ukrainian LPs featured her future drummer Peter Marunzak. Luba released a single in French in 1979 called "Le Doux Rendez-vous" with the Label Bobinason. A year before the release of "Le Doux Rendez-vous, she formed a band under her first name Luba. Their debut album Chain Reaction was released on an independent label in 1980 and received only minimal interest outside of their native Montreal.

Breakthrough in Canada[edit]

Luba enjoyed her greatest success in Canada between 1983 and 1987. Capitol-EMI of Canada signed Luba Kowalchyk as a solo artist under the one name moniker Luba in 1982. A self-titled EP followed in late 1982 and the top 40 hit "Everytime I See Your Picture" in early 1983. In 1984 Luba released her first full-length album called Secrets and Sins. It issued the singles "Let It Go" and "Storm Before The Calm" both reaching the Canadian top-40 charts. Luba earned her first Canadian music industry Juno Award for Female Vocalist of the Year in 1985. Later the same year, she recorded several songs written by Stephen Lunt, Jon Stroll and Kevin Gillis for the first season of the Canadian cartoon series The Raccoons. Several of these songs were later re-recorded by Lisa Lougheed for use in later seasons. Two of Luba’s songs are featured on the 1986 movie soundtrack 912 Weeks starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke. Let It Go from her Secrets and Sins album and one not previously released by Luba, The Best is Yet to Come. In 1986, Luba released Between the Earth & Sky, which included the single "How Many (Rivers To Cross)". This top 20 Canadian hit had represented Canada at the 1985 World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo, Japan and made the finals. Also in 1986, Luba won her second straight Juno as Canada's best female vocalist. Shortly after the album release, Luba's band was involved in a serious bus accident, although Luba herself was not on board the bus at the time. Luba and her band took some time off, returning in 1987 with Over 60 Minutes With Luba, a compilation of her hits with one new track, a live recording of "When A Man Loves A Woman". This track would become her biggest Canadian hit, peaking at #6 on the RPM top 100. She would cap the year with her third straight "Best Female Vocalist" Juno.

All or Nothing; breaking into the US[edit]

By 1988 Luba still had not broken into the US market despite all her success at home the previous 5 years. Her label decided changes were needed and new management was brought in. Her next album, All Or Nothing, was recorded over a year and half across 7 studios using more than a dozen session musicians. Released in the fall of 1989, the album included the singles "Giving Away A Miracle," "No More Words", and "Little Salvation". The band recorded an acoustic, live-in-the-studio show in Toronto and released as Live on Tour in 1990. Although All Or Nothing reached platinum status in Canada, it did nothing in the US. Her label then dropped her before the end of the year.

Withdrawal from music[edit]

During the 1990s, Luba experienced both professional and personal problems that resulted in her withdrawing from the music industry. In 1990, her marriage to band drummer and manager Peter Marunzak ended in divorce. Following her release from Capitol Records, she struggled to land a contract with another major record label. Her grandmother and then her mother both died. Finally, her sister, and lone relative left in Canada, developed multiple sclerosis that required intensive care. Finally, Luba felt she was missing out on a "regular" life from years of long hours in the music industry. Altogether, Luba decided to put her career on hold and focus on other priorities. Luba's most notable performance during the 1990s was as the featured halftime performer at the 1991 Grey Cup game in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Return to music[edit]

The latest album by Luba, From The Bitter To The Sweet, was released in 2000 on her own label Azure Music. While the album won some critical acclaim, and produced the Top 30 single "Is She A Lot Like Me?", it did not match the sales or radio airplay as her earlier albums. At year's end, she was featured in a concert performance on a Canadian program entitled An Evening With The Stars, which included both new and old material.

Two new songs by Luba have recently appeared on a member music page of the popular social networking site MySpace. One is a ballad called "Heaven," and the other more upbeat called "Time." These are possibly singles for an upcoming album release, which is mentioned on both this Luba MySpace page and Luba's official website. An April 18, 2007 update on Luba's official website states that Luba chose to use MySpace to connect with her fans as well as for posting her music. Additional information is included on there, as well as a link to her MySpace page. Both new singles are available for adding to other MySpace members' music profiles.

Luba has recently moved from Canada as of mid-2007 and now lives in Anguilla. She is still very focused on her passion, writing and singing, and is working on a new album which will highlight her roots in Soul/R&B music. As well, she is pursuing another passion in the way of photography. Her work has already garnered tremendous critical acclaim, due to her distinct compositional style and innovative approach. Luba is also closely involved with animal causes, working with various animal shelters in providing service dogs to people suffering from physical and psychological trauma.

On Feb 18, 2014, a new compilation album called "ICON" was announced on Luba's Facebook page. The compilation was released by Universal Music Canada and is currently available as digital download and CD. The album contains remastered versions of hits from her albums "Secrets and Sins", "Between the Earth & Sky", "All or Nothing" and "From The Bitter To The Sweet", as well as a new track, "Heaven", which was previously previewed on Luba's MySpace page in 2007.

Legacy[edit]

Luba remains one of the more successful female artists in Canadian music history despite never charting in the US. Her three consecutive Juno awards for Female Vocalist of the Year puts her in select company: only Anne Murray (9) and Celine Dion (6) have more.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

EPs[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

Release date Title Chart peak Album
Canada Canada A/C
1975 "Kazka" Любомира
1979 "Le Doux Rendez-vous" [5]
1980 "Chain Reaction" Chain Reaction
January 1983 "Everytime I See Your Picture" 23 Luba (EP)
May 1983 "Scarlet Letter"
July 1983 "Raven's Eyes"
August 1984 "Let It Go" 32 Secrets And Sins
January 1985 "Storm Before The Calm" 37 13
April 1985 "Secrets And Sins" 95
June 1985 "Sacrificial Heart"
April 1986 "The Best Is Yet To Come" 9½ Weeks Soundtrack
May 1986 "How Many (Rivers To Cross)" 14 Between The Earth & Sky
August 1986 "Innocent (With An Explanation)" 61
November 1986 "Strength In Numbers" 75
February 1987 "Act Of Mercy" 90
November 1987 "When a Man Loves a Woman" 6 3 Over 60 Minutes With Luba
September 1989 "Giving Away A Miracle" 9 All Or Nothing
January 1990 "Little Salvation" 11
March 1990 "No More Words" 33 24
May 2000 "Is She A Lot Like Me" 29 20 From The Bitter To The Sweet
October 2000 "Let Me Be The One"

References[edit]

External links[edit]