Russia is an immense and terrifically culturally diverse country, with myriads of ethnic groups, every one with its individual form of pop music. During the course of Soviet authority, Russian pop music as well as Russian culture in general was heavily scrutinized and held within definite limits of novelty and content. After the USSR collapse, western-style pop and rock music became the most well-liked forms of music in Russia.
Some native musicians managed to break through. Among the most outstanding female Russian pop singers of this period are Alsou, Zemfira, and others. In fact, some of the female Russian pop singers of this era have even soared to unbelievable eminences and attained worldwide fame and recognition. The striking example of such success is a well-known Russian pop group T A T U, that features two young female Russian pop singers who joined together to blow up the world's idea of pop music.
T A T U`s two girls, Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina were initially promoted as a lesbian couple, however the sexual orientation of T A T U members was the matter of intense speculation, until in the winter of 2003 the girls discloses on one of the Russian TV channels that they weren't in a lesbian relationship with each other and it had been used as a marketing strategy contrived by their producer, Ivan Shapovalov. These young female Russian pop singers are notorious for trying to break taboos and shocking the public.
The band is widely known for acting impudently and having an impertinent attitude towards the media. Several of their video clips have been forbidden; for example, the video for one of the band's hit songs "Simple Motions" shows how simple motions are all the time in our lives, for instance, reading a book (which Lena Katina does during the course of the video) or masturbating (which is what Yulia Volkova does all through the video).
The video for T A T U's first Russian/English single "I've Lost My Mind" - the original variant of their English single "All the Things She Said" - was forbidden by Russian MTV (after the ban was called off, the clip won People's Choice Award, one of the MTV Russian awards), BBC award and others. The video features the girls dressed up in high school uniforms, behind a fence, calling out in anguish, begging for the forgiveness from parents, shaking the fence, and kissing fervently. And really, with a video like that, who cares if the music is any good!
After gigantic success in their native country, in 2002 T A T U released an English-language version of their debut album "200 mph in the Wrong Lane". The album sold more than five million copies worldwide. In fact, their song "All the Things She Said" was playing as the entry theme of WWE Diva Victoria between December 2002 and May 2004.
In 2003, T A T U represented their country at the Eurovision Song Contest with being the favorites to win. But because of inflamed vocal cords, Yulia Volkova did not attend rehearsals and hence their performance appeared to be rough at first, but ended up quite well. The girls claim they would have come first at Eurovision if the Irish phone votes had been calculated, rather than ending up 3rd. They later declared that "Eurovision is the contest for beginners...we were already veteran artists and only took part because our country asked us to do so."