13 October 1974 (age 42)
Kharkiv, Kharkivs'ka Oblast', Ukraine
Alina Simone was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine and came to the United State as the daughter of political refugees after her father refused recruitment by the KGB and was blacklisted for ‘refusal to cooperate.’ Raised in the suburbs of Massachusetts, Alina moved to Austin, Texas after graduating from art school in Boston. It was there that she first started singing in public, in the doorway of an abandoned bar on Sixth Street. Simone quickly became known for her sparse instrumentation and raw and powerful delivery. After the release of her first EP, ‘Prettier in the Dark’ (2005), and her debut album, ‘Placelessness’ (2007, 54º 40' or Fight!), Simone earned both national airplay and critical acclaim.
Simone’s 2008 release, ‘Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware,’ covered the music of Russian cult icon, Yanka Dyagileva, a Siberian punk-folk singer who drowned under mysterious circumstances in 1991. Simone was first introduced to Yanka’s music in 2001, when a couple of Russian street performers she met hanging out in Brighton Beach made her a mix tape. Her interest in Yanka dovetailed with a growing obsession with Siberia, where she has spent an extensive part of each year living and working since 2001. Sung entirely in Russian, ‘Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware’ both echoes the samizdat quality of Yanka’s recordings and subverts it with lush arrangements and intricately textured layers of trumpet, cello and guitars. The album received widespread critical acclaim from major national and international outlets including The New Yorker, BBC’s “The World,” Billboard Magazine, Spin Magazine, New York Magazine, NPR, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and Pitchfork among many others.
Over the past five years, Simone has performed under a windmill in Aarhus, Denmark, at a club located within the Arctic Circle in far northern Russia, as well as hundreds of lonely bars throughout the United States. She has shared the stage with artists including Final Fantasy, Loney Dear, Alele Diane, The Dodos, Fiery Furnaces, Castanets, The Wedding Present, Dead Meadow, The Duchess and the Duke, Franz Ferdinand and many others. In 2010, Simone was among twenty musicians worldwide to be nominated for the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.
Simone’s first collection of personal essays, ‘You Must Go and Win,’ will be published by Faber and Faber on June 7, 2011, simultaneous with the release of her second original full-length album, ‘Make Your Own Danger.’ Best-selling author Neil Gaiman describes You Must Go and Win as “music, religion, Russia and family conjured and dissected with warm humor and sharp eyes.” Novelist John Wray describes the book as, “ a twenty-first century Portrait of the Artist, warts and all… a delight and, in all honesty, an inspiration.”
Simone's new album ‘Make Your Own Danger,’ was produced by Steve Revitte (Liars, Beastie Boys, Black Dice) and recorded in Brooklyn. It features a large cast of musicians and exotic touches like flute, autoharp, horns, Brazilian drumming and vocal loops.
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