A Portrait of Singer Katerina Kischuk by Scarlett Carlos Clarke

The London-based artist presents an exclusive portfolio of images of the Sega Bodega-approved musician, who speaks to Zoe Whitfield about her new sound

“I’ve been listening to indie my whole life, which is weird, because I’m not trying to make that kind of music,” asserts Katerina Kischuk, who is photographed here by the artist Scarlett Carlos Clarke, over a video call on Monday night. The London-based, Russian-born singer namechecks industry mainstays Bombay Bicycle Club and Kings of Leon as core examples, later adding relative newcomer Beabadoobee to the list – “I listen to her album on a loop, I love it so much.” And yet it’s true, her new single owes more to pop, electro and UK garage.

Out of Luck is Kischuk’s first musical output since the release of 22K in 2019 (her debut solo album, preceded by a stint in Russian girl group Serebro), during which time she’s had a baby, brought Sega Bodega on board to produce her, and moved from Northampton to the capital. “I have nothing to be scared of now,” she says, alluding to a particularly challenging period that provoked this new era. “With my music, my style, with anything I’m doing I’m confident – I have nothing to lose.” Here, she speaks on what shaped this new sound, and why she can’t wait to work with director Anna Himma.

AnOther Magazine: How did you meet and then come to work with Sega Bodega?

Katerina Kischuk: He messaged me on Instagram. I was trying to find someone to work with in England – I’d just moved here – and one day I posted on my Instagram Stories because I was so lost. I was shocked [when he replied]. This is Sega Bodega, I’ve been listening to his music for ages! I was shy but I sent him a track. It was such a great experience, he’s an amazing person and makes you feel confident and relaxed. He was literally one of the first people who supported me in England.

AnOther Magazine: And when did you start collaborating?

Katerina Kischuk: I don’t really remember, I think my son was about eight months old? We started working together before I moved to London, he was coming to my house. One day Shygirl texted me like, ‘let’s do something together, get in the studio and create’, and she came with him. She’s amazing, so chilled, it felt like I’d known her for ages. We did some great stuff, and she helped me a lot with the lyrics for this first single.

AnOther Magazine: You mentioned the lyrics, can you speak on what inspired Out of Luck?

Katerina Kischuk: It was a really hard period in my life, I don’t know how to explain it. You’re in a situation where you just cannot find the truth. You’re trying to run away as far as you can, but you have no place to go, so you just need to think everything’s going to be OK. It’s really about giving people another chance. I’d had nothing to sing about [before], then some crazy situation started to happen. I was just like, ‘that’s it’.

AnOther Magazine: It feels like quite a departure from your earlier work. Can you tell me about this new direction?

Katerina Kischuk: Doing music in Russia, I couldn’t find people who could do what I really wanted, like the music I’m doing now. This is just one single – my EPs coming – and basically, I’m trying to be a character, like from a cartoon. I’m speaking about sadness, happiness, everything. The most important thing is to give people not just music, but an atmosphere so they can feel what you’ve been feeling. Also, I feel now I have stuff to say. Before, life was kind of boring and I was having problems with self-esteem.

AnOther Magazine: You’re singing in English now, too.

Katerina Kischuk: Yeah, when you sing in English it just means anyone in the world can understand. It’s easier, to be honest. Plus, I’m not really good at lyrics when I’m doing something in Russian, I don’t know why.

AnOther Magazine: In terms of the creative side, will there be a video and is this a part of the industry you enjoy?

Katerina Kischuk: I’m shooting this week! It’s going to be really cool, I’m working with my favorite director, Anna Himma. She’s done videos for Sevdaliza and Tommy Cash. We’re shooting in London and I’m super excited, the treatment is absolutely crazy. It’s a lot of acting, which is what I want to show with the visuals – I never want my videos to be, like, a fashion situation, where I’m just on location and dressed well – I want to show people real lives, so they can kind of find themselves in the video. I want to make tiny movies. This is what I want to do with all my music videos.

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