Ani Lorak (Ukrainian: Ані Лорак), real name Carolina Myroslavivna Kuiek (Ukrainian: Кароліна Мирославівна Куєк) (born 27 September 1978, Kitsman, Chernivtsi Oblast, Ukraine) is a successful Ukrainian singer and artist. She has three times appeared to be a strong front-runner to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest. Lorak represented Ukraine at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Shady Lady and came in 2nd place. She also came second in the «Press Award Eurovision Song Contest» and won the «Artistic Award» for her performance.
Born in the small west Ukrainian village Кицмань (Kitzman), just north of Чернiвцi (Tshernivtzi), as the daughter of a choir leader (father) and an employee of the administration of cultural affairs and host at a radio station (mother) young Кароліна (Karolina) soon developed the desire to become a professional singer. She would often participate in singing contests at school, and already at the age of 14 (1992) she took part in the highly acclaimed Pervotsvit competition, where she first met her later producer, Yuri Falesoys. In March 1995 Каролина traveled to Russia, where she participated in a competition of the Moscow TV station Утренняя звезда (‘Morning Star’). Due to the fact that another participant with the name Кароліна (Karolina) was already there it was immediately decided that Ани change her stage name. The solution was to simply read her first name backwards: Кароліна (Karolina) became Ані Лорак (Ani Lorak). After these proceedings Ані moved to Kyiv which offered more possibilities to organize her professional career. Soon she took part in the ‘Big Apple Music - 96’ competition in New York which gained her fame even beyond the Ukrainian border. At the popular Ukrainian festival ‘Таврийские игры ‘96’ she was ticketed ‘Discovery of the Year’, followed by working on her debut album. She gained two massive chart successes with Манекенщица and Боже мой, the latter being the soundtrack title for the film “Право на выбор”. By the end of the year the debut Хочу Летать (‘I want to fly’) hit the market.
In 1997 Ані sang literally in every city of Ukraine and concentrated on completing her second album for which the pre-mastering was done in New York. Also, some video clips for the new songs were produced in California. The Ukrainian audience could see Ани drive along Santa Barbara beaches in a convertible, synchronizing with well-trained male dancers. Я Вернусь (‘I will return’) was finalized in December 1997 and hit the market in early ‘98. With new material in her luggage she performed to audiences in France, Germany, Hungary and the US. In 1999 she was rewarded ‘Merited artist of Ukraine’ (Заслуженная артистка Украины) and later the same year she met Russian composer Igor Kruty. Ани and Игор decided to collaborate which resulted in the dance track Зеркала (‘Mirror’) (2000), a next chart entry for Ани. Around that time she also agreed to join the advertising campaign of the chocolate brand Korona (a subsidiary of Kraft Foods). The release wwwanilorakcom promoted her own homepage and contains a few new songs, but also the best cuts from the two first albums.
In 2001 the album Там, де ти є (‘There, where you are’) was recorded, largely seeing Ани sing in Ukrainian instead of Russian. This long-player not only spawned a few hit clips but also resulted in more very successful live appearances of Ани and an appearance in the Ukrainian/Russian musical film “Вечера на хуторе близ Диканьки”. 2003 saw the release the Remix Мрій Про Мене which was compiled by remix versions of known tracks (largely from the Там, де ти є album) but also three brand new cuts. In May that year the audience could see her posing in the FHM magazine, and in August she made several live appearances with American songwriter Pam Reswick in the US.
In 2004 Ани Лорак has become a UN Good Will Ambassador in Ukraine on HIV/AIDS. We cannot stay away from scaring spread of the virus in across our country - Ani Lorak supports UN activities in this sphere and calls all her fans to do the same.
In early 2004 the album Ани Лорак was released, now including the original version of Мрій про мене and two more big hits, Три звичних слова and Мої Бажання. Video clips of these tracks were constantly appearing on Ukrainian TV screens. After Ukraine’s victory at the European Song Contest in 2004, winner Руслана (Ruslana) publicly advocated that Ани Лорак represent the country in the following year. And indeed, in October 2004 Ани appeared with a new song and video clip, A Little Shot of Love, only her second song published sung in english. With “A Little Shot of Love” Ани participated in the qualification for the 2005 ESC festival, but she only reached the second rank. The band Greenjolly finally won and qualified with their revolution anthem Razom nas bagato - nas ne podolati!. Shortly after this result became known, she published her next clip Smile (again sung in english). It announced her next album, which - with the exception of two ukrainian bonus tracks - was entirely sung in english: Smile. Largely influenced by her cooperation with US producers and songwriters, Pam Reswick and Taryn Murphy, Smile is certainly the most ‘international’ album of Анi up to this day. The last single clip culled from it in September 2005 was Car Song, a track co-composed by Анi herself. Just when the album was released, the beautiful singer reappeared for a duet with another ukrainian icon, Олександр Пономарьов (Oleksandr Ponomarov’), for the tear-jerking ballad 100 Kisses, which was followed by “Karlsong” (for the norwegian children’s film “Karlsong on the Road”). By May 2006, only eight months after Smile was put out, an all-Ukrainian version of it was published, now called Розкажи… August 2006 brought her singing on a duet with russian singer and producer Валерий Меладзе (Valerij Meladze), the romantic Верни мою любовь (дуэт с Валерием Меладзе). For a short time in late ‘06/early ‘07, things cooled down a bit for Анi, which probably had to do with her marriage to turkish Murat Nalcacioglu. However, since April 2007 the clip C первого взгляда, and since August Я с тобой, were broadcast. Both tracks were preview songs to the next album, which eventually hit the market in October that year: 15 is an all-russian effort, which was kind of surprising to her fans, assuming that Анi generally targeted at the international market. Indeed, in March her next ‘project’ was presented: Анi Лорак was eventually chosen to represent Ukraine for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. For that, since March 2008, her newest song is known to be Shady Lady, an english sung dance/glam rock track which should make quite some waves at that european contest in Belgrade. After an almost fifteen-year career in the music business, Анi Лорак can certainly be considered the most professional act coming from Ukraine.
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