Lena Katina

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Lena Katina
Lena Katina in April 2013
Lena Katina in April 2013
Background information
Birth nameElena Sergeevna Katina
Born4 October 1984 (1984-10-04) (age 35)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
InstrumentsPiano and vocals
Years active1992–present
LabelsKatina Music Inc., Maqueta Records, T.A. Music, Such Much Productions
Associated actst.A.T.u., Neposedi, Julia Volkova

Elena Sergeevna Katina (Russian: Елена Сергеевна Катина, born 4 October 1984), better known as Lena Katina, is a Russian singer and songwriter who is best known for her work with Russian duo t.A.T.u. She started her career at the age of eight joining the Russian children's act Avenue, and soon after that, joining Neposedi. In 1999 Ivan Shapovalov chose Lena Katina for his project, t.A.T.u., as well as Julia Volkova. The duo would later become Russia's most successful pop music act. The group produced several hits including "All the Things She Said", "Not Gonna Get Us" and "All About Us". Their first single "All The Things She Said" peaked at number one in 19 countries including the UK, Russia and Australia.[1][2][3][4]

In 2009 Katina began a solo career, which caused t.A.T.u. to go into a hiatus. In 2011 Katina and Volkova officially split to pursue solo careers. That year Katina released her first mainstream single "Never Forget", which in 2011 reached No. 1 on the MTV Russia Top 10 and also won the MTV Russia – 2011 Video of the Year.[5] The track also reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play and reached No. 1 in Greece.

In 2014, she released her debut album, This Is Who I Am, followed by her second album, first in Russian language, Mono, in 2019.

Early years[edit]

Katina was born in Moscow on 4 October 1984 to the musician, Sergey Katin – who collaborated with "Dyuna", Marina Khlebnikova and other representatives of Russian show-business. Starting at just 4 years old, on her father's initiative, Katina began to attend various sport and music clubs for the purpose of fostering plastic arts and artistic talents. When she was seven Katina entered an ordinary school and within a year she entered music school for piano classes. When she was ten she joined the child-group "Avenue" as a soloist, where she would sing for the next 3 years. When she was 13 she became a member of vocal and instrumental group "Neposedi" (Fidgets) where she met Yulia Volkova with whom she became friends. At the casting, she sang a song in French and the jury were astonished by the quality of her voice. Soon Lena left the group due to her age – children sing in "Neposedi" up to 14 years old. At the age of 14 she was successfully cast as a member of the pop duo "t.A.T.u.".

Music career[edit]

1999–2014: t.A.T.u.[edit]

Creator and then-manager of t.A.T.u., Ivan Shapovalov stated that the idea of t.A.T.u. stemmed from the common fascination and fantasy of school-girl lesbian lovers among men, knowing that the duo would be highly appealing to a diverse fan-base.

After auditioning 400 girls, Shapovalov selected Katina for t.A.T.u. at the age of 14. With the project still in development, Katina had the opportunity to record demos (credited as t.A.T.u.), like "Belochka" and "Yugoslavia". The then 14-year-old Julia Volkova was added to the project some time afterward, and in 2001, the duo rose to popularity in Russia, and later in the world.

Lena Katina in a concert in Moscow, 2008.

Feeling satisfied with his choices, Shapovalov signed Volkova and Katina to t.A.T.u., but the contract with Shapovalov also demanded that the girls present a lesbian image. After breaking away from Shapovalov in 2004, the girls came clean and stated that Shapovalov had created the lesbian image, and that they were even told what to say in interviews.[citation needed]

t.A.T.u. soon became the most successful Russian group of all time, leaving a number of hits behind them, such as "All the Things She Said", "Not Gonna Get Us" and "All About Us". They also took part in Eurovision Song Contest 2003 and finished third with Ne Ver', Ne Boysia. In 2007, Katina, along with her bandmate, Yulia Volkova, starred in a film You and I, with Mischa Barton playing the lead role. The film was directed by Roland Joffe and was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. The film was released in 2011 and 2012.

She has recorded in several different locations such as Los Angeles, New York City and her hometown Moscow. She was known to be mostly recording in Los Angeles. It was confirmed by the official t.A.T.u. website that Katina was to undertake a solo career under the guidance and management of the T.A. Music label. She started working with t.A.T.u. band-members in mid-2009 and was expected to release an album in 2011.[6] In March 2011, t.A.T.u. officially disbanded. The group celebrated their 12 years together, and released two remix albums entitled Waste Management Remixes pt. 1 and Waste Management Remixes pt. 2.

On 13 December during a live chat, Katina was asked what she thinks of Volkova's new video "All Because Of You" to which she replied "I think it [all because of you] is very Julia. Julia is Julia." The rest of her comments were lost due to technical issues on the live chat.

2010–2016: Solo career, "European Fan Weekend", "This Is Who I Am" and "Esta Soy Yo"[edit]

Katina hosted a fan event at The Trail in Los Angeles on 29 May 2010[7][8] and gave her first solo performance on 30 May 2010 at the Troubador in Los Angeles.[9] Katina was the opening act of PrideFest in Milwaukee on 12 June 2010.[10] On the day of her performance at Pridefest, Katina released a free download of a song from her upcoming album called "Lost in this Dance".[11] On 17 September 2010, Katina performed at the San Francisco club 1015 Folsom.[12] On 3 February, Katina was scheduled to give her first performance of 2011 at the XLV Party in Dallas, Texas' Cotton Bowl, with The Village People, Cazwell, Lady Bunny, DJ Hector Fonseca and DJ Enferno.[13] The concert, however, was canceled on 31 January when only 13 tickets for the show had sold.[14] In 2011, the film featuring her acting debut, You and I, was released in Russia. The film also featured t.A.T.u.'s other half, Yulia Volkova, as well as actress Mischa Barton.

Alongside the release of Lost in This Dance, she recorded the single "Guardian Angel" with the Canadian post-hardcore band, Abandon All Ships, which was featured on their 2010 debut album Geeving, which was released in October. On Friday, 17 June 2011 Katina's single "Never Forget" premiered on the Mexican radio station FMTU 103-7 in Monterrey, Mexico.[15] On 1 August 2011, the singer revealed the trailer for the music video. On 2 August the official video was leaked on Perez Hilton's blog[16] On Friday, 5 August 2011, Katina officially released her music video for "Never Forget"[17] and released the song on iTunes as a single, which also includes her song "Stay".[18]

Katina and her band appeared on Rawsession, where she performed original acoustic versions of Owl City's "Deer in the Headlights", Alexandra Stan's "Mr. Saxobeat", and her own "Never Forget".[19] All videos were released officially via YouTube[20] and eight months later, the songs were released in the EP "RAWsession 07-14-11".[21] She also collaborated with Mexican synthpop band Belanova and filmed a video for the song they recorded together titled "Tic Toc".[22]

On 19 September 2011, Katina released a new song, "Waiting", while being interviewed by Echo of Moscow Radio.[23] On 9 December 2011, Katina released a new song, "Keep On Breathing" via Kroogi, which was used as a fund-raising song for helping Japanese children who had been suffering from the earthquake and tsunami.[24]

Lena Katina at the You and I Movie Premiere in 2011

During a video conference with her fans on 13 December, Katina was asked by a fan for information on when her album would be released, to which she replied: "I also would like to know the answer to this question [laughs]... I am trying to find a label, but they don't want me, for some reason..." Katina's connection to fans went down at this point and the remaining comments made by her were lost.

Lena's single Never Forget reached number one in MTV's "Russian Top 10 – Year in review" chart.[25] The song failed to enter the top 100 airplay charts in Russia, peaking at number 244.[26]

Since then Katina has released several songs including "Waiting", and "Lost in This Dance", and has performed several songs live such as "World", "Just A Day", "The Beast (So Not Cool)", and "Fed Up (IRS)" in both English and Russian. The song "Keep On Breathing" was released to support Japanese children victims of 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

On 30 September 2012, Katina's collaboration with rapper T-Killah, "SHOT", was released on Love Radio. In April 2013, the Russian version "Ya Budu Ryadom" was released.[27]

In December 2012, Katina parted ways with Boris Renski and his team, moving to Los Angeles to work on a limited edition triple CD for release in early 2013 and a Spanish language EP. The project never materialized, but Katina released her second solo single Lift Me Up.

In 2014, Katina made a series of performances with her former bandmate Julia Volkova as t.A.t.u which ended with a TV performance for the Olympic Games in Russia. However, shortly after this performance Katina accused Volkova of blackmailing her, putting an end to t.A.T.u as a band. Volkova denied the accusations. The single "Lyubov v Kazhdom Mgnovenii" -"Love in every moment"- was released as a collaboration of the two singers, but was not listed as a t.A.t.u song.

On 17 March 2014, Katina released her first live album "European Fan Weekend 2013 Live", recorded on 6 October 2013 in Cologne. The album features performances of t.A.T.u. songs and her solo songs. On 2 September 2014, Katina announced via Facebook that her debut studio album, This Is Who I Am, would be released on 18 November 2014, preceded by her single Who I Am' on 7 October and "Fed Up" as a countdown single on 15 September. 'An Invitation' was released as a single on 12 March 2015.[28]

In July 2016, Katina released her Spanish album, "Esta Soy Yo" to show appreciation for her fans from Latin-based countries.

2017–present: Mono and All Together Now![edit]

In October 2017, Katina released her new English-language single "Silent Hills". Later in December, she released her song "Here I Go Again", a collaboration with Daddy Mercury.

On 3 March 2018, Katina released the Russian-language ballad song "после нас" ("After Us"), as a nostalgic dedication to her past memories of being in t.A.T.u. with her former bandmate Julia Volkova. She released three more Russian-language singles later that year, "Косы" ("Braids"), "Куришь" ("You Smoke") and "Макдоналдс" ("Macdonalds").

In 2019, she released her Russian single "Стартрек" ("Star Trek") on 12 April and "Моно" ("Mono") on 9 June. Twenty days after the release of "Моно" ("Mono"), Lena announced her first Russian-language opus, also titled "Моно" ("Mono"). The eight-track album was released on 26 July 2019, featuring six tracks that already released from 2018 and two new tracks. In 2020, Lena Katina joined ex-Neposedi member Sergey Lazarev as a judge for Russia-1 reality competition series "All Together Now!/Ну-ка, все вместе!", where a contestant's singing ability is judged by a team of 100 musicians, with each judge rewarded 1 point for the contestant if they enjoyed the performance.[29] Alongside Lena, the judges include members of Eurovision Song Contest 2012 runner up Buranovskiye Babushki (Ekaterina Shklyaeva and Valentina Pyatchenko).[30]

Personal life[edit]

Since her early childhood, Katina's hobbies have included artistic gymnastics, ballroom dancing, figure skating, swimming and horse-riding. She is also a skilled pianist and also enjoys reading, especially romance novels. Katina stated in a 2006 TeleHit interview that she used to listen to artists such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd when she was younger. She has two half-siblings, a younger paternal half-sister Katya and a maternal half-brother Ivan. She had a religious upbringing, and was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Katina married her boyfriend of three years, Slovenian musician "Sash Kuzma" (Sasha Kuzmanović) of Serbian and Slovenian origin[31][32] in Moscow and Ljubljana in August 2013.[33]

Katina announced in November 2014 that she was 3 1/2 months pregnant with her first child during a concert in Rome.[34][35][36] On 22 May 2015, she gave birth to her first child, a boy named Aleksandr, in Moscow.[37] As of November 2019, the couple were divorced.[38]

Support for the LGBT community[edit]

In 2007, Katina participated in the gay pride in Moscow.

In September 2012, Katina and her band went to St Petersburg for support the international festival Queerfest in 2012. Katina said, "We all are very different people and we should celebrate our differences. We should not be silent when we see this intolerant aggression towards LGBT-community". The organisers noted that "Lena’s participation in Queerfest is a truly historic moment: For the first time such a high-profile Russian artists supports the festival" said organizers.[39]

In September 2014, her former bandmate Julia Volkova appeared as a contestant on a Ukrainian game show called Lie Detector, and made comments considered to be highly homophobic, especially towards homosexual men.[40][41] Katina reacted, saying: "Hey, all! I am seeing some comments lately regarding my position about LGBT and my religion. I can say one thing: God is teaching us to live in love, to be tolerant and not to judge other people! And I do so! Love is love and it is a wonderful feeling! I think everybody should be free to love who they love and be with who they want to spend their life with! Xoxo"[42]

Feud with Julia Volkova[edit]

The feud between Lena and Julia started when Julia expressed her opinion on Lena's solo career back in 2010, "She [Lena] has the right to do it [sing t.A.T.u. songs], but it's so stupid, absolutely stupid. If you do a solo career, it means that you do your own work. Her stuff, that she makes, I think, is silly and very soon her career will wither away and disappear."[43] Lena responded to this interview via her YouTube Page, "I saw Julia's interview. Of course I got upset. But I want to tell everybody that I have a completely opposite attitude towards the whole situation, Julia's project included. I believe she's a very talented person and I sincerely hope that she'll be successful in all the things she plans."[44] The group officially disbanded in 2011.

While the duo reunited briefly in 2012–2014, with a performance at The Voice of Romania while promoting the re-released edition of 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, a concert in Kiev and a pre-opening performance of 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, on 17 February 2014, Katina posted a video message on her official YouTube channel stating that she would no longer be working with Julia.[45] However, on 20 February, Volkova posted a video message saying that there is "no big reunion" but t.A.T.u. were having "joint projects". She also criticized Katina's "meaning" behind the video and confirmed that they would be shooting the video for the new single.[46] On 5 March 2014, Volkova posted another video message on her official YouTube channel in response to Katina's video. She stated that despite "reasons of severe trepidation on the part of Lena about [Volkova] and [her] behavior," collaboration between the two was possible, referring to the release of their new single as well as their music video.[47]

On 22 May 2014, both singers introduced the film at the Cannes Film Festival for their appearance in "Together Apart" video, part of Cornetto Ru's "A Sight Of Cupid" project which contains several short films about love. For the short video, alongside rappers Ligalize and Mike Tompkins, both recorded a song and its music video called "Love in Every Moment", released to the Cornetto Ru page on YouTube, in which Katina and Volkova filmed their scenes apart.[48] Due to their conflict and in keeping with Lena's wishes to not interact with Julia, both singers had separate interviews with reporters. Volkova announced during an interview with the Italian press that the film would be the last collaborative work between her and Lena.

Their recent and last appearance together was at the 25th anniversary celebration of the children's musical group Neposedy, which both were a part of before the formation of t.A.T.u. There, together with the children, Lena sang her song "All Around the World" and together with Yulia, sang "Nas Ne Dogonyat" ("Not Gonna Get Us").[49][50]

In 2019, Julia Volkova claimed that her manager went to Lena's house, and saw photos in her house which Julia were cut out of. Lena rebuked the accusation, saying that Julia's manager never went to her house. She also stated that the irreconcilable conflict between them made impossible for both to reunite as t.A.T.u.[51]

Acting career[edit]

Katina made her film début alongside Julia Volkova and Mischa Barton in the 2011 film You and I, the story of two teenage girls who meet and fall in love at a Moscow t.A.T.u. concert. The film is based on the novel t.A.T.u. Come Back, which was in turn based on true events.

Lena voiced the fairy Zarina in the Russian dub of the Disney film The Pirate Fairy which was released on Feb.13, 2014.[52]

The video of "Lyubov' v Kazhdom Mgnoveniy" (Love in every moment) was launched in 2014 as a short film named Together Apart[53] that is part of the Cornetto marketing project Cornetto Cupidity. In the film, Lena is one of the cupids that try to bring a young couple through a long distance romance together.

Modelling career[edit]

In January 2013, Katina had a photoshoot with the Russian edition of Maxim magazine. [1]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details
This Is Who I Am[54]
  • Released: 18 November 2014
  • Label: Katina Music Inc.
  • Format: Digital download, CD
Esta Soy Yo
  • Released: 1 July 2016
  • Label: Katina Music Inc., Maqueta Records
  • Format: Digital download, CD
  • Released: 26 July 2019
  • Label: Katina Music Inc.
  • Format: Digital download, Limited CD

Live albums[edit]

Title Details
European Fan Weekend 2013 Live[55]
  • Released: 17 March 2014
  • Label: Katina Music Inc.
  • Format: Digital download, CD

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
RAWsession – 07.14.11[21]
  • Released: 2011
  • Format: Digital download
Never Forget (Remixes)
(featuring THEE PAUS3)[56]
  • Released: 2012
  • Format: Digital download


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"Never Forget" 2011 1 This Is Who I Am
"Lift Me Up" 2013 31
"Who I Am" 2014
"An Invitation" 2015
"Levántame" 2016 Esta Soy Yo
"Silent Hills" 2017 Non-album single
"После нас" 2018 Mono
"Стартрек" 2019
"Никогда" TBA
"Вирус" 2020
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released.

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US Hot Latin Songs US Latin Pop Airplay SPA
(with Belanova)
2011 32 2 12 Sueño Electro II
"Here I Go Again"
(with Daddy Mercury)
2017 Non-album single

Promotional singles[edit]

Title Year Album
"Lost in This Dance"
(Pridefest Mix)
2010 Non-album single
"Keep On Breathing"[57] 2011
"Just A Day" 2013 This Is Who I Am
"World (Demo)" Non-album single
"No Voy Olvidarte"
(MZ Remix)[58]
"Fed Up" 2014 This Is Who I Am

Other appearances[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album Note
"Guardian Angel" 2010 Abandon All Ships Geeving
"Melody" 2012 Clark Owen Melody – single
"Shot"/ "Ya Budu Ryadom" 2013 T-Killah Boom
"Paradise" Sergio Galoyan Paradise – EP
"It's Christmas Time" Orbit Monkey It's Christmas Time – EP[59]
"Century" 2014 Re:boot (Kiro and Denis Kurus) Century – Single
"Любовь в каждом мгновении"

("Lubov v Kazhdom Mgnovenii")

Julia Volkova & Legalize feat. Mike Tompkins Lubov v Kazhdom Mgnovenii – Single
"Golden Leaves" 2015 Noemi Smorra Trasparente – EP[60]/ "This is Who I Am"
Новая любовь ("Novaya Lubov") "Podnebeses" Unreleased

As songwriter[edit]

Title Year Artist Album Note
"Lucifer" 2014 Anna Tsuchiya Lucifer – EP co-writer

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
As lead artist
"Never Forget"[17][61] 2011 James Cox
"Lift Me Up"[62] 2013 David Lehre
"Who I Am"[63][64] 2014 Jason Wisch
"An Invitation"[65] 2015 Livia Alcalde & Francesco Sperandeo
As featured artist
(Belanova featuring Lena Katina)
2011 Daniel Robles
(Clark Owen featuring Lena Katina)
2012 Jason Wisch
"Shot"[69] & "Ya Budu Ryadom"[70]
(T-killah featuring Lena Katina)
2013 Chopchop
"Lubov v Kazhdom Mgnoveniy"[71]
(Julia Volkova, Lena Katina, Ligalize & Mike Tompkins)
2014 Elena Kiper
"Golden Leaves"[72]
(Noemi Smorra featuring Lena Katina)
2015 Livia Alcalde & Francesco Sperandeo

Video releases[edit]

Title Year Note
This Is Who I Am – Live in Rome 2015 Live video, photos and mp3


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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Prime Minister
with "Northern Girl"
Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest
(as part of t.A.T.u.)
Succeeded by
Yulia Savicheva
with "Believe Me"