Billboard: Well, did we guess right?
Lena: I dont know who sings it, but John Lennon’s main hit is hard not to recognize in any performance -“Imagine all the people…” (singing)
Billboard: Your’e right, but the bang A Perfect Circle did a cover of the song, the band was founded by Billy Howerdel, a guitar technician from other groups with loud names: Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, The Smashing Pumpkins, etc.
Lena: So this is what it is…
Billboard: How do you view the creativity of John Lennon and his group with loud names?
Lena: I cannot call them entirely serious. Honestly, I never really listened to The Beatles
Billboard: They didn’t attract you?
Lena: The song “Yesterday” I played on a final exam in my music school, and this is the only one I still listen to.
Billboard: Here is another interesting moment: Howerdel at first wanted to have a female vocalist at first. Who’s female voice, in your opinion, could have been suited for this track?
Lena: For some reason, P!NK comes to mind
Billboard: Have you listened to her more than The Beatles?
Lena: Of course! When I was growing up she was popular.
Billboard: Going on to the next track
Lena: I promise I won’t guess it (laughs)
Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode)
Lena: Depeche Mode, “Personal Jesus”!
Billboard: See, even 5 seconds have not passed. Maybe you can tell us who did the cover?
Lena: The voice is very familiar…Hold on, I’ll tell you…Johny Cash? Is it him?
Billboard: It’s him!
Lena: He was an amazing person. I love his song “Hurt”. I’ll sing it to you, even though it is in a different rubric (poem) “I hurt myself today”…Every time I hear it I get goosebumps.
Billboard: Interesting, it is also a cover by Nine Inch Nails! Do you know what Johny Cash and Depeche Mode have in common? Their love for the color black!
Lena: Maybe I have something in common with them, then? (laughs) I will perform in only black, I also love that color. Elegant, stylish and slimming (laughs).
Boys Don’t Cry (The Cure)
Lena: The song is extremely familiar. I recently heard the original version on the radio. This is “Boys Don’t Cry” The Cure! Who did the cover?
Billboard: You will be surprised, but it is Scarlett Johansson
Lena: Scarlett? Let me listen some more (puts on headphones). Wow! Actually, she sings pretty well. She has an interesting temper.
Billboard:…for which the critics constantly scold her. Actually, she uses this criticism to criticize herself. She complains that she has a raspy voice, a wrong bite.
Lena: She’s foolish! I like it all.
Billboard: And also cellulite.
Lena: Cellulite has nothing to do with one’s voice. First of all, every woman has is with a normal hormonal background. And second of all, like I said, I like it!
Billboard: How do you view this self-criticism? Looks like she is not like Russian artists.
Lena: In this sense I look like Johansson, very self-critical.
Billboard: Can you criticize yourself?
Lena: Understand that I am never satisfied with any finished job. It always seems like it could have been done better. I don’t have a song about which I would say, “I sang awesome here! What a great job!”
Billboard: So you’re a perfectionist?
Lena: Yes. I strive for idealism and get very upset when I cannot achieve it.
Billboard: Let us then play the next track.
Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
Lena: Well of course this is Kurt Cobain. My sisters listens to Nirvana, so I often hear it.
Billboard: How old is your sister?
Lena: Almost 20
Billboard: You had a “Nirvana phase”?
Lena: When I was 10, my older friend listened to Metallica, Nirvana and often played their songs, but I never had their CD. It wasn’t to interesting for me, I did not now Cobain’s tragic fate, who died at 27, just like Amy Whinehouse. Actually, I will also be 27 soon. My fans began to write, “Lena, please don’t turn 27! We don’t want to lose you!” (laughs). But I think death is the beginning of something new.
Billboard: In fact, speaking of this- you shot a video in a cemetery. Has your view been affected?
Lena: Of course, the metaphor is clear- the burial of t.A.T.u. What is there not to understand?
Billboard: What sort of funny things happened during the shoot?
Lena: Actually, none. 4 days before the shooting I got sunburned at the beach to the point of a cooked lobster. The worst burn was on my leg, there was some sort of inflammation. And the whole shoot I had to be on my legs. They wanted to put heels on my, but I said I had to be barefoot. It saved me, but I was still limping and suffering.
Billboard: No wonder you had so much suffering in your eyes in the video!
Lena: Vaguely familiar song, only in a jazz version…(long pause). How cool! (sings along). Who sings this?
Billboard: Paul Anka
Lena: What about the original? They love to play this song in America, I sing it all the time in the car when I’m there.
Billboard: This is Oasis!
Lena: Oh! The Gallagher brothers. This sort of jazz is hard to figure out.
Billboard: Noelle Gallagher at one time said that this song was dedicated to his girlfriend, Meg. But when they broke up, he told everyone that it was not dedicated to any girl, but to a dropped friend. Have you ever dedicated a song to anyone? Or has anyone dedicated a song to you?
Lena: I have had many songs dedicated to me. Mostly, one of my good friends, a rapper, you probably know him. He was never a fan of t.A.T.u., but him and I are still friends. And I have dedicated a song from my new album to my boyfriend, no one has heard it yet. It is called “This Is Who I Am”. It is not completely about him, in it I tell him about myself and say how in our world it is hard to build such intimate relationships.
Billboard: Has he heard it yet?
Lena: Of course!
Billboard: And how did he react?
Lena: He reacted well. How else could you react to a song someone has dedicated to you?
Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2)
Lena: I seems its U2? Except I don’t know the name of the song. Who sings it, Avril Lavigne?
Billboard: It’s Haley Williams from Paramore.
Lena: Of course! She sang with B.o.B.
Billboard: She also has 5 tattoos? Do you have any?
Lena: No, for what? I’m fine without them.
Billboard: Are you uncomfortable with your body?
Lena: When I stand naked in front of the mirror I like everything.
Billboard: And you do not want any extra decorations?
Lena: I love tattoos on others, but I can’t even imagine what kind I would get. I had a bellybutton ring at 18, then I got tired of it and I took it off a few years ago.
Reel Big Fish
Take On Me (A-Ha)
Billboard: Mhm! Who covered it?
Lena: I don’t know, but they sound a little like Vopli Vidopliassova.
Billboard: Well, these guys are also from the south. Ska-punks for California. Do you like any of this sort of daring music?
If I hear Vopli Vidopliassova on the radio, I never switch the station. But, mostly I have something more calm playing: Enigma, Era, Gregorian- I love them. This is the best kind of music to drive your car.
Billboard: How is your adrenaline level when you turn on ska and hit the pedal?
Lena: I get a headache from it. Believe me, for the autobahn, there is nothing better than Enigma. I am a very calm person, I simply hate loud music. Especially trance, I get panic from it, I begin to shake…That’s why I only go to dance there where they play Yuri Antonov, for example.
We Are The Champions (Queen)
Lena: This is Queen! “We are the champions”…
Billboard: Who sings it?
Lena: Robbie Williams. He’s cool!
Billboard: Would you dive to this track on the autobahn?
Lena: Of course!
Billboard: You heard that Williams returned to his boy band Take That?
Lena: Well, why not? I think it’s fantastic!
Billboard: The question is, will Lena Katina every return to t.A.T.u.?
Lena: Anything could happen in this world…but, not now. I am concentrating on a solo career and I think it would be foolish to associate not reaching a high status.
Billboard: Robbie Williams status?
Lena: At the minimum!