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Information about t.A.T.u.t.A.T.u. (Russian: Та́ту translated: "This that", in feminine grammatical gender form, like "She Her") is a Russian duo formed in Moscow, Russia in 1999 (14 years ago) by Ivan Shapovalov. The group consists of Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova. They are the most succesful Russian band of all time, having sold millions of their albums worldwide. Early on, Katina and Volkova put forth an image (wallpaper) of a lesbian couple, but their 2003 (10 years ago) documentary, Anatomy of t.A.T.u., made it clear that this was just an image (wallpaper) and that they were not really lesbians.
In 2004 (9 years ago), the group took a hiatus after they split from their producer. In 2005 (8 years ago), they released Dangerous and Moving and Lyudi Invalidy. During 2006 (7 years ago), t.A.T.u. released a compilation album and then ventured on their own after negotiating out of their contract with Universal Music.
A third Russian studio album, titled Vesyolye Ulybki was released on 21 Oct. 2008 (5 years ago) on iTunes, the official t.A.T.u. web shop, and select Soyuz stores in Moscow. There is still no confirmed release date, or title, for its English counterpart.
On Mar. 2009 (4 years ago), Insider announced that the full-time t.A.T.u. operation would be ceased upon releasing the third video as promised. Katina and Volkova will continue to promote their movie You and I.
On 27 Mar. 2009 (4 years ago). An interview with both Katina and Volkova was posted on their websites media blog. In this, it was stated that Lena and Yulia would both go solo, but the girls would still keep t.A.T.u. alive. Katina said "From now on there will be not only t.A.T.u., but also Yulia and me as two different artists." Meaning that the girls will be working on both their solo careers, and t.A.T.u. respectively. Katina will also be working with the t.A.T.u. team in correspondence with her solo career. As one of the most successful pop groups in Europe, t.A.T.u. has sold over 15 millions of CDs and singles worldwide.
Band memberst.A.T.u.'s band has played with them since touring around 2002 (11 years ago).
1999–2000: Formation of t.A.T.u.Ivan Shapovalov and his friend/business partner Alexander Voitinskyi developed plans to create a musical project in Russia. With this idea in mind, Shapovalov and Voitinskyi organized auditions in Moscow in early 1998 (15 years ago) for teenage female vocalists. By the end of auditioning, the partners narrowed their search down to ten girls, including ex-members of the group Neposedi, Katina and Volkova. Both girls stood out among the others, especially because of their appearance and vocal experience, but the producers decided to start with 13 year-old Lena Katina, who sang "It Must Have Been Love" by Roxette. Katina began recording demos, including "Yugoslavia" a song about NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. After the demos were cut, Shapovalov insisted that another girl be added to the project. Thus, in late Oct. 1998 (15 years ago), 13 year old Yulia Volkova was added to the group.
After completing the duo, the producers decided on the name Тату (TATU). It is a shortened version from the Russian "Eta devochka lyubit' tu devochku", meaning "This girl loves that girl". For the release of their first English-language album, they decided to go by t.A.T.u., using uppercased letters and periods to differentiate between an already existing Australian band also named "Tatu."
Over the next year, Katina and Volkova recorded songs with their producers. At some point, Voitinskyi left the project, and Shapovalov decided to sign Elena Kiper as co-producer and co-writer for their debut album.
1999–2003: 200Km/h in the Wrong Lane/200 Po VstrechnoiThe first single was completed in Autumn 1999 (14 years ago), entitled Ya Soshla S Uma (Literally, "I've lost my mind", released in English as "All The Things She Said"). It was not physically and formally released until dec. 2000 (13 years ago). The song describes the turmoil in a girl's soul because she is in love with another girl, but is afraid to as she has the society frowning upon her and asks her parents for forgiveness. Elena Kiper has been credited with the song, and has said that the idea came to her when she fell asleep at her dentist's office, and had a dream in which she kissed another woman. She woke up with the words: "Ya soshla s uma." Ivan added the second phrase of the chorus "Mnye nuzhna Ona" ("I need her").
Also in May, t.A.T.u. represented Russia at Eurovision Song Contest 2003 (10 years ago), where they placed third. They decided to sing "Ne Ver', Ne Boysia", but because of Volkova's inflamed vocal cords she did not take part in rehearsals, and their final performance was rough at the beginning. The girls were placed third but claimed they would have won if the Irish telephone votes had been counted - a technical fault within eircom led to a jury deciding placings (it was also notable that, despite a #1 single in Ireland, they weren't awarded any points by the jury). The jury had voted on the rehearsal performance, where only Katina performed. They later stated, "Eurovision is for beginners... we were already artists and only attended because our country asked us to attend". Russia protested the Eurovision results but to no avail. During the same year, in a concert in Istanbul they sang Sertab Erener's song "Every Way That I Can" (Sertab Erener was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest that year).
2003–2004: Hiatus/ReformationOn 26 sep. 2003 (10 years ago), the act released a compilation CD of remixes, titled Remixes. In Nov. 2003 (10 years ago), the CD was released in Russia, with two new tracks, and videos. The two new tracks were "Prostiye Dvizheniya" (which was previously released as a single but had not appeared on a commercial release before) and "Ne Ver, Ne Boysya."
A DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) compilation of t.A.T.u.'s music videos and more titled Screaming for More was released on 24 Nov. 2003 (10 years ago).
Anatomy of t.A.T.u. aired on Russian TV on 12 dec. 2003 (10 years ago). The documentary revealed that the girls were not lesbians, and chronicled the group as they took part in Eurovision, earlier in the year.
In dec. 2003 (10 years ago), t.A.T.u. legally broke their contract with Ivan Shapovalov, and Neformat. In the months before the split, t.A.T.u. and Shapovalov were being filmed for a reality show on STS in Russia titled Podnebesnaya. The show chronicled the group as they were recording their second album, but to little success, with their producer, Ivan Shapovalov. The documentary aired on Russian TV from Jan. to Mar. 2004 (9 years ago). There were many rumors around the split until the show aired, which depicted the group leaving due to a lack of interest and care from their producer. They also claimed the quality of the music being produced was too low, and that Shapovalov was only interested in creating scandals. Volkova stated, "He [Ivan] spends his time thinking up scandals instead of planning our artistic work. I'm sure our fans would rather hear new songs and new albums than new scandals."
In one of the final episodes, Volkova mentioned about returning to the U.S. in the following spring, (Spring 2004 (9 years ago)), to record with new producers. However, soon after, she became pregnant, and recording was delayed.
2004–2006: Lyudi Invalidy/Dangerous and Movingt.A.T.u performing in Oct. 2005 (8 years ago).On 23 sep. 2004 (9 years ago), Volkova gave birth to Viktoria (Vika) Pavlovna Volkova.
Volkova soon joined Katina and previous producer, Sergio Galoyan in the studio. The group was backed by their record label, Universal Music International in finding adequate songs and production to release a new album.
In Aug. 2005 (8 years ago), "All About Us" and "Lyudi Invalidy" were announced to be the first singles from the English and Russian albums, respectively.
t.A.T.u. released their second English album on 5 Oct. 2005 (8 years ago) titled Dangerous and Moving. Its Russian counterpart was released on 19 October, titled Lyudi Invalidy.
The second single was "Friend or Foe." Soon after the video was released, the group's management replaced drummer Roman Ratej with Steve Wilson, and appointed a new bassist, Domen Vajevec.
On 17 Apr. 2006 (7 years ago), t.A.T.u. returned to reality TV in Russia with t.A.T.u. Expedition, which was broadcast on the Russian music channel Muz Tv. It chronicled the release of their second album, and recording the video for their third single, "Gomenasai" which was released during the airing of the show. t.A.T.u. performed in St. Petersburg, Russia on 28 Apr. kicking off their Dangerous and Moving Tour. On 30 Aug. 2006 (7 years ago), the official website announced that the girls had left their record company, Universal/Interscope.
On 21 Nov. 2006 (7 years ago), the region of the Komi Republic in Russia filed a lawsuit against t.A.T.u. over the album and song "Lyudi Invalidy". Leonid Vakuev, a human rights representative for the Komi Republic, cited words written in the booklet for the album, which said: "Disabled people [Lyudi Invalidy] do not know what it means to be a human being. They are fakes inside the human form. They do not live, but — function". Katina said, "Of course, we meant moral invalids, people who do not have a soul and human feelings." When asked if they had anything against disabled people, she stated that she finds it offensive to refer to people by that term, and added, "We take pictures (wallpaper) together and make sure they have priority seats [at concerts]."
2007-2009: Vesyoyle Ulybki/Happy SmilesOn 17 May 2007 (6 years ago), t.A.T.u. issued a statement directed to their gay fans: "When t.A.T.u.'s second album came out, many of our fans of alternative sexual orientation thought that we lied and betrayed them. This is not true! We’ve never done that and we’ve always advocated love without boundaries." On 26 May, they flew out to Moscow to take part in the Moscow Gay Pride demonstration.
On 12 sep. 2007 (6 years ago) the group released the concert DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) "Truth". It was the group's first release since leaving Universal. In late 2007 (6 years ago), "Beliy Plaschik", the lead single from their upcoming Russian-language album was released. The project was then known as "Upravleniye Otbrosami", which translates to "Waste Management". The second single, "220", made its radio premiere in May 2008 (5 years ago) and the music video was released on their official YouTube channel on 5 Jun. 2008 (5 years ago). "Beliy Plaschik" and "220" were the main attractions on a special release known as "Hyperion-Plate", the first-ever EP from the band. The EP was released on 8 May 2008 (5 years ago) and featured multimedia content including music, video, ringtones, wallpapers, and more. To promote the EP and their forthcoming album, t.A.T.u. performed live shows in Russia, Germany, France, Dubai, Italy, Egypt, and the United States.
At the time of the "Hyperion-Plate" release, "Upravleniye Otbrosami / Управление отбросами" was scheduled to hit the stores in Jun. 2008 (5 years ago). The EP featured a poster which advertised that date, as well as a coupon redeemable for a discount on the album that expired on 30 Jun. 2008 (5 years ago). However, the release schedule abruptly stalled on 5 Jun. 2008 (5 years ago), when t.A.T.u.'s manager Boris Renski announced that Yulia Volkova was seriously ill. Volkova's illness forced the cancellation of a concert in Santa Clara, CA, and the singer was not seen in public until the wedding of producer Sergey Konov on 5 Jul. 2008 (5 years ago). The band returned to work in late August, when it was reported that t.A.T.u. would be the face of fashion designer Marc Jacobs's fall and winter campaigns in Russia.
t.A.T.u performing in Moscow in sep. 2008 (5 years ago).On 9 sep. 2008 (5 years ago), a press release appeared on the band's official website that declared that the forthcoming album would be titled "Vesyolye Ulybki" ("Happy Smiles") instead of "Upravleniye Otbrosami" ("Waste Management"). The name change reflected sarcastic comments about the state of the Russian music business made by Volkova and Katina in an interview with Moscow's Time Out Magazine. The press release also provided the tracklist of the album and an early version of its cover art, but still no confirmed release date was given. On 12 September, the album's third single, "You and I" made its debut on Love Radio. The press release disappeared from the site shortly afterward, only to re-appear on 8 Oct. with a change made to the cover art --- where there was once the face of a smiling astronaut on the original design, a black square now appeared.
On 15 October, t.A.T.u.'s website announced that "Vesyolye Ulybki" would be released on 21 Oct. 2008 (5 years ago), beginning with a special event at two Soyuz record stores in Moscow where fans could meet the girls and get their autographs. The album also went on pre-sale at the official t.A.T.u. web shop on 18 October, with a small number of buyers receiving a limited-edition postcard set as a prize. The songs were also made available internationally through the iTunes digital music store. Upon its release, it became apparent that the album essentially had two covers --- the astronaut cover was a slipcase, while the original design used for "Upravleniye Otbrosami" appeared inside. The black square from the press release had been hiding a Mars scene.
On 23 October, t.A.T.u. appeared on Vladimir Polupanov's "The 7 Premieres" to promote their new album. They are also the subjects of an ongoing mini-reality series on the website Russia.ru. The show follows the girls in their daily lives, much like 2006's t.A.T.u. Expedition.
On 21 Oct. 2008 (5 years ago) "Vesyolye Ulybki" was released internationally on the iTunes and Amazon music stores.
On 28 Nov. t.A.T.u were awarded the Legend of MTV at the MTV Russia Music Awards 2008 (5 years ago).
In Mar. 2009 (4 years ago), a statement was released on the band's site and MySpace stating that the band will no longer be a "full-time" project and that Katina and Volkova were working on solo projects. This post also mentioned that an extended version of Happy Smiles will be sold on their official website, a special version is being made for Amazon.com in jewel-case format with new remixes and that the album would be released on vinyl on the t.A.T.u shop. They also mentioned that the third video will be released on 17 Apr. on MTV Russia. This video includes Yulia and Lena after filming the video for 220, riding off on motorcycles. While driving vigorously on their bikes they are surrounded by police officers and make the decision to drive their bikes into each other, choosing death over captivity.
The girls performed a special concert at the Eurovision Song Contest on the 10th of May. They were also included as an interval act on the 12th at the 1st semi finals, performing Not Gonna Get Us with the Russian Army Choir.
On Jul. 13, the English version of "Snegopady", named "Snowfalls", will be released to the playlist of MTV Baltic.On Jul. 14, Snowfalls was released on Amazon.com's MP3 Store. It has yet to appear on iTunes. It's unknown if the third English album will soon follow, although, according to Lena Katina, it's set for release this fall.
ProductionWhen t.A.T.u. was first formed by Shapovalov, the group's production company Neformat was born, with Shapovalov and Renski at the head. In 2004 (9 years ago), the company was dissolved when t.A.T.u. left Shapovalov.
T.A. MusicSince 2005 (8 years ago), T.A. Music has been the production company of t.A.T.u., which is located in Moscow, Russia. The liner notes that accompanied the release of Dangerous and Moving said that the company was composed of t.A.T.u., Boris Renski, Dasha Mischenko,and Andrey Artischev.
After t.A.T.u. broke ties with Universal Music in 2006 (7 years ago), it was finally announced in 2008 (5 years ago) that T.A. Music would become the standing record label for t.A.T.u., although only currently in the Russian market. Boris Renski is still currently the band's manager.
T.A. Music was the label under which Happy Smiles was released internationally on iTunes. T.A. Music will now act as the label and management company for Lena Katina's solo project.
t.A.T.u. is one of the first Russian groups to be known internationally.
t.A.T.u foreverIn Mar. 2009 (4 years ago), an Insider statement was released on the band's site and MySpace stating that the band will no longer be a 'full-time' project and that the girls were working on solo projects. This post also mentioned that an extended version of "Весёлые улыбки" will be sold on their official website, and a special version is being made for Amazon.com in jewel-case format with new remixes and that the album would be released on vinyl on the t.A.T.u shop. They also mentioned that the third video will be released by the end of Mar. or beginning of Apr. 2009 (4 years ago). The girls will not close t.A.T.u. but they will have a break for Yulia's & Lena's solo careers.
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