Ania Rusowicz's style of singing, as well as her band's melodies, refer to the 60s. From the beginning, she was particularly fond of beat music and as time passed she started writing more ‘international’ songs that reach all the way back to the aesthetics of psychedelic blues-rock.
She is called ‘a crazy hippie’ or ‘the most colourful flower child of recent years’, and she says she could easily live in San Francisco. She is going her own way, though – at times she’s inspired, other times she has her feet firmly on the ground, –but always straight forward.
Ania Rusowicz is the daughter of Ada Rusowicz and Wojciech Korda, famous beat music musicians. She was born in 1983. When she was 7 years old, her mother died in a car accident. In contrast to her older brother Bartłomiej, she wasn’t raised by her father but by her aunt and uncle. When they grew up, both her and her brother changed their last name from Kędziora (Korda is a stage name) to Rusowicz.
Before she began her solo career, Ania Rusowicz sang in the band Dezire, with whom she recorded the album Pięć smaków (Five Tastes). In an interview for Wysokie Obcasy she said:
They found me. We have recorded a few albums, music videos. In Dezire, I met my husband – Hubert Gasiula, a percussionist (who also plays with the band Wilki). I then moved to Warsaw. Robert’s parents are psychologists, I watched them, listened to them, and that made me decide on therapy and studying psychology. All three of them really helped me.
She also previously had a band called IKA, although real playing for her started with her solo performance at Opole Festival in 2011. She sang her mother’s songs. A few months later, her debut album Mój big-beat (My Beat Music) came out featuring half her own original songs and half mashups of songs by her mother, Ada Rusowicz, from the 60s and 70s. On starting to sing her mother’s songs she has said:
I was 27 years old when I was finally able to face her songs. At first, I approached it very instrumentally, just in case, so that I wouldn’t suffer. I first sang a very important song for me, Czekałam na ciebie tysiąc lat (I Waited a Thousand Years for You). It was the first one on my album. It’s very hard to describe the whole process. I pull these songs out and think to myself: ‘How would mom do it?’
Then, at the beginning of her solo career, Ania Rusowicz’s similarity to her mother was striking. It wasn’t just her voice she inherited. The young vocalist consciously chose to dress like her mother, did her make-up in a similar way, even her movements on stage closely resembled how Ada Rusowicz moved while performing.
Soon after her first album came an idea for her second, although beat music was no longer part of the plan. Considering the four awards her debut album received at the 2012 Fryderki, the Polish music awards, it seems that it would have been a good direction to continue in. Yet Rusowicz decided not to sing any more songs from her mother’s repertoire.
In 2013, her second album came out – this time featuring exclusively original songs. The producer of the album, Piotr ‘Emade’ Waglewski, loves old sounds, but other ones to beat music. The albums released by Emade along with the ensemble Kim Nowak show a love for rather rough riffs that are associated with power trio ensembles: guitar, bass, percussion.
Rusowicz’s second album is indeed spicier than her debut album. More psychedelic and blues-like, yet still oriented around the 1960s and partially the 70s – this can especially be heard in the vocalist's voice. The instruments sound rough, and the old, original audio equipment has done wonders. In the end, the artist is closer to artists like The Black Keys, who process musical traditions, rather than to Niebiesko-Czarni (with Ada Rusowicz as one of its vocalists), Breakout or Czesław Niemen, the author of part of Ada’s songs – in the musical style of the 60s.
I write music visually. When I compose songs, I see them. I often dream about them.
– Rusowicz explained in an interview. For the cover of her second album, she chose the painting Cząstki elementarne (Elementary particles) by Julia Curyło.
In 2014, she took part in recording an album entitled Panny wyklęte - wygnane vol. 1 (Cursed Ladies – Exiled Volume 1), on which she sang Pieśń Wiktorii (Wiktoria’s Anthem). A year later, on the next album in the series, she sang Będziemy Polską (We will be Poland). Apart from that, she has also guest performed in songs by L.U.C., Kielich (the bass guitarist of Lady Pank), Projekt Warszawiak.
Author: Jacek Świąder, July 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska