Singer Marina Abrosimova (MakSim) is one of the most famous and successful contemporary artists in Eastern Europe. In 2006, when she was just 23, she released her first album “The Awkward Age”. It sold 1.5 million copies and made the young woman the most commercially successful singer in Russia. One year later, during the MTV Russian Music Awards ceremony, MakSim was recognized as the “Best performer”. In only a couple of years, a simple girl from a small Russian village managed to achieve what even many recognized stars have been trying to achieve for years. At the peak of her popularity, she wasn’t afraid to risk it all and made another important decision – to temporarily leave the stage for her family. MakSim gave birth to a daughter and, for some time, was immersed in household affairs. Now, she is returning to the stage and claims that her work, as well as herself, have progressed to a much more mature and conscious level. YT reporter Dmitry Povazhniy met with the singer to talk about her childhood, her career, and her children, as well as about the role of family in life.
There is a lot of information on the internet suggesting that your first songs were written about yourself. Tell me, how did your creative work start?
There is a lot of stuff written on the Internet. In fact, songs about the real me are beginning to appear in my work just now. I started to look closely at my inner circle and began thinking about fate, and about what is happening around me. At that time, they were mostly fantasies. I was projecting unknown emotions onto myself. I invented stories and then I couldn’t stand them anymore, and I just wanted to cry. However, these emotions didn’t exist in reality.
When did you start to take your performances seriously, when did you realize that singing is your profession?
Right from the start. I had a serious attitude towards my work and my audience from the very beginning. I believe that the relationship between the audience and the artist is very important. What is more important is to not lose this bond when there comes a time of endless flights and transfers, and when the show must go on. In such a time, it’s difficult to resist the feeling that you are on a conveyor belt. However, I was lucky as I temporarily left the stage, had a baby and then returned to my work with more consciousness. I think that I was able to become a good mom, while remaining a sane artist, each time making a quality show with a fire in my eyes.
Are the ideas and projects that you use on stage yours, or do you work on them with your partner?
My only partner is the audience. I try to connect with my fans as much as possible. In that sense, I am a public person. However, it is still difficult for me to consider someone a friend. The way I see it is that I have some supporters. Thus, the only way I can open myself to the world is through my work. The stage is the place where I feel most comfortable. Somehow, I have never had a team of producers and directors. I have always tried to do my work in a way for it to be more of an art then a business.
You left home when you were 18 years old. That’s a fairly young age. How did your parents react?
First of all, I prepared them for such a turn of events. They had a lot of difficulties with me. I had a very bad temper. They understood that it was useless to argue with me. The more you argue, the less a child will listen to you. This period of time was very hard, for both my parents and me. At 14 years old, I started working in night clubs and restaurants. Obviously, it was very hard for my mom, an educator and a teacher, to understand how come her child comes home at 3 o’clock in the morning and claims to be independent and being able to earn her own money. Of course, I was told “You are not going anywhere, this won’t end well”. As a result, my parents came up with a condition: to graduate from high school with good grades and to pursue a university degree! It was very important for my mother that her children study well and get a good education. Therefore, I had to fulfill my parent’s expectations. After high school, I was admitted to university in the faculty of public relations.
When did your parents realize that their daughter wouldn’t get lost?
Surely when they saw that I was really independent and that I actually didn’t get lost. I didn’t follow the usual path. I always repeat that my way is not the right way and that it usually leads to drugs, alcoholism and an undesirable life in general. Therefore, my mother was reassured when she saw that I grew up, became independent, got my own home… In reality, we are both very different. However we have a very close relationship. We are the most important people for each other. During my whole life, she simply tried to make me more like herself, and I tried to explain that we are different.
You have certainly noticed that today, more and more women occupy leadership positions, regardless of the activity. Do you think that it’s possible, on one hand, to give a child the necessary care and, on the other hand, to built a career?
That’s a difficult question. One thing I know for sure is that in my case, I can’t differentiate between my work and my life. My friends ask me: “What is more important for you?”. I find this question silly and strange. I have never had an actual job. I am an artist, a musician, and I am still the same person even though I became a mother. Surely, that is why my daughter also has a creative personality. She is already old enough and at three years, oddly enough, understands many things.
Do you trust your mother with your daughter?
No, not really. Even though, I know that nothing will happen to her. However, my mom is a real educator. She can tell the child: “Don’t go there!” or “You can’t do this!”. I could never understand, why not?! During my childhood, I was very curious why other kids could, but I couldn’t. My child is only “forbidden” from something that can be life threatening. Maybe, it’s not completely right and, perhaps, in some way, I am being careless. Or maybe, it’s excessive love.
But in fact the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is as important as that between parents and children.
I agree. Of course, they communicate. But to leave my daughter to my mom for a month… I can’t do that. However, when grandma comes over – that’s a different story. They get along very well with each other.
Today, more and more people shut themselves off from each other. They talk less and become aggressive to each other. Nepotism, kindness and friendliness are not being advocated anymore. You have a job you love, you are a mother and you have a daughter. What do you think about that, and how, in your opinion, can this situation be improved, at least a little bit?
This is a sensitive issue. I see how my child is growing up; I recall how I grew up. For example, I remember that when I was a little girl, my friends and I raised abandoned kittens in our backyard. Today, when I go to my mothers’ house and I see a kitten, I ask her: “Mom, where are all the kids? Why aren’t they catching them and playing with them?”. There is nobody in the backyards anymore. At three years old, kids already have computer games and my daughter is interested in them too. I do not understand that. It’s very important for me that my daughter communicates and learns to build relationships with other people. I am a little afraid of what will happen with her in the future. How will I send her to kindergarten, to school? I have a feeling that she is not ready.
In show business in general, as well as in the Russian pop scene, such artists as MakSim are rare. She is talented and solid, persistent and delicate, modern and romantic. It seems that she has combined in herself qualities that can’t be matched, while maintaining an absolute identity. But most importantly, she is sincere and open in any of her hypostasis, both on stage and in the family.
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