People take pictures of her when she walks down the street, crowds mob her for autographs and she's been on the cover of every glossy mag from Elle to Cosmopolitian. In Russia. You see, while gorgeous, dark haired Alsou is a school girl over here, she's a national star over there - a teenage beauty who's dueted with Enrique Inglesias, had the largest amount of single sales in Russia ever (100,000) and celebrated her 17th birthday in front of a crowd of the same number. Watch out - before long the girl they're dubbing the Russian Britney is bound to be impressing us the same way.
Born in the small town of Bugulma, Tatarstan, Russia on 27th June 1983, Alsou - meaning "rose water" - moved with her parents to Moscow when she was nine. At 13 she started school in England, going back to Russia for holidays. At 15 she sang the Whitney Houston classic "I will always love you" back at her brother's wedding. Even though it was her first time in front of an audience, Alsou ("alsue") so impressed a family friend, she later introduced the schoolgirl to Russian producer Valeriy Belotserkovsky. That was Summer 1998. By May '99 he'd become her manager and Alsou'd become Russia's biggest teen star. She's now the first Russian artist signed by an international record company and her debut single in English sold a platinum-winning 100,000 copies, the biggest figure for single sales in Russia.
Alsou's so successful in Russia that the fluent French, English and Russian speaker has played to crowds of up to 100,000 and her loyal fans shower her with teddy bears at every show. "The first time I felt success was when I went on my first tour (June 2000) and I had thousands of people coming and completely sold out all the concerts. That's when I realised the effect I was having." She's so loved, her home town fans bought her a car and it's these kind of incidents which reassure her she's appreciated. Like the first time she performed live. "The first time I was ever on stage I was really scared" she admits, "but my manager said "you can't sell all these records and not do it live." As soon as I went out my voice and knees were shaking. I couldn't remember the words but all these people started singing my song. I was so touched that since then I just love being on stage."
Her rise to fame has been rapid and in September 2000 Alsou sang a duet with Enrique Inglesias - a song called "You're my number One"which he'd already recorded on his album Enrique. It's now on Alsou's Russian album as a duet. What did she think of the latino superstar? "Oh, he's obviously a ladies man." she giggles shyly.
It's difficult for Alsou to fit a love life around her busy schedule but she admits her ideal man is dark haired and dark skinned, much like herself. She can't imagine being with a blonde even though she once dyed her hair that colour herself. Craig David is one of her musical heroes. "He's a good looking guy but that comes after his amazing voice." Other idols include Destiny's Child and Mariah Carey and she intends to become as big as Whitney Houston one day, through sheer strength of personality if necessary. "Anything is possible if you put your mind to it" she explains. "I'm a very determined person and even if I don't get there straight away I know it will happen."
As she's so young and gorgeous, it's natural to think of her teen American rivals but Alsou hopes people will hear a difference in her sound. "I like Britney, she's very pop but I actually prefer Christina's voice and music, it's very R & B. That's what I'm into, even though Before You Love Me [first UK single] just has an R & B flavour." Alsou also loves ballads but is canny enough to know these can't kickstart a career. She's also lucky enough to be working with some of the best in the business, from Sturken and Rodgers (Britney, Christina, NSync, Emma Bunton, Sisqo) to Brian Rawlins (Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera) and Mark Hill (Craig David and Artful Dodger). She's also worked with Tim Royes who directed Five and Queen's "We Will Rock You" video.
What would Alsou do if she wasn't a singer? "I'd be an artist, a fashion designer or an architect - anything creative as I already have A-level Art." She spends her free time drawing portraits of friends and family. In the evenings she loves going clubbing with her brother and his friends, spending time at London's exclusive clubs such as ChinaWhite or the Mayfair. Her upbringing in a cold climate means she can go out wearing sandals even when it's -10 degrees centigrade outside. She also favours "tight, sexy things, more feminine stuff, like my stage image. During the day it's jeans and little tops, whatever's comfortable." She's looking forward to international fame "I like the idea of meeting stars. I've met a couple already at the MOBO Awards. At the MTV awards in Stockholm I met The Backstreet Boys, Ronan Keating and Robbie Williams."
So she's young, beautiful and talented. A world-wide star in the making who's determined to get to the top. And with her self-willed, hard-working attitude she is bound to get there.
<br />The story of Alsou began on June 27th, 1983 in Bugum, Tartarsan where Alsou Tenisheva was born. Growing up in the Muslim part of East Russia Alsou had to learn both Tartarsan and Russian. Then, if that wasn't enough, she had to start learning English at the age of ten when her parents moved to America to work. After moving again briefly to Denmark, Alsou eventually began to settle down when Alsou started at an international school in England.
However, the story of Alsou the singer began in 1998 when she attended her brother's (Marat) wedding when she was 16. Alsou began her musical education at the age of 6 when she began to learn the piano and a friend recommended her to someone from the record industry who was there also at the wedding.
'I'll never forget when he invited me to his office one day and said 'Ok, sing something on the spot' there and then. I was very embarrassed because there wasn't any piano to sing along with but I had to
Alsou sang a version of Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' and he was immediately bowled over. 'He just banged on the desk and said 'Stop! Ok, we're gonna work together'.
And that was that. Alsou's first song was a hit in Russia and her popularity continued to soar when she released her debut album, the Russian spoken 'Alsou' in September 1999 which and won the album of the year award in Russia.. In Nov 1999 she was signed to Universal.
However, as if that wasn't enough Alsou was asked to perform in Stockholm's Globe Arena at the 45th annual Eurovision Song Contest in May 13, 2000.
'I couldn't believe it at first when my manager rang me to tell me the news. I even laughed and said 'nice joke'. The Eurovision contest is a big thing in Russia and most people couldn't even dream of getting selected. First, I had to complete a very heavy rehearsal schedule for the night. In the end 30,000 people attended the concert in person but there was over 100 million watching it live on their TV sets! That didn't really bother me because by the time it came to performing I'd completely lost my nerves because of the sheer amount of rehearsals I'd gone through! In fact, the most nerve- racking moment was being in the Green room afterwards, waiting for the results.
She needn't have been that nervous though because although she came out second overall she'd scored the most points ever score for Russia in the contest! The song was eventually released as a single and 'Solo' became the all-time best-selling single ever released in Russia. The singles that followed were also hits including 'Before You Love Me' and 'You're My No.1' recorded with main man, Enrique Iglesias himself.
Back in London Alsou had told only few close college friends about her talent as a singer. But when the whole college spotted her in the Eurovision contest everybody turned out to congratulate her upon her return to England. Although she has left the school now, Alsou is being tutored privately in order to complete her A Levels, French and Art.
Alsou's new album will be sung in English and is expected to be released in Spring 2001. A combination of mellow tunes and uptempo, catchy pop tunes the album has been produced by former Culture Club and Honeyz producer Steve Levine and top Russian producer Valery Belotserkovski. Alsou has also co-written some of the songs on the album.
From early childhood, Alsou had been a keen admirier of Marah Carey and Whitney Houston although her modern tastes include R 'n' B acts Craig David and the Honez. Her plans are to get more involved with song writing with the intention of writing her third album entirely by herself.
'It's only been two years since I started and already so much has happened I didn't even think could. I've always dreamt of being a singer and when I became a singer in Russia I never thought it would happen so fast here in the west.'<br />1. Alsou is the first Russian artist to be signed by an International record company for a multi-album deal.
2. Alsou is fluent in English, French and Russian.
3. Alsou entered the Eurovision song contest last year and came an impressive 2nd.
4. Alsou in Russian means "Rose Water".
5. Alsou celebrated her 17th birthday in her home town Bugluma by performing for 100,000 fans.
6. In return, her fans in Bulguma gave her a car for her birthday.
7. Last year Alsou's picture was on the front cover of 132 magazines.
8. Alsou has worked with some of the worlds most famous producers including Brian Rawling, Simon Fraglen and Mark Hill.
9. Her duet with Enrique Inglesias is the best selling single in the history of Russian show business.
10. Alsou co-writes many of her songs which will be featured on her debut album out in summer 2001. Toni Braxton - Secrets
Toni Braxton - The Heat
Mariah Carey - No.1s
Whitney Houston - Bodyguard
Craig David - Born To Do It
Backstreet Boys - Millennium
Celine Dion - Falling Into You
Enrique Iglesias - Enrique
Jennifer Lopez - On The 6
Brandy - Never Say Never
[ November 29, 2001: Message edited by: TheBoiledEgg ]</p>