The lush electronic cabaret-pop of Ilya (known as San Ilya in the U.S.) is the brainchild of songwriter Nick Pullin, singer Joanna Swan, and bassist Dan Brown. Pullin and Swan – who both hail from Bristol, England – began writing and singing songs together, and also performed as a jazz standards duo in their local pubs. Brown saw the pair at one of these gigs, and soon joined the band, adding not just a low end to their sound but a recording space as well. As a trio, they continued to perform at parties and weddings, augmenting standards with their own creative touches borrowed from rock, world, and electronic music. They also recorded in Brown's studio, blending their influences into their own unique sound. By late 2003, Ilya's debut album, They Died for Beauty, was released in Europe. The band made a sizable impact in the States before the release of their album there thanks to the use of their single "Bellisimo" in TV commercials for Revlon's Colorstay makeup. They Died for Beauty arrived on American shores in summer 2004.
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