Over the past decade, Nikolai Baskov has emerged as one of the biggest selling recording artists in Russia.
He is a favorite of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and his performances — with dramatic lighting and dazzling showmanship — are becoming legendary there and in Europe.
Now, the rest of the world may be in Baskov’s grasp. The classically trained vocalist has his eyes — or more appropriately, voice — set on seizing the rest of the world with his powerful range.
“For me, really this is the beginning. Because I’ve accomplished so much in my country, I’m used to being received at a certain level, but I also appreciate a certain level of anonymity here when I’m in New York,” he said in an intimate performance earlier last month. “The public perception of me has been really phenomenal. In America, if they love you, they love you unconditionally, which separates the US audiences...from any other audiences in the world.” Classically trained in Russia, Baskov turned down an offer to study in the US at Juilliard. That opportunity came during tough times in Moscow; Baskov opted to study at home. He also admitted he couldn’t be away from his mother for that long.
Now that he is an adult, he still stays very close to his parents.
The tenor’s stratospheric rise to the top of the Russian charts began with a music video of the song “Caruso.” It was picked up by every television outlet in Russia, and was played for months. Based on the popularity of that song and video, he began to perform, and quickly learned how to charm audiences with his charisma and stage persona.
Besides Lady Gaga and Barbara Streisand, Baskov cites Italian crooner Mario Lanza as his main influence.
“I admire everything about him, from the way he carries himself on stage to the way he sings.” In June, the US Public Broadcasting System ran Baskov’s Moscow concert from the famed Luzhniki Arena. Early last month, that performance was released on CD and DVD as “Romantic Journey.” Baskov will tour North America early next year with dates in Los Angeles, California; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; and other cities.
He will also perform in New York, which is a favorite.