Alsou Ralifovna Abramova, better known as just Alsou (born on June 27, 1983) is one of the most popular singers in Russia. She competed in Eurovision Song Contest 2000 in which she came in second place giving her recognition all over Europe as well.
Alsou was born in Bugulma, Tatarstan. Her father, Ralif Rafilovich Safin is a former Russian oligarch and a member of the Federal Council, the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament. He is also the owner of the Sochi football team Zhemchuzhina and was named the 100th richest Russian by Forbes Magazine in 2004. Alsou`s mother, Razia Iskhakovna, is an architect. She has two brothers, Renard and Marat. Alsou is an ethnic Tatar.
When Alsou was a year old her family moved from Tartarstan to Siberia. At 5 years old Alsou asked her parents for a piano. She was then allowed to attend a private music school. After living in Moscow due to her father`s business, she then moved New York City and later to the UK where she entered a private architecture college. While living in London Alsou visited Russia often.
At the age of 15 Alsou was introduced to music manager Valeriy Belotserkovskiy. She performed I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and impressed the manager. He began work with Alsou the next day. Her debut Russian album was the self titled Alsou released September 16, 1999. It was very successful in Russia and spawned 3 singles: "Winter Dream (Zimniy Son)", "Spring (Vesna)", "Sometimes (Inogda)". After the huge success of Alsou`s debut Russian album she was signed to Universal Music Russia and became its first domestic artist.
In 2000, Alsou recorded her first English language single "Solo" and was entered into the Eurovision Song Contest 2000, eventually finishing second overall. "Solo" went on to sell 100,000 copies and became the biggest selling single of all time in Russia, surpassed only by her next single, a duet with Enrique Iglesias entitled "You`re my #1". She performed "Solo" again at Congratulations, the 50th anniversary Eurovision concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October 2005.
After her success in Eurovision 2000 Alsou began a big tour in Russia. She celebrated her 17th birthday by performing in her native town of Bugulma, where 85,000 of the 120,000 population gathered in the main square to see her.
During 2000-2001 Alsou began working on her debut English album also called "Alsou", which was released in Russia on June 28th, 2001. It was also released in non Russian countries such as Germany, Norway, Poland, Checz Republic and Malaysia.
The lead single was "Before you love me" was released on April 30, 2001. It was also released in the UK where it was #1 on MTV UK. However it only charted at a disappointing #27 on the UK singles chart. Combined with promotional issues the album was cancelled in the UK. A follow up single, "He loves me" was released in the other countries on October 15, 2001.
Alsou then returned to the studio to begin work on her 2nd Russian language album. "I had an autumn dream (Mne prisnilas osen)" was released in Russia on April 24, 2002. It spawned only 2 singles "Autumn (Osen)", "When Love Comes To Me (Kogda Lubov Ko Mne Pridiot)".
In the summer of 2002 Alsou began a tour of the former Soviet countries. Her new video for an up and coming single "Flying Over The Clouds (Letyashaya Nad Oblakami)" was shown in Russian cinemas before the Russian romantic movie "Atlantida". Alsou had recorded two songs for the movie.
In August more studio sessions began for a 3rd Russian album. Alsou was also preparing for her concerts in Moscow at the same time. The "Trilogy" project was deemed by the local papers as one of the most "important social and cultural events". The uniqueness of the "Trilogy" idea no one singer in the world has given three completely different performances during a period of only 10 days.
The first show was held in concert hall "Rossija", where Alsou performed her old set titled "Alsou And Her Authors", which had never been presented in Moscow before. The second show was an exclusive orchestra concert in Tchaikovsky Hall, where there are only 1500 seats. The third show was a Euro pop show entitled "Solo". It was held in "Olimpiyskiy" Sport Complex and contained new Russian and English songs, with a fantasy oriented set. After the third show Alsou shot a video for the song "Yesterday (Vchera)".
In January 23, 2003 Alsou released her new Russian album entitled "19". The CD was received well by critics, and by April 2003 the sales had reached 500 thousand legal copies. "19" spawned 2 more singles "The First Snow (Perviy Sneg)", and "Water (Etkey)".
After the success of ?19¦ she was nominated to the First National Music Award "Muz-TV". June 5th, 2003 after arriving in Moscow from working in foreign studios, Alsou unexpectedly found herself the winner of the "Best Female Artist" nomination. The voting was held all over Russia, and Alsou couldn`t stop the tears of joy.
In June 2004 Alsou performed in the British mystical thriller Spirit Trap with Billie Piper, Luke Mably, Emma Catherwood and Sam Troughton. The film premiered in August 2005. Alsou`s self written powerful ballad "Teardrops" plays over the credits. The film got poor reviews and small returns at the box office, though it was released on DVD.
On March 18, 2006 Alsou married Yan Abramov, a millionaire, who comes from a Mountain Jewish family. Yan allegedly proposed to her with a fireworks display. On September 7, 2006 Alsou gave birth to a 7lbs daughter named Safina at the famous Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. The name for the girl was chosen by Yan and it is spelled the same as Alsou`s maiden last name, with the accent falling on the second syllable making the only pronunciation difference. It is said to be an ancient Arabic name, which means 'a ship'.
In Winter 2007 she released her single "The Main Thing (Samoe Glavnoe)" in Russia, the video for which was shot when she was pregnant though it is not visible. In June 2007 Alsou shot a video for a new single "Into my love (A u moei ljubvi)" which is set to be her comeback to the Russian market. She has not released there in over 4 years and has been in the US for the past year.