On first meeting Tatiana I wondered how someone so petite can produce such powerful vocals.
But Tatiana Okupnik, who born in Lodz, Poland in 1978 has had to be strong since she was a youngster because life was certainly tough.
“I recall having no shoes as a child and queuing each month for a ration of toilet paper. We would have the paper on a chain around our necks; we called it the Polish Louis Vuitton bag!
“I grew up listening to Led Zeppelin and the best of western rock and pop on cassettes recorded by my parents from Radio Luxembourg and the BBC. Music was played endlessly in our house.
“As a little girl I was in love with Robert Plant and influenced by the music of Hendrix and Janis Joplin, particularly her version of ‘Summertime’ I used to try to copy it exactly.
“Polish film music and jazz were also a big part of my listening.
“Contemporary teen bands were not really my thing. I'm into real music, not synthetic chart stuff. That's why I must have been the only girl in my class who didn’t like New Kids on the Block.”
By the mid 1990s, Tatiana started singing and taking dance lessons aiming for a career in entertainment. “I studied ballet at the National School of Ballet,” she says, adding that when painful bones ended those dreams she focused on her music.
By 1998, Tatiana had become the lead singer for Polish band Blue Cafe. Blue Cafe, known for their soulful and Latin-influenced pop, were a Polish national sensation, and notched up a platinum album in ‘Fanaberia’ (2002) and a gold in ‘Demi Sec’ (2004). Tatiana subsequently became a massive Polish radio and TV personality hosting two series of the Polish Dancing On Ice TV show.
In 2006 Tatiana went solo, as well as finding time to graduate from university with fluent English, French and Spanish.
She released a solo album for the Polish market ‘On My Own’ in 2007, which was produced in New York by jazz-funk legend Lenny White. The album went gold.
“I felt that the Polish music market had offered me all the opportunities it could - and opportunities I will be grateful for forever. But I didn't want to stay in the same place and become part of the furniture - I wanted to evolve.”
This career move took Tatiana to London in 2010, where she started working with the new musical team behind her current debut international solo album ‘Spider Web’.
“I would like to reach out to a whole new group of people here in the UK.
“I've been working at great studios like Sarm, where the history is just immense. This is the place where Led Zeppelin 4 was recorded, and where Bob Marley lived. The piano we used in Studio 2 was the same one that was recorded on Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s fantastic; I could go on and on.
“London is the capital of the European music business; There are simply more possibilities to try out different things with a wide variety of people. This is a hugely international city and there are outlets for virtually any kind of music. I feel like I am putting my skills and talent to the ultimate test by recording and playing live here.
“I've put my heart and soul into my new album ‘Spider Web’, and so did everyone who worked on it. It's a classic pop album with great songwriting and a cool twist. It's absolutely real. If you listen carefully you can hear the sounds of each and every one of the musicians having some serious fun.
“Now the album is finished we are getting the live show ready. (Wardrobe Club in Leeds on March 3rd) ‘Spider Web’ will translate really well live I would like to think that the emotional impact of my voice is big like some of my idols.
“This is an exciting time and it's exactly where I want to be now. Feeling the connection with a live audience, though, that is really what music is about for me.”
She has come a long way from the little girl who had no shoes.
Tatiana's debut UK Single ‘Spider Web’ released April 11th 2011, from the debut UK album of the same name available from May 2nd 2011.
For more information visit www.tatianaofficial.com