Алла Борисовна Пугачёва (Alla Borisovna Pugacheva or Pugachova -more accurately reflecting Russian pronunciation-) born April 15, 1949, is a Soviet and Russian musical performer. Her career started in 1965 and continues to this day. For her clear mezzosoprano and a full display of sincere feelings, she enjoys an iconic status across the former Soviet Union as the most successful Soviet performer in terms of record sales and popularity. In 1991, she became nominated a "People's Artist of the USSR" honorary title. Pugacheva started her career after having finished college in 1966 and started touring with the group Yunost' (Youth) in Western Siberia. The following year she started to work as a piano accompanist in the State Circus Musical college. She provided the leading vocals to a number of bands, including Novy Elektron (New Electron), part of the Lipetsk State Philharmonic Society, in 1966, Moskvichi (Muscovites) in 1971, Oleg Lundstrem's band in 1972–73, and Vesëlye Rebjata (Merry Folks) in 1974-75. Throughout the period, she recorded songs for numerous movies. In 1974, she became 3rd in the All-Union competition of musicians, which was somewhat of a disappointment for her. In 1975, she received the Grand Prix of the international contest "Golden Orpheus" performing the song "Harlequin". The Amiga label released her winning song as a single in East Germany. Subsequently in Bulgaria, the Balkanton label released the live recording of "Harlequin" from the festival as a single. Next year, Pugacheva returned to the "Golden Orpheus" to perform a concert outside the competition. The Balkanton released the live tracks as Pugacheva's first album Zolotoy Orfey 76. In the same year, Pugacheva recorded a number of songs for the musical drama-comedy The Irony of Fate as the singing voice of Nadja, the female protagonist. Pugacheva went on to work on the musical film Zhenshchina, kotoraya poët ("A Woman Who Sings") in cooperation with the band Ritm (Rhythm) in 1977. She played the leading lady, a famous pop singer who sacrifies her personal life to her career. The soundtrack of pop songs, co-written by Pugacheva, culminated with the dramatic title ballad "Zhenshchina, kotoraya poët". The Soviet audience, regarding the film as autobiographic, showed great interest towards it, reaching a record audience of the year 1979 of 55 million people. The soundtrack was first released in 1977 as part of the double album Zerkalo dushi ("Mirror of Soul"), which was a collection of her songs from 1975–77. The Victor label released a collection album Alla Pugacheva in the same year in Japan. In 1978, performing the song "Vsë mogut koroli" (Kings Can Do Anything), Pugacheva received the "Amber Nightingale" prize at the Sopot International Song Festival which at the time meant automatically winning the Grand Prix of the Intervision Song Contest. In 1980, the Kansan label of Finland and Tonbandausnahmenkompanie Bayer GmbH of West Germany released her above listed works as the albums named Huipulla ("At the Top") and Alla Pugachova. During the 80s, Alla became a frequent visitor to Stockholm. She started out with multiple guest appearances on the popular Swedish radio show Galaxen (Galaxy) conducted by Jacob Dahlin, and later frequently appeared on his TV-show Jacobs Stege ("Jacob's Ladder"). Dahlin and Pugacheva used to perform songs in duet, including "Superman", where Dahlin did the vocals of the title character. In Stockholm, Pugacheva recorded an album in English, released by the World Record Music label in Sweden as Watch Out and by the Melodiya label in the Soviet Union as Alla Pugacheva in Stockholm. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Alla expanded her ventures, launching a magazine, radio station, and a line of perfume all called "Alla", and the "Alla Pugachova" shoe line. She also received further awards from the government, presented by President Boris Yeltsin, including the "Government Award for Achievement in Literature and Arts" in 1990, and the highest civilian decoration of the Russian Federation ("Service to the Motherland - 2nd Class Order") in 1999. In 1994, Alla also received a plate with her name on the "Square of Stars" in the city of Yalta in Ukraine. In 1997, she represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin and finished 15th with the song "Primadonna". She dedicated her performance to the memory of Jacob Dahlin. In recent years, Alla has co-produced the popular television reality talent show Star Factory, the Russian version of the Star Academy. On 5 March 2009 Alla Pugacheva announced her retirement from singing after her 60th birthday. She also cited health reasons as the primary cause stopping her from touring. Besides, her voice got worse following a series of operations and is no longer capable of "expressing the feelings and intonations as it used to". Alla Pugacheva has announced a saying goodbye to her audiences by a massive tour across the CIS, Europe and America.