Otieva's musical career began when she was very young, winning numerous amateur competitions and contests. After completion of a specialized musical school majoring in piano, she entered the prestigious Gnesins State Musical School to master vocal arts. At the same time, she received training at the Moscow Pilot Jazz Studio. Her first major successes were in jazz competitions against renown Soviet performers. Her debut on the national scene was an unbroken string of awards. Otieva began performing professionally after graduating from the Gnesins School. She was immediately recruited by the Oleg Lundstrom Orchestra, the USSR's most famous jazz band. In 1982, while working with the band, Irina won first prize at the Sochi National Soviet Song Festival. The media enthusiastically proclaimed her the "musical find of the year". Later that year, she also won a top award at the "8 Songs in Studios" international contest in Berlin. Proving her indomitable competitive spirit, Otieva entered the 7th All- Union Contest of Stage Performers in 1983 and took it by storm. The press wrote, "100 Hours of Happiness as performed by I. Otieva is filled with human wisdom and deep insight into the nature of things. The song started and finished with a virtuoso jazz scat, which is not merely a deliberate effort at making beautiful sounds as an end in itself, and not just a demonstration of virtuoso skills; it is a case of delicate interaction with music and musicians giving birth to a unique wordless dialogue in which sounds acquire profound philosophical content." In Karlshamn, Sweden, Otieva won the Grand Prix award at the International Baltic Song Contest in 1983. A Swedish newspaper wrote, "The Soviet singer quite justly won the top award at this major international Baltic song contest. A splendid beginning!" After graduating from the Gnesins State Musical College, she won the Road to Parnas international musical contest in Moscow. Otieva has toured Bulgaria, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, North Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, USA and Vietnam. She has also participated in numerous international competitions including Stars of Europe in Sweden, Bratislava Lyre in Czechoslovakia and Interlent in Poland. In 1995, Otieva's performance impressed listeners at the JVgflntemational Jazz Festival at the Lincoln Center in New York. Now Otieva sings mostly pop-soul-jazz-rock and her unique style is well-known through the CIS and Eastern Europe. Her vocal command is perfect and her performing skills are exceptional. A master of improvisation, she works tirelessly to perfect her skills. Her impressive 3 1/2 octave voice is equally at home with an emotionally charged scat or a lyric ballad.