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Opublikowano 18 lutego 1998


New Straits Times (18/02/1998)

Gorniak is Poland’s hottest product

EDYTA Gorniak lives in a small farm village in Poland and goes to a school she calls „a gardening school” to prepare for the „career” she was about to embark on in the field of vegetation.

But all this girl wanted to do was sing. She never dreamed of being a superstar recording artiste.

„I sang all the time,” says Gorniak in almost perfect English, during a recent telephone interview from London where she is now based.

„Anywhere I am, anything I do, I sing. My first day in school, my teacher was talking but I was singing.

„My teacher called my mother and complained and my mother tried to tell me that I wasn’t supposed to sing in class but I never understood her explanation and kept singing.”

Gorniak never had any formal voice training nor does she play an instrument. Her voice is her only instrument and it is enough for this girl whose dream was to sing and be merry.

It wasn’t a wonder then, that when her mother pushed her to learn farming, she wanted to perform. It was her mother who worried for her and told her she wouldn’t amount to anything if she chose singing.

Her mother was wrong.

Gorniak, now 24, is Poland’s hottest star. Her debut Polish album Touch sold over 500,000 copies in a country where an album costs a week’s wages.

Touch went platinum within a month, making her the biggest-selling recording artiste in the history of Poland. Her mother, who is very proud of her, still can’t quite believe it.

She has since switched from a small Polish recording label to EMI/Virgin Music and is now living in London. Her second album, which is her first English self-titled album, will be released worldwide on Feb 23, followed by a 4-track single.

The 1.75-metretall Gorniak is a very slim and pretty girl with model features and posture, sporting stylish short hair.

Her voice is a powerful combination of Celine Dion and Toni Braxton. She sings adult contemporary numbers – soulful and gospel-like tracks.

Somehow, maybe influenced by her looks, I expected a sultry woman with a smoky, mellow voice. An unexpectedly shy, girlish voice answered the phone instead, in whispery tone.

But the conversation couldn’t have been better. She was very unassuming and polite, untouched (as yet) by the glamour and she didn’t have the airs of a superstar. Her answers were honest and sometimes funny, but never unintelligent.

On being complimented on her gorgeous figure, Gorniak said, „Oh thank you. You won’t believe this, but I don’t exercise at all though I know I should. I can share my secret to keeping slim though.

„All you need is a lot of stress and loneliness; work hard, forget to eat regularly and travel a lot,” she said and laughed.

Gorniak, who was exposed to music because her father was a guitarist who listened to Elvis and The Beatles, joined a band at 14 and performed in small parties and family clubs, singing Polish songs and covers of her favourite singers – Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Genesis and Madonna.

That lead to a televised talent show which resulted in her being offered a part in a Polish musical, Metro. Ironically, she played the part of an aspiring young singer dreaming of a big break.

The musical was a success and even opened on Broadway. It is still running in Warsaw today. But Gorniak left after three years. She went on to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994 when she was 21. It was Poland’s first participation in the competition.

„Physically,” explains Gorniak, „I am a very weak person and was very sick on the day of the contest. I prayed hard for God to help me because I didn’t want to let my country down.”

Somehow, God must have heard her because though she was only runner-up, she was offered a recording contract with a Polish company.

Now she is working with renowned producer Chris Neil (the man who has worked with big names like Celine Dion, Cher and Sheena Easton), who approached her to record an English album even though she didn’t have the backing of an international label then.

It was only after the album was done that they got a deal with EMI/Virgin.

„I asked him once why a man whom any superstar would kill to work with took such a big chance on me, a nobody. He said he believed in my talent.

That was the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me.”

She now has fans in Japan and was a big hit when she opened for Michael Learns To Rock in a concert in South Africa recently. Her next project is to visit Asia and tour Europe before going to the US.

Not bad for a village girl who only wanted to sing.

Text: Tan Ling Ai

COPYRIGHT 1999 The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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