Jamala (born Susana Jamaladinova, on August 27, 1983 in Osh, Kyrgyzstan) is an Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar jazz-singer, performing the music of her own composition on the junction of jazz, soul, world music and rhythm&blues with the elements of classics and gospel.
Jamala has been fond of music since her early childhood. She made her first professional recording at the age of 9 years old, singing 12 children and folk Crimean Tatar songs. Graduating from the Music school piano class in her native Alushta, the singer entered the Simpheropol Music College named after Tchaikovsky followed by the graduation from the Kiev National Music Academy named after Tchaikovsky as well, with the major in opera singing. Being at the top of the class, Jamala planned to devote herself to the classical music, envisioning her career as a soloist at the famous Milan La Scala Opera.
Nevertheless her true passion for jazz and experiments with soul and oriental music has changed her plans defining the main streams of the future career.
Jamala made her first steps on the big stage at the age of fifteen. During the next few years she took part at the dozens of vocal contests of Ukraine, Russia and Europe, where she received some prestigious awards, not mentioning the 1 Concorso Europeo Amici della musica International contest in Italy. The terrific performance at the Dо#Dj junior 2006 Jazz festival of young artists brought Jamala a special award, while attracting the attention of the famous choreographer Elena Kolyadenko, who in her turn invited Jamala to perform the leading part in the “Pas” multi genre musical. This part in the musical became an essential step in Jamala’s performing career.
Jamala has been active since 2005, but the turning point in Jamala’s career path came with her performance at the “New Wave - 2009” International contest of young pop singers in summer 2009. The contest’s chief director statements regarding Jamala’s “not fitting the format” didn’t stop her from reaching the finals and more than that receiving a grand prize of the contest.
Following the triumph in Jurmala, Jamala instantly jumped into the top artists’ category, performing at the various spots from Moscow to Berlin. Two large Jamala’s concerts The Revue Show are taking place in Kiev, where she is to reveal to public the whole range of the singer’s vocal potential and the diversity of the music material.
During the few months Jamala is going to take part almost in all the main TV shows of Ukraine, from the “TV Triumph2009” awards ceremony and One Night Only (tribute to Michael Jackson of the Ukrainian top artists) to “Christmas Celebration with Alla Pugacheva”. Cosmopolitan entitles her a “Breakthrough of the Year”, she wins the “Singer of the Year” ELLE Style Award and the “Ukrainians’ Idol” nomination at the “Person of the Year 2009”.
Being busy with the intense tour schedule, Jamala finds time to devote to classical music. In summer 2009 she performed the leading part in “The Spanish Hour” opera by Maurice Ravel, and in February 2010 she took part in Vasiliy Barchatov’s opera production on Bondiana motif, for which she was noted by Jude Law, the famous British actor.
Jamala’s début video on classic standard - History Repeating appeared on Ukrainian TV in November 2009, while the second video on her own composition You’re Made of Love followed in February 2010.
The third singer’s video on It’s Me, Jamala! composition appeared on Ukrainian and Russian music channels on October 18th, 2010. (http://jamalamusic.com/#/video/1). Charley Stadler, the German director, best known for his “Dead Fish” feature film starring Gary Oldman, became the video director. The famous Briton Fraser Taggart who was shooting such Hollywood blockbusters as “Troy”, “The Da Vinci Code”, “National Treasure”, etc. became the video director of photography.
It became known just few days before the new video appeared, that Jamala has proceeded to the “Eurovision – 2011” song contest elimination round finals, presenting Smile, an absolutely new composition, to the jury.
The singer’s debut album release was planned for spring 2011. Most of the songs are of Jamala’s own composition, while Evgeny Filatov (The Maneken), an outstanding Ukrainian artist, became the sound producer of the record.
In 2016 Jamala won the Eurovison Song Contest with the song "1944"