Written by: Phil Strachan Photography by: Various
As regular readers of B4 will know, I have been a very great supporter of my incredibly talented friend, Alina Kozlovskaja, and her breathtakingly beautiful and emotionally engaging piano compositions since first hearing a sample after meeting her at a business event a few years ago. Regular readers will also know that Alina has played at a B4 Classic event at Rhodes House and has also graced The Oxfordshire Restaurant Awards.
When I first met Alina, she had written six piano compositions. Working full time in a management position in high end retail, she found it really challenging to find the time she wanted to dedicate to her number one passion. Fast forward two years and Alina made the brave decision to leave her very full time job as Concession Manager in Harrods for the French breakthrough technology audio equipment brand, Devialet, in order to devote more time to her music.
Destiny also played its part in a serendipitous manner following an introduction at around the same time to a legendary music producer. He instantly recognised her potential and that was followed closely by an opportunity that Alina was presented with to record at Abbey Road Studios. By this time Alina had written a total of 14 of her own incredible compositions meaning that she had the potential to record an EP and possibly even a full Album.
Alina, this is quite a journey that you have been on over the last year or two and in the last six months or so in particular.
Absolutely Phil. It has been amazing. During the last two or three years I have met some incredible people in the music industry but the real highlight for me was to have the opportunity not only to visit Abbey Road Studios but also to record there. It was a dream come true.
It was following your introduction to and your meeting with legendary rock music producer, Nick Tauber, that the opportunity arose for you to visit and then to record at Abbey Road.
Yes, I met Nick at Victoria Station over a coffee and we got on very well. He had heard one of my compositions recorded by myself at home with Logic Pro. He asked to hear more of my music and it all happened from there.
But Nick is a rock music producer known for his work with the likes of Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy and Marillion – which seems a very long way from your piano music.
True – and at that very time Nick was working with what he believed could be the next big rock band. However, he listened to some of my other compositions and and felt that there was something quite special in my music. And in fairness, in the past he had also produced for Toyah and even supermodel Twiggy when she ventured into the music world. He liked the fact that I write my own compositions, he loved my melodies and said thatt he thought that I had great potential.
So, how did the Abbey Road opportunity come about? There can’t be very many new artists who record their first EP or Album at Abbey Road.
Well, at the time, Nick was in and out of Abbey Road working with other artists and it was suggested that perhaps I could record one of my compositions there. Nick’s response was to ask me to play some of my music live for him and he then simply said ‘Let’s do an album’. That just blew me away! And it gave me a problem, admittedly a lovely problem to have though, because I urgently needed to write quite a few more compositions.
You ended up recording in Abbey Road, Alina – and not just in Abbey Road but in Studio Two where the Beatles, among many other famous artists over the years, did most of their recordings.
I cannot describe the feeling – you really can feel the history. It was an unreal experience sitting on my own in that huge studio at the Steinway piano that has been played by Paul McCartney and so many other incredible musicians. It was an absolute privilege and a dream come true.
Prior to your recordings at Abbey Road, your music was solo piano only but the recordings from your Studio Two sessions feature other instrumentation. What is the story there?
This suggestion came from Nick Tauber. From discussions, he knew that one of my key ambitions was for my music to be used as scores/soundtracks in Films, in TV Dramas and Documentaries and in Advertising. He strongly advised that sensitive enhancement with other instrumentation would result in my music still being clearly piano-led but that it would provide a completeness. It took the music to a whole new level.
How was this augmentation with other instruments achieved?
We had several recording sessions at Abbey Road. The first session was just myself on the piano and we laid down the first 12 tracks – some of which I had only completed in the weeks before the recording session. We then had a couple of other sessions where string accompaniments were recorded and bass guitar, percussion and a gypsy violin were added. I also recorded two further tracks. The string arrangements were by Chris Worsey and the string orchestration was provided by his Millennia Strings players. Everyone was incredible and it was an unforgettable experience for me to witness it all coming together.
So how were these separate sessions all brought together?
Working closely with Nick and Davide Venco, his talented and very experienced sound engineer, I was present at every session to ensure that the balance of the added instrumentation was correct. Thereafter, we had mixing sessions at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick before the final mastering of all 14 tracks.
Your website and forthcoming EP cover feature 4 images of you walking on a piano keyboard. Where did this creative idea come from?
Well, since I was recording at Abbey Road, I just had to be photographed walking across the zebra crossing made famous by the Beatles and used on their Abbey Road album. However, I wanted to do something different and original. We used a continuous burst photo technique and then transposed the pictures of me walking on the zebra crossing onto a piano keyboard.
How can B4 readers hear your music?
My ‘Awakening’ EP, produced with the help of Cheryl Lee Foulsham and Alison Martin at the Oxford Duplication Centre, is due to be released in early February. My ‘New Beginnings’ single can be accessed from www.alinakmusic.com and the title track is featured on the ‘behind the scenes at Abbey Road’ video which is also on my website.
Thank you Alina. I think that your music is very special and I am sure that I will not be alone in wishing you every success on this next stage of your musical journey.