Russia is a vast and tremendously culturally diverse nation, with hundreds of ethnic groups, every one with its own forms of pop music. During the course of the Soviet authority, Russian pop music was very much scrutinized and kept within definite restrictions of content and novelty. And in this very period was the peak of powers of Leonid Utyosov, one of the greatest male Russian pop singers of all time, comic actor and the first of the male Russian pop singers to be awarded the most prestigious title of the USSR, the People's Artist of the USSR.
Leonid Utyosov began his career in 1911 and in 1929 he founded one of the first jazz bands in Soviet Union. His popularity was on the steep rise in the 1930s when he co-starred in the comedy Jolly Fellows with Lyubov Orlova and performed such afterwards perpetuated songs as "At the Samovar Me" and "My Masha" and "Tired from the Sun "(later revived as a theme for the eponymous Oscar-winning movie of Nikita Mikhalkov). On the Victory Day of May 9, 1945 Utyosov performed in Moscow on Red Square. In a large number of his songs, Leonid Utyosov refers to his native city of Odessa, where in 2000 a monument to him was set up.
After the USSR breakdown, western-style pop and rock music became the most well-liked forms of music in Russia. Some native musicians managed to break through. And one of the male Russian pop singers of the new wave who was able to come to the fore was Ilia Lagutenko, the enigmatic lead singer and a rhythm guitarist of the Mumiy Troll band who is well-known for his regular use of appealing mimics evocative of cats.
Ilia Lagutenko was born in Moscow, the capital of Russia. Shortly following his birth, Ilia`s father died and the family moved to the eastern Vladivostok. At school the boy became engaged in studying Chinese and also sang with a choir of children that took him to numerous cities of Russia as they took trips through most parts of the country. In 1992, Lagutenko graduated from the University as a specialist in the Africa and Far East. Later he worked in Great Britain and China with a commercial consulting company. In 1983, he set up his rock band Mumi Troll, which was soon renamed Mumiy Troll. Ilia Lagutenko shares his residence between Moscow, Riga and London. He has a son of 17 years of age and he is divorced. He has been awarded "2005 Man of the Year" title by "Glamour" magazine.
Lagutenko has a cameo role of a vampire in a Russian movie "The Night Watch". Ilia and his band also have written a soundtrack to Russian blockbuster "The Book Thieves", which was later released as a band`s official album.
And another striking personality of the community of famous male Russian pop singers of the new generation is Vitas, who had his debut in Russia in winter of 2000 with his hit "#2 Opera" and amazed the public with his energetic soprano voice. Vitas has a distinct style in his music videos and songs. He creates music with a broad range of genres. Remarkably, his "Blessed Guru" video has a very peculiar style. He has also been featured on Russian television. In the long run, Vitas is expected to become more familiar to the world as he is preparing to sign contracts in countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong.