Born in Obninsk, Russia, Natasha Borzilova moved to Nashville as the lead singer and acoustic guitarist of the band Bering Strait, which was put together as a group of classically trained child prodigies in the late 1980’s. Since then, Bering Strait had two CD releases on Universal South Records, receiving critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for country instrumental of the year in 2002. The Grammy nod got the attention of 60 Minutes whose feature piece on the band aired three times. The public also became familiar with Natasha and her fellow band members through a documentary "The Ballad of Bering Strait" directed by Emmy Award winner Nina Seavey which chronicled the journey of six Russian musicians after they arrived in the United States.
In 2006 the band decided to go their separate ways, recognizing that they had each evolved in different musical directions. For Borzilova suddenly being a solo artist meant an opportunity to revisit songs that she had been writing for the past several years. Her music takes on a personal tone with thought provoking metaphors and truly unique melodies influenced by years of classical and jazz training as a guitarist and vocalist. With a natural gravitation toward nuance in her lyrics, one would be hard pressed to believe English is not her first language. A seasoned entertainer, she is exciting with a full band behind her yet completely captivating and intriguing with just her voice and guitar; a feat few singers can pull off.
"Cheap Escape" is a stylistic hybrid, best described as folk/rock but a fusion of diverse musical influences. It is an intensely personal journey laced with raw emotions and delivered with such sincerity, passion and sometimes heartbreaking vulnerability that the listener can’t help but to be drawn in. Each musical story is like a glimpse into a young woman’s life and Borzilova’s ability to create intensity without seeming melodramatic, and to write sophisticated songs while being completely accessible, makes her perspective truly engaging in this first solo effort.
"At last--an adult who sings for adults. Borzilova sifts through the shards of fractured relationships with the eye of an archaeologist and the eloquence of a poet. Her voice is rich, clear and urgent."
-Edward Morris / CMT.com
"Sometimes a voice is so striking, emotional, and timeless that it doesn't matter what language the singer is singing to appreciate it. This was the case when I first heard Natasha singing a folk song in her native Russian. When combined with meaningful, introspective, and intimately personal lyrics like those on 'Cheap Escape' the result is music with undeniable depth and substance. One can only hope there is more where this came from."
- Luke Wooten /Grammy award winning engineer and Associate producer of Dierks Bentley, Bering Strait, Josh Gracin, and The Lost Trailers, Producer of The SteelDrivers
"Natasha Borzilova, an easy summer breeze on the verge of whippin' into an afternoon thunder storm in the stroke of a pen. I see her that way and smile because this is a woman who knows exactly what she wants in her music and will not let go of a song until it fits her like a tailored jacket. Her writing style is so fresh and at the same time as seasoned as an ancient poet. I find that when I write with her I am learning to let go of the "safe way of saying things" and embracing her uncanny good sense of telling a tale as only she can. I am a fortunate co-writer who so appreciates what Natasha brings to the table. Her melodies and command of the guitar inspire me every time. I am loving that her first solo CD is finally here. This very talented singer, guitarist and songwriter needs to be heard. She has so much to say and floating in the midst of her most beautiful guitar work you will hear her loud and clear!"
- Donna Ulisse/recording artist and co-writer of “Cheap Escape”
Forum star Natasha rules Nashville
Natasha Borzilova, vocalist and guitarist with the band Bering Strait, who played the Outer Banks Forum, is releasing a solo CD that begins stealthily:
After a little vamping, Natasha sings, quietly, Did you check the message that I left on your answering machine? Like an approaching storm, the pressure builds: I know you listened to it when she left the house.
The band ramps it up and Natasha takes it up an octave, bringing the thunder: I'm angry.... The band is now crashing headlong and Borzilova's grand voice has the listener hooked. She wrote the tour de force and she and the six-piece combo (she plays one of two acoustic guitars on the cut) realize it powerfully.
When she played the Outer Banks, I especially noted her singing. Her guitar-playing is no less remarkable, not what one might expect from such an angelic-voiced beauty. With Bering Strait she occasionally took inventive lightning-quick solos on her acoustic, and of a piece with her musicianship is her songwriting ability. (She wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the CD.) These are fully realized songs that would fit in well in the current AOR-Nashville-pop continuum. Actually, they should dominate it. (Contemporary country music stations are playing some of the most interesting pop music today.)
Borzilova's songs are endlessly interesting, from bare acoustic ballads to full-tilt rockers, laden with hooks, and with choruses, bridges and instrumental passages that perfectly fit the concept of each song. Nice touches abound, like the loping 6/4 time signature of "How Do You Do That?"
And that voice — it's a charming, throaty mezzo-soprano that she can wrap around any intervals she can write, while remaining completely natural-sounding. Her phrasing is that of normal speech, which will draw the listener right in. And that listener would never guess that Borzilova's first language wasn't English.
The stories in the songs are nearly cinematic, too. Borzilova's talent is wide and deep: From writing the songs to playing and singing them, she is outstanding. The musicians on this CD play as well as one would expect from Nashville cats, that is, expertly, complementing Natasha's skills and lifting her up to centerstage.
On her website she writes, I remember driving home from the very last tracking session after recording the instrumentals for Cheap Escape, Dear Diary, Something I Never Knew About Love, Fatal One Day, and Real Fight and thinking that I would buy these tracks if I heard them playing in some music store, just as they were.
True enough, and the talent of Natasha is the fundamental piece of the equation. (And the added lyrics and vocals of Natasha make the tracks irresistible.) This music needs to be heard, and some samples from the CD can be. They're well-chosen, and should whet the whistle of those music-lovers looking for the next big thing.
written by Pete Hummers, Outer Banks Onstage
Peter Hummers of the Nags Head, North Carolina Outer Banks Sentinel covers entertainment events on and about the Outer Banks of North Carolina