Vitas (born February 19, 1981), is a Latvian-born Russian pop singer, composer, actor and fashion designer. Much of his music is straightforward pop influenced by techno, and occasionally classical opera.
He has received much of his fame through Russian television and is planning to sign to entertainment labels in countries such as China, Korea, and Japan in order to expand to those markets. Vitas` 2005 video "Opera#2" has been forwarded frequently via the Internet, which accounts for much of his worldwide recognition.
Vitas was born Vitaliy Vladasovich Grachov on February 19, 1981 in Latvia. He first appeared in Russia in December of 2000 with his hit Opera #2, which was notable for use of Vitas` surprisingly high-pitched and energetic countertenor voice.
He had his solo concert at the State Kremlin Palace which has established a record, playing to packed house on March 29, 2002, having been the youngest artist to perform there. Vitas got an invitation from Lucio Dalla, the composer, who created "In Memory of Caruso", to perform this famous song together with the author at the concert "San Remo in Moscow" held in the State Kremlin Palace. Vitas` voice enchanted not only the audience but Mr. Dalla himself. So the composer invited Vitas to come to Rome to take part in the rehearsals of "Toska", the modern version of the legendary opera.
Vitas presented his second solo program "The Songs of My Mother" in the Concert Hall "RUSSIA", Moscow in November 2003. Two albums: "The Songs of My Mother" and "Mama" of the artist were released for the premiere. The album "The Songs of My Mother" included the songs which are considered to be the gold reserves of Russian pop-music. Another album "Mama" included only the new songs composed by Vitas. In March 2003 he gave 264 solo concerts in places including Russia, Australia, U.S., Canada, Israel, Germany, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Belarus.
The album A Kiss As Long As Eternity, released on October 8, 2004, had unprecedented record sales in Russia and CIS; more than 2 million copies were sold in less than half a year. The total number of CDs sold during the period of the singer`s creative activity exceeded 10 million copies.
Vitas`s producer, Sergey Nickolaevich Poudovkin, signed a contract in August 2005 with the Taiwanese record company Avant Garden Records, which planned to release a Vitas album in Taiwan in September 2005. However, as of November 2005, Pudovkin has broken the contract without explanation, thus canceling the release. Around 2004 to 2005, Vitas became the most popular touring artist in Russia. His premiere "The Songs of My Mother" was acknowledged "the best musical event of the year."
In June, 2006, Vitas was invited by CCTV to take part in the grand event "The Year of Russia in China" in Beijing. Vitas performed two songs, "Star" and "Opera #2," in a CCTV`s program specially devoted to "The Year of Russia in China."
Vitas` premiere "Return Home" took place in March, 2007 on the stage of Kosmos. More than 20 new Vitas' compositions were included in the premiere. Many new songs have become favorites for fans via the Internet such as "Crane`s Crying", "Shores of Russia", "I Ask All Saints", "The Little Prince", "I Repeat Your Name" and others.
In October 2007, Vitas was signed with American company Gemini Sun Records. Gemini Sun plans to release his previous DVD and CD releases in the spring of 2008 with new packaging and English subtitles.
The sounds from Vitas` recordings exhibit an unusually high vocal register, which has led many to speculate that his recordings are altered and that his live performances are lip synched. These speculations briefly gained media attention in Russia. Vitas and his producer have both denied the rumors. Fans who attend his concerts continue to assert that Vitas sings live. During a 2003 live performance Vitas swung his microphone away from his voice several times in an attempt to prove that he was singing live.
Ironically, Vitas starred in a murder mystery television series, where he played a pop singer with an unusually high voice. At the end of the series, it turns out that all along his character`s voice had been secretly dubbed by a woman.
Although some accuse Vitas of being a castrato, this vocal range is easily within reach of the classically-trained countertenor or male sopranist. Similar to the "whistle register" of the female voice, the countertenor sings in what many describe as a highly developed falsetto register, although many countertenors claim it is not falsetto.