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 the documentary The Ballad of Bering Strait, directed by Emmy Award winner Nina Seavey which chronicled the journey of the band members after they arrived in the United States.
In 2006 the band decided to go their separate ways realizing they had each evloved in different musical directions. For Borzilova, suddenly being a solo artist meant an opportunity to re-visit songs she had been writing for the past several years and she released her first solo project of original material in 2008 titled Cheap Escape, a stylistic hybrid of folk & rock yet offering glimpses of her classical and jazz training.
Borzilova originally had the idea to do an acoustic CD of Russian folks songs at the suggestion of fans but after starting her research, she realized many of the songs she had wanted to include were not traditional folks songs and had authors. Then her label suggested she look at some of the tunes she had written that came off so well in the acoustic treatment given on the original demos and consider them for an acoustic project. With Borzilova playing nearly all of the record’s acoustic guitar parts, she brought in Billy Panda with his arsenal of stringed instruments to play mandocello, high string, National guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, bottleneck, baritone acoustic and gut string. She was fortunate to have Byron House play upright and Arco bass between him finishing up the new Robert Plant project and heading out on tour with Plant. Finally she reunited with former bandmate Alexander Arzamastsev on cajon and percussion.
In Borzilova’s own words about the song choices, “Choosing the songs for the album, I realized how many of them were dealing with finding balance, fitting in and trying to figure out the best way to integrate contrasting sides of my character. Balancing; literally and figuratively, has been a theme of my life for a long time. Moving to the States in my late teens provided me with endless opportunities of putting my foot in my mouth and falling on my face because of the vast difference between the customs of fast-paced, super-direct urban Russia and the soft spoken American south. I had to learn to apply diplomacy without losing my ability to speak the truth. Then life complicated itself when I (in rapid succession) became a new mother, lost my job of eighteen years with the disbandment of Bering Strait, found a new passion and career of teaching yoga (balancing, anyone?) and began to find my voice as a solo artist. I'm still dedicating most of my energy to perfecting the art of being all these contrasting, yet somehow complimentary things, so calling this album Balancing Act felt natural. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to take some pictures standing on my head!”