The Internet is such a strange universe. Random people become viral and are seen by millions one day, and the next one they’re long forgotten. Through memes or funny videos, normal people receive the “viral” status in a few hours, and, though we all recognize them, they are nothing but complete strangers to most of us. That’s what happened, at least for most Western browsers, with this man that became an Internet sensation. We all have seen him and even shared his videos on social media as if he were just another meme to ease and entertain our routine life. But, did you know this guy is an actual artist that has more fame than the one he acquired in the past years? Beyond his peculiar songs, forward futuristic fashion, and unique tongue rolling effects, this alien-like Russian character wants us to challenge our musical taste and the way we consume this artistic disciplines nowadays.
Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Vitas, whose real name is Vitaly Grachov, became the ultimate entertaining sensation on social media this year. Not only his extravagant looks and dance moves make him standout from the rest, but his high range voice and distinctive guttural sounds earned him the right of being a viral phenomenon. More than just a character who encountered extreme fame through the viralization of his content, he is an actual superstar in many countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. Perhaps the word superstar doesn’t quite explain Vitas’ popularity, particularly the one he enjoyed a few years ago, where people queued to see him perform and bought one of his already 16 released albums and DVDs.
Apparently, creative talent runs in his family. His father was a soloist and his grandfather, as he claims in an interview, used to sing in a military chorus. And that’s not it, his mother used to be a fashion designer which is something he’s very interested in as well, having himself designed his own fashion line that has also reached incredible popularity. But what is it about his style or music that creates two completely different effects in people in both hemispheres of the globe? How come does it sounds strange, unsettling, or even funny for those in the “West” and have the opposite outcome in the “East”?
Though I hate making distinctions between “the West” and “the East”, it’s true that there are still some cultural differences between these two parts of the world, proof of this is Vitas’ work which has been consumed and well received by Eastern European and Asian audiences. However, no matter how strange he might sound to us, we can’t deny that behind his tongue-rolling techniques and high vibratos, there’s something that lures us to keep watching him perform his unique songs, and that is called preparation. Vitas attended art school where he developed his voice which features, despite using it mainly to sing techno, dance, and folk music, allow him to sing opera and other classic genres.
It’s this diversity in sounds and techniques what made him an instant star in Russia, where he became the youngest solo artist to perform at the Kremlin. To his surprise, he also became a massive success in China. As he stated it, he’s quite sure that the reason behind this unsuspected triumph is due to his singularity and uncommonness. And, to be honest, though I first heard about him in a meme, he does have something addictive that keeps you wanting for more. Perhaps it’s his voice that allures you or the fact that he’s always making some strange stares at the camera as if he were hypnotizing the audience, but there’s no doubt that he manages to capture your attention.
You’d think that this sudden change in his career from Eastern-Europe superstar to global meme has affected him, but he’s rather happy to see things turned out like that for him. He does this to entertain, and every artist desires for their work to be consumed. What remains and keeps being a subject of discussion is what he thinks makes him unique, his alien-like uncommonness. At the end of the day, don’t we all aspire to that uniqueness and distinction? So, lucky him since his music has given a world stage that has created different emotions wherever on the globe.
What do you think?
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