Maneuvering between grandiose retro motifs and a surprising sincerity, Michelle Gurevich’s songs are tragicomic, melody-driven, sentimental and suspended in shadowy glamour. Her 4th and latest release New Decadence continues in her tradition of dark realism combined with humour in smoky and intimate ballads delivered with cutting and fatalistic lyrics.
Her story began when her bedroom-produced debut album Party Girl, by some fateful unknown hand was delivered to the land of her forefathers, and soon made its way blaring from the yachts of Russian billionaires and as the ringtones of mothers all over the Ukraine. The daughter of a Kirov ballerina and an engineer from Leningrad, Michelle grew up listening to her parents’ collection of Soviet and 70’s European records. Her music has drawn comparisons to Nico and Leonard Cohen, Soviet era singing stars such as early Alla Pugacheva, with a voice akin to Tanita Tikaram. Initially operating under the moniker “Chinawoman”, in 2016 she announced a switch to her real name which included the re-release of all previous albums. Decadent, dramatic and earnest, vintage keyboards and synth strings offer the solitary rendition of a grand experience, and a voice always upfront delivers motifs familiar yet impossible to pinpoint from the great soup of European chanson.
With shows regularly selling out in cities like Istanbul, Moscow, Berlin and Athens, Michelle has established a niche that includes the East European diaspora, the Berlin queer scene and their grandmothers, and those with a taste for the melodramatic balladry of Aznavour, Zeki Müren and Lucio Dalla. While her concerts include more live aspects and a line-up of musicians, her albums have all been recorded in the same bedroom manner, maintaining an intimacy and singleness of expression – from her bedroom to yours. A genre based partly on elements of melody and style, but moreso, a signature fatalist-celebratory approach to songwriting.
From the first note unceremoniously grabs the soul—that same melancholy that always finds resonance in the Russian heart—and never lets go.
– Andrei Buharin (4 stars) Rolling Stone
Her music evokes images of Soviet Ballrooms of the 80s and Douglas Sirk melodramas… But for all the grandiosity, you wouldn’t expect that all her albums were produced and recorded in her bedroom.
– Stil in Berlin
Mysterious, twisted and lush.
– Kevin Hegge, Now Magazine