Zemfira Talgatovna Ramazanova (born 26 August 1976 in Ufa) is the leader and lead vocalist of the Russian rock group "Zemfira". The group was formed in 1998 and has been immensely popular in Russia and other former Soviet republics.
An ethnic Tatar, she was born to a typical middle-class family - her mother is a doctor, and her father a history teacher. At the age of 4, Zemfira became interested in music, entering a music school the following year and writing her first song when she was seven years old. Her older brother Ramil introduced her to rock music, which became a real passion ? she listened to Black Sabbath, Nazareth and Queen, learning to play the guitar. In the 7th grade, Zemfira split her time between music and basketball, becoming the captain of the Russian Girls` Junior Basketball Team by 1990. She began to lose interest in classical music, preferring instead to hang out with friends in the streets of Ufa and covering songs by Russian rock groups such as Kino, Nautilus Pompilius and Aquarium.
At the urging of her mother, Zemfira continued with piano studies and graduated music school with honors. In her last year of high school, basketball competed with school work, and the singer abandoned the sport in favour of music. She took the entrance exams for the Ufa College of Fine Arts on a whim, and was admitted into the second year, studying vocal performance. During college, she performed jazz and rock-n-roll standards in various local bars and restaurants with the accompaniment of her friend and saxophone player, Vlad Kolchin. She graduated with honors, and in 1996 took a job as a sound engineer at the Ufa subsidiary of the radio station "Europe Plus".
For the next couple of years Zemfira spent her days making advertisement recordings at the station and her nights on a computer, where she recorded the songs that would become singles: Why (Почему), Snow (Снег), Weatherman (Синоптик). In early 1998 Zemfira invited Rinat Akhmadiyev, Sergei Sozinov, Sergei Mirolyubov, and Vadim Solovyov to join Zemfira. Their first professional gig took place on June 19, 1998 as part of a festival celebrating the anniversary of a local radio station ?Silver Rain Ufa.? Shortly after Zemfira sent out promo tapes to multiple Moscow producers, one of whom (Ilya Lagutenko, leader of Mumiy Troll) was smitten with the material, and invited the band for some sessions in Moscow.
Recording and production work on the debut album took place until May 10, 1999, when the debut was finally released. The promotion of Zemfira prior to the release included heavy rotation of singles AIDS (СПИД), Arrivederchi (Aриведерчи), and Rockets (Ракеты) as well as the video clips for those songs. The band immediately went on tour, starting a tradition of celebrating their beginnings with a summer concert in Ufa while recording their second album Forgive Me My Love (Прости Меня Моя Любовь). The group enjoyed immense popularity from the start, in part because of heavy rotation on radio and television, and in part because a female rocker is a fairly new and unusual concept for the Russian music scene.
After the release of PMML (Russian abbreviation for Forgive Me My Love) in March of 2000, what can only be described as ?Zemfiromania? swept the country. Searching (Искала) and Ripe (Созрела) became instant hits, and the group was invited to headline the festival MAXIDROM. Constant touring wore down on the band, and after the release of 14 Weeks of Silence the band took a break.
In September 2004 Zemfira began studies towards a degree in Philosophy at Moscow State University, releasing her 4th album Vendetta to much hype and rave reviews in 2005.
In May and June 2007 Zemfira embarked on a short concert tour titled "Déjà Vu", with performances held in smaller venues (clubs and small theatres). The tour culminated with a Moscow performance at the Green Theatre. The tour program focused on stylish remakes of the singer`s top hits, often reworked is styles such as jazz, ska, bossa nova, and blues. A new album, Thank You (Спасибо), was released at the beginning of October. It is described by Zemfira herself as "very positive", in contrast to what she terms the "restlessness" of Vendetta.