Exclusive: Interview with EMIN on Musical Experimentation and Global Expansion

Emin Agalarov aka EMIN is an Azerbaijani-Russian singer-songwriter and a businessman. With more than a decade of experience as a musician, EMIN has garnered a name for himself as an artist in his home country and has been slowly creating an audience base abroad.

The singer-songwriter had recently released a single titled “Let Me Go”. Released in collaboration with Robin Schulz, the music video depicts the protagonist’s appreciation of art while the lyrics showcase a story of lovers who can’t give up on their love.

With a business to back up all his dreams, it might seem that EMIN has had it easy. Instead, the ride has been anything but easy. In an interview with CelebMix, EMIN talks about his musical journey, his vision of expansion for countries beyond Russia and his future projects.

Hi Emin! Your music industry and the world of business is not unknown. So, we would like to know how the journey (as an artist) has been until now?

It’s been a beautiful journey so far.  Part of the journey has been abroad and part of the journey in Russia. But it all started with Elvis.  

In one of your interviews, you touched upon the challenges one face when they are not financially dependent on music (in terms of people’s perception). In the hindsight, being independent of financial woes allows one to experiment more but a lot of behind-the-scenes preparations are overlooked by the spectators. Considering that you have been creating music for years now, has the perception changed?

I think the perception has definitely changed, and over time, some of the skepticism has disappeared because the music always speaks for itself.  When you hear a song on the radio and you’re not familiar with the artist, you don’t consider whether or not that artist is financially independent or whether there’s a label behind the artist.  You simply like or don’t like the song. In my case, I guess over time, I’ve grown my audience through good music and that’s always been the key for me.

With more than a decade of experience as a musician, how do you see your evolution as a vocalist and a performer? What kinds of styles would you like to experiment with, in the near future?

Well I always like experimenting with different styles and lately I’ve chosen a more contemporary direction.  I guess that comes with age; the older you get the more you realize you want to stay on trend and relevant, but overall as an artist and as a performer, experience has given me more confidence and obviously confidence has made me a better artist.

While being a household name in Russia, how do you perceive the expansion of your music in other countries? That is, how has been the general response outside the home country?

Obviously, being successful in Russia doesn’t make me successful abroad but I started my music career out of London, with the release of the album ‘Wonder’ which was album of the week on Radio 2 and two consecutive singles “Obvious” and “Any Time You Fall” were singles of the week on Radio 2.  I’ve always been interested in exploring my career in the UK, in Europe and in America and I think that over time I have built a strong global audience.

I’m definitely going on tour in the UK and Europe next year.

We have read the interview you gave along with your father and we were quite intrigued by the wavelength you both shared with each other. How has been your family’s response for the endeavors you’ve taken, both in terms of music and business?

My relationship with my family has always been great and my music career has never been a problem for my family.  They’ve always been very supportive, but at the same time I’ve never really ever failed in whatever I’ve pursued, both business and music, so I think I’ve earned the right to pursue both.

One of the things that stayed with us from the interview was how your father described the relationship between art and business, talking along the lines that in a business like yours, creativity is of utmost importance as one needs to invent the solutions. Taking on what he said, how do you perceive your roles as a businessman and a musician?

I think definitely music, art and business are aligned and the more creative the business is, the more successful it is. We aim to inject creativity into the DNA of every business we’re involved in.  For example the shopping malls that we’ve built, or entertainment malls, we integrate music channels with live shows and artists, an alley of stars, a live radio studio etc. If its a restaurant then it’s always themed.  We think about not only the kitchen but the smell, the atmosphere, the music, the dishes, the history behind those dishes and we try to create something very different and that’s what makes our business very artistic in that sense.

Congratulations for “Let Me Go”. How did the collaboration with Robin Schulz come about?

It was while we were recording the song with Raymond (songwriter/producer Milos Raymond Rosas), that after a few listens of the first demo, it kinda hit us that it had a very ‘Robin Schulzy vibe’, so we sent it to him and his management.  He loved the song.

While the song talks about the positive yearning for the lover, the music video leans more towards the ” yearning for art”. We would like to learn about the creative process that went behind creating the single and the music video.

The concept behind the video was appreciating art.  Art in every form. And the endless debate of whether something is art or not.  So after exploring all the art, I myself become part of it. It’s about finding the art within yourself, was where we were going with this.

You and Robin will soon be hitting the road for your individual tours. What can fans expect from the Russian tour and ZHARA festival?

The Russian tour is going to be fantastic.  It’ll be called ‘Good Love’. It’s got the best of what I’ve got; my full band with horn section and percussion, it’s going to be awesome and we’re all really excited and looking forward to it.  Festival Zhara is going to be the biggest music event of the year in Russia and CIS so you don’t want to miss that!

Would you like to share with us your future projects or endeavors?

In terms of future projects, I’m continuing to develop my Zhara brand which includes  a radio station, music channel, music award and festival, music and sports event and my record label. And also, one of the most exciting projects is the new Zhara energy drink, which is a very fresh, new, cool project for us.

Share your thoughts on the single via tweet @CelebMix.

Written by Ayushi

Hi! I am Ayushi from India. The only thing that is consistent about me is my passion for writing and reading. Weaving words to form a story is the best thing I know and the only thing I want to do.
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