t.A.T.u. (Russian: Тату) is a Russian pop music duo consisting of Lena Katina and
Yulia Volkova. The two girls were marketed as a lesbian couple, but their sexual
orientation was the subject of much speculation, until in December 2003 they admitted
on Russian television that they were not in a lesbian relationship together and it
had been exploited as a marketing strategy devised by Ivan Shapovalov. They are notorious
for shocking the public and trying to break taboos.
The original t.A.T.u. concept was developed by a former Russian child psychologist
and marketing executive, Ivan Shapovalov who has become a record producer.
Katina and Volkova knew each other before starting t.A.T.u.; both sang in the popular
Russian children's group, Neposedi, from which Volkova was allegedly banned for "inappropriate
behaviour" (Volkova once implied that it was because she had molested the other girls
in the chorus; later she said it was for smoking, drinking and swearing. Neposedi
denied that she was expelled). Not long after Volkova left Neposedi, Katina did the
Shapovalov originally chose Lena Katina at a casting in 1999 to sing a song about
the war in Yugoslavia. Later, he decided to form a duo and added Yulia Volkova (who
had been in the same casting as Katina). Both were 14 at the time. Elena Kiper, Shapovalov's
former lover and originally deputy manager of t.A.T.u., says that the idea was hers.
She fell asleep at her dentist's, had a dream in which she kissed another woman and
awoke remembering the words "Ya soshla s uma" (meaning "I've lost my mind"), the
title of the song she then wrote the lyrics for what became t.A.T.u.'s first single.
Kiper has also stated that their ideas for the group's image were influenced by the
1998 Swedish film Fucking Åmål, directed by Lukas Moodysson. Shapovalov and Kiper
later fell out over his non-payment of her royalties.
Yulia Volkova was born in the family of a successful businessman in Moscow on February
20th, 1985. At the age of 7, parallel to the ordinary school, Yulia entered a music
school, piano class. When she was 9, Yulia became a member of the famous children
vocal and instrumental group "Neposedy" (The Fidgets). At the casting Yulia sang
the Russian folk song "Oy, to ne vecher".
Lena Katina was born in Moscow on October 04th, 1984 in the family of the famous
musician - Sergey Katin. When she was seven, Lena entered an ordinary school and
within a year she entered music school, piano class. When she was ten, she became
a soloist in the famous children group "Avenue". When she was 13, Lena became a member
of the vocal and instrumental group "Neposedy" (The Fidgets) where she met Yulia
Shapovalov was born on May 28, 1966 in Kotovo, Russia to artist father, Nikolay Aleksandrovich
and physics teacher mother Nadezhda Richardovna. In 1988, Shapovalov graduated from
Saratov Medical Institute, for Child psychology. From 1992 - 1999 he was a marketing
director and advertising director. In 1999, Shapovalov with Voitinskyi, Sergio Galoyan,
Renski and then-lover Elena Kiper, created t.A.T.u.
If in doubt, search it out! I’m a poet and I know it!
Stunning new interview for 2021 t.A.T.u.: 20 years after click HERE
Boris Rensky In spring 2004, Katina and Volkova left their manager Ivan Shapovalov
while they were supposed to be recording their second album because they believed
that the quality of the material was too low. They had a contract with Universal
Music Russia, but their new manager Boris Rensky (who was formerly Shapovalov's business
partner and financier of the group) negotiated a new contract with Universal Music
International. The new contract was for 4 more albums (which included Dangerous and
In March 2009, after the release of Veselye Ulybki in Russia, Boris posted information,
that t.A.T.u.'s project was in hiatus and the girls will concentrate on solo careers.
It didn't mean no plans for t.A.T.u., they released an English version of Happy Smiles,
Waste Management, to promote the upcoming movie "You and I" due for release in Russia
in spring 2011. Lena www.lenakatina.com/ will work with the old management team but
Yulia www.juliavolkova.com/en/ will have a new team.
Feb 2014 - the girls performed together again In Sochi at the Winter Olympic Games.