Meet Maria Bulavina – the professionally trained singer. Coming from a very musically talented family, both her parents have greatly supported her in her success. Maria’s mother says that she learned to sing before walking and talking.
Maria graduated from the famous Academy of Music, Gresin Music Academy in Moscow, Russia, as well as from Berklee Music college in Boston, USA.
Her self-written song won the competition for the youth anthem of the Olympic Games in Sochi and she prides in being selected by Sir Elton John among other young Russian artists to be the opening act for his big performance in Moscow.
She graces our cover this month and we are thankful for her time for this exclusive interview for our readers.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Maria Bulavina. I’m the Director of Entertainment and partner at Firma Events, Doha Qatar.
Tell us about your education.
My education takes up more than half of my life, because I have been professionally engaged in music since I was 3 years old. My grandparents were music teachers at a music school, and my parents are famous Russian musicians and Honored Artists of Russia. I’ve never had any doubts about who I want to be in the future. I took talent from both parents and organizing and producing skills from my father. I graduated from the famous Academy of Music, Gresin Music Academy in Moscow, Russia, as well from Berklee Music college in Boston, USA. In total, from music school, college and academies it took 16 years of my life. Education has always been a very important part of my life, I still continue to study and develop in production and marketing in the modern world. It is necessary for every artist, because our profession is very multifaceted, so you must be multi-skilled.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Were your family and friends supportive of this career choice?
Music has always been my life, my mom says I learned to sing before walking and talking. I tried myself in different musical styles, ranging from folk folklore to real jazz and electronic music. Jazz has always been something special, something that inspired me and I still love jazz. Support always came from my family, I was so busy studying as a child that unfortunately there was no time for friends, later when I started studying there was always competition among my classmates and my family’s support was enough for me. They always believed in me very much as well as now. The music industry is very cruel, it is very rare to meet friends, especially in such developed countries as Russia and America.
When and how did you land in Dubai?
Firstly, I have lived and worked in Doha with the best hotels, as a singer. I have also worked a lot as a model with clothing brands, fashion designers and beauty brands. I arrived in Dubai at the invitation of the general manager of the hotel Habtoor Palace. I landed in Dubai in June 2019, it was my first visit to Dubai and I joined a well-known and highly respected company called Habtoor Hospitality, as a lead singer at Habtoor Palace hotel. It’s been 3 years and counting.
What do you think motivates you day in and day out?
For me, motivation is always inspiration, if I want something, I always achieve it, and the more difficult the goal, the more I invest efforts to achieve what I want. I have been told “No” many times for me, the word “No” is the best motivation and opportunity. The word “No” does not mean refusal, it means “opportunity” and I never miss it. Great efforts should be backed up by strong energy and of course this is something that needs to be replenished and increased. I can work 24/7, but I’m definitely rebuilding myself. I really love the beach and the sea, I am absolutely a beach person, it charges me, gives me strength, as well as sports and I can combine sports with business. My phone is in my hand for about 17 hours a day.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?
The biggest surprise is that my song, which I wrote myself, won the competition for the youth anthem of the Olympic Games in Sochi, it was very exciting. It was also nice when Sir Elton John chose me among the young Russian artists to be the opening act for his big performance in Moscow.
What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest challenge is to bring everything together: talent, professionalism, discipline, the ability to be flexible, to be a producer, to be a sponsor, to be a director and to be a boss for yourself and for your team. At the moment I’m in charge of musicians at Firma Events and I have huge responsibility of everyone who works with me. We are one family. In our agency you won’t find random people, these are talented and professional musicians with musical education. They are the same like me, have been making music since childhood, we have gone our separate ways to be where we are now. I bring talents from all over the world, at the moment our team includes musicians from: Italy, Cuba, Russia, Colombia, Mexico, Ukraine, Argentina, America, Spain. The guys work in the best hotels and the best music venues in Qatar, Dubai, Oman, Seychelles. We are growing as a team and our venues are also growing. Now the biggest challenge for me is to become the largest international agency in the world.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
I will definitely highlight the Youth Anthem of the Olympic Games, the song is called “Our Success Was Born in Russia”. And also the song “I remember” which was at the top of all music platforms for a while and a music video was the most professional I’ve ever had.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
I produced quite a lot of music before I became involved in the agency, at the moment all my time is occupied by the agency and my artists, as well as my own performances and jazz evenings at the Habtoor Palace. I am looking for a quality music studio in Dubai to continue writing new songs.
Do you hope to release more music in the coming months and an EP or album?
At the moment I’m working on the song which involved my colleagues, with amazing music instruments and by end of August we will have a video shooting at the iconic hotel, my favourite Habtoor Palace. I believe is most beautiful hotel in the world.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
For 3 years I have been singing in a wonderful place called “Polo Bar” of Habtoor Palace, luxurious jazz bar in the English style, with an incredible atmosphere and wonderful guests who appreciate jazz.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
This is a combination of talent, discipline, a lot of work on yourself and, of course, self-belief.
How do you feel about social media? What do you think social media has done for your career so far?
It’s entertainment for me mostly. I am too lazy to maintain constant social activity, and I also protect my personal space. I very rarely share any events of my life and family. This is my choice and I am very comfortable. It helps me a lot that you can find a lot of talented musicians on social networks, now many artists write to me on Instagram who want to work in our team, so for business, of course, yes, for personal life, no, or just a little bit, and only what I’m ready to show. I love sharing my photo shoots, photography has always been and will be my great passion
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future? Who has been inspiring you and the music that you make?
I am inspired by every artist I find, or they find me. These are unique and talented people. If we are talking about superstars, I adore and dream of, if not singing, then attending live concerts of India Arie, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith, Adele.
What would a dream music video look like for you?
It’s hard to say, its depends of the song and what it is about. Lets see in the future, now technology develops so fast and I definitely want to make something super new, let’s say video on the flying car, as I saw at Museum of the Future in Dubai.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Feelings, it is all about feelings and if I touch them with my music, means we have something similar and we understand each other.
Photo Credits: Valeri Fedotova (@valerifedotova)