Multi-Talented Polina Butorina
photograph & art direction | OLESJA MUELLER styling | ANGEL JOHNSON makeup | BARBARA REDMAN hair | AMANDA ORTIZDress | Charles&Ron Shoes | De Blossom Collection Bracelet and Ring | VintageSource:
Being in this industry you get to meet so many talented people that have been around for many years and others that are just starting their career in the entertainment industry. Today as I listened to a debut album with songs that captured my interest in learning who this artist is and to find out she’s not only a singer-songwriter but an actress as well, amazed me, more so, at such an early age of 15. Meet Polina Butorina, Russian teen actor and singer-songwriter pop sensation who debuted her album “Ocean of Emotions”. Some of the songs on this album are part of the soundtrack of the Hollywood motion picture “Maximum Impact”. It is a pleasure to have on our cover the face of such a talented young lady that has a huge future ahead of her with acting and singing and her ability to do all this while being a high school student and continued drive to want to do more and accomplish more cannot be surpassed into being on the cover of Posh Kids Magazine.
How did you get started in the music industry and acting?
Music was always my passion, since very early childhood. I was enjoying listening to some tunes and singing along them all the time I can remember myself. At 4.5 years old I started singing in a choir and at 6 I began learning to play the piano.
At the age of 8 my solo music development began as I started taking personal vocal lessons and recorded my first song, however, the real entry in the children’s music industry happened when I was 10 and became a part of a big show-business agency named “Academy S.T.A.R.S.”. With their support and promotion my first single and video “Nobody’s Crying” was on the Russian TV and eventually I became a presenter of two TV programs – a children’s music top chart co-hosted with a famous Russian producer Yana Rudkovskaya on MUZ TV channel and a program about fashion, music and style on RU TV, named “Trend Fashion”. Alongside that, I had a chance to perform on the biggest stages in Moscow including Moscow Kremlin, Crocus City Hall, Bolshoi Theatre and State Central Concert Hall “Russia”.
Regarding acting, it started from the cooperation with Academy S.T.A.R.S., when they offered me a casting for a cameo in a Russian-American movie “Black Rose” back in 2013. I thought it would be interesting to try and why not give it a shot in this industry too? The job of the actor was always very appealing and intriguing to me – as a person who wants to try everything in the world, it fascinated me how it would be to turn into somebody completely different and live their life, have their story, feel the way they do.
Amazed and happy with such an opportunity I got the role, I believe my fluent English already at that age (I was just 11) and incredible passion and motivation helped me succeed. From then on I started exploring cinematography too, and already very soon another movie where I took part “Showdown In Manila”, will be released in the States in January 2018, while just a while ago a motion picture called “Maximum Impact” with me as one of the main characters hit the theaters in Russia and is already on its way to the US. Regarding my music career though, just this December I attended the biggest teenage music awards ceremony in Russia and won two awards for the Best Song on the Foreign Language (English) and the Best Video on the Foreign Language (English). What made it special is that both of them were for the song I fully wrote myself, so of course it’s a very big motivation for me to continue developing as a singer-songwriter, release new tracks and become better and better every day.
How do you manage acting, being a music artist and school?
Of course it’s not very easy, there’s always a lack of time and I am living according to a very strict schedule for each of the seven days of the week. Right after school I have plenty of lessons like music – vocal and piano, basketball practice, gym and homework, and I always leave some time during my day for creating – writing songs, music, poetry. All of this makes my life pretty tense and dynamic, but I really enjoy it because first of all I was the one who chose such a lifestyle, and second of all I’m never bored – I always have something to do and I’m busy every moment.
For sure, sometimes it might get tiring and I feel like breaking all the timetables and just do nothing, but then again I remember that no success comes without a cost and if I really want to get somewhere, I need to work a lot and sacrifice something, well in this case it’s my free time, but I know for sure I wouldn’t enjoy ordinary life as much as I love my lifestyle right now.
Regarding particular projects like shootings or performances, yes, I have no other choice than to miss school from time to time in order to travel to other countries like Russia or USA and then come back as soon as I can or just skip a day if the event is in UAE. I’m really thankful to my school that they understand that those are very important opportunities in my life and support me instead of criticizing and limiting, so I’m always happy to share my good news and victories with them. I really appreciate their positive point of view on my work and career.
You star alongside some great actors in “Maximum Impact”, Danny Trejo, Tom Arnold and Bai Ling. How was it working with them?
It was an incredible experience for me! As a beginning actress, there’s no better way of learning than to watch professionals in the working process, and it’s amazing to realize I had such a unique opportunity to share a movie or even be on set with such legends of cinematography like Danny Trejo, Tom Arnold, Kelly Hu, Bai Ling, Mark Dacascos and others, especially when Eric Roberts himself was my grandfather (and Secretary of State as well). All these wonderful people are gorgeous at their work. You can clearly see how professional they are – behind the scenes, before the camera begins rolling, they all are so friendly, opened and talkative, but then, as soon as the shooting process begins, they momentarily turn into their characters, no matter how different they are from their real selves and perform on the highest level. What is purely amazing about our cast, is that it combined both Russian and American actors. From the Russian side there was me, actor and producer of the movie Alexander Nevsky and others. Regarding our director, Andrzej Bartkowiak, he was very strict and demanding, he knew what he wanted from each and every person on set, not only the acting team. You can see his level of work by the way he explains and describes to the actors what does he need from them and how. He had his own clear vision of the movie and he simply turned it into reality. It was a pure pleasure to have a chance to meet and work with each of those people and just to see once again how awesome they are!
Tell us a little about your character in “Maximum Impact”.
My character is Brittany, the granddaughter of American Secretary of State, who is a real adventure seeker, who sneaks into her grandfather’s plane to Russia in order to finally meet her idol and celebrity crush – a frontman of a famous Russian rock band. She is very courageous and risk-taking, she would do anything to follow her dreams and make her wishes come true. I really enjoyed playing her character because she’s very interesting and has many different sides of herself – she can be calm, kind and soft around her family, but also she is a total beast and an outgoing friendly confident girl around people she enjoys spending time with. She is daring and likes playing, it’s dangerously. I think she’s a nice example of the modern youth in the society and it was simply a pleasure to play her.
Do you find similarities between your character in “Maximum Impact” that helped with the role?
To be honest, I also noticed it, me and Brittany are similar. I am also a huge adventure seeker and I’m always up for an interesting activity. We both like experimenting with our appearance – changing hairstyles, clothing – being different every day. I guess my similarity with the character was actually really helpful on set with getting into the role – it was already pretty familiar to me from my personal experience. Another interesting similarity is that we both listen to rock music and love rock bands, as I was thinking later, if I was on her place, I would probably do the same – risk everything in order to meet my idol and have some unforgettable time with them!
Was there any surreal/wow moments while you were filming?
To be honest, the whole shooting process seemed so unreal because it’s a dream come true to star in a Russian-American blockbuster with big Hollywood stars as well as the famous Russian actors. I often recall many moments from the shooting set and I wish I could go back. All our crew became really close friends and us – actors, we became a big family. It’s amazing to realize that your colleagues support you behind the camera and encourage and motivate you to do even better. There were a lot of funny moments – for example how we tried to teach American actors some russian words and even dialogues. I don’t think I ever laughed more in my life than on set – no wonder that “Maximum Impact” is an action comedy. Regarding a particular moment during the shoot, the most unforgettable and incredible one was when me and my co-star Aristarkh Venes were riding around Moscow, filming the panoramic shots of us riding the scooter. The beauty of the city in the summer with its bright sun and soft breeze, us riding down the streets at the riverside, surrounded by fresh green trees – it all felt so incredible, as if we weren’t actually shooting, but were in reality, which seemed more like a movie! I still get goosebumps when those memories pop up in my head, it’s impossible to describe with words, you honestly need to feel it! However, wonderful job of our director of photography Vern Nobles, really made it possible to get teleported in the moment and feel it with all your being! I really miss the shooting time, I had some of the best memories in my life in there, and I hope soon that ability will come by again!
Which do you like more singing or acting?
I can’t really choose right now. I am in love with both of the jobs and to be honest I don’t think I need to choose. Those jobs often collide too, they’re both working for an audience and both require similar skills. I really enjoy both and knowing what a versatile person I am, during my life I want to try everything and understand what I like most. I started writing songs around two years ago, so I’m trying myself out as a songwriter and composer. Also, for the last year and a half I was actively writing poetry, so now I’m getting ready to release my first book of poems. Also, in my plans is to learn how to create music arrangements, so I can control and manage the whole process of making music from start until the final product. But going back to the topic, I don’t think there’s a point to choose, because I’m young and I want to try everything and later on choose, or maybe not.
Tell us about your debut album “Ocean of Emotions”, what is the inspiration behind it?
“Ocean Of Emotions” is my debut album, where I am not only the performer of the songs, but also the composer and author of the lyrics for the tracks. I was working on this project for the last two years and it’s probably the biggest one I did so far. Since all the songs are written by me and I’m talking about my thoughts, feelings, emotions and ideas, it is a very important work of mine and it means alot to me. The album was inspired by my personal experience, as well as some stories from my friends or what I read in books and movies. I have a very wide imagination, so I have a tendency to exaggerate everything and make it sound more interesting and attractive. My favorite is to mix real events and imagination to make an incredible story. However, the biggest inspiration for my work with probably my movement to Dubai from Moscow. Everything around me changed – new city, new school, new friends, new atmosphere. Knowing what an emotional person I am, things eventually started overwhelming me and happening just so fast I couldn’t really control my feelings. That’s the moment when I realized I need to get it all out – express somehow. Music was the best way to do it, so I started writing lyrics and then melodies for them. When I had around four songs, I decided why not make it an album, come be my first global project and something from me and my heart that I would want to share with the world. That’s how “Ocean Of Emotions” came to life.
What is the one song on your album that was your favorite to make?
Since they were all written by me, they’re like my children, I can’t really choose the only one that’s my favorite, they’re all different and special to me in their own unique way. I put a piece of my heart and my soul in each and every one of them, shared my little story. But if I really, really need to choose the one I enjoy singing the most, it’s probably “Someone Else”. I just love how the arrangement of the track escalates from very soft and calm to very emotional and powerful tones. Each time I sing it, I live throughout that story, that elevation and escalation all over again and again. I feel like it has a lot of emotional weight and value. It’s one of the last songs I wrote, so probably the feelings are still very familiar and new to me.
Who are some of the people that you worked with on that album?
Well first of all, there was a lot of effort and work put in from my side. I was the one creating all the lyrics and melodies and also collaborating with my musical producer Elvis Garagic on the arrangements, discussing and tuning each and every element of the sound. Then of course regarding the singing part, my vocal coach in Dubai, Vesta Kameneva and my teacher from Russia, Victoria Bellova helped me a lot with conveying the right feelings and emotions through my voice and of course getting the right pitch and play with it. American musical producer Joe Zook, who worked with such artists as One Direction, Katy Perry, One Republic and U2, mixed my track “Too Late”, and a famous Russian musical producer Alexander Konovalov worked on songs “Fix Me”, “Maybe” and “Disaster In Disguise”.
Who inspire you in the music and acting industry?
I have a lot of different inspirations and idols in the music industry, but my favorite is alternative music and mostly I listen to different bands. In the top list of my favorites there’s My Chemical Romance, Twenty One Pilots, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Coldplay, The 1975, The Neighborhood and others. I love them because their music is very unique and each band has their particular sound that isn’t possible to be mistaken for another. Another thing I adore is their lyrics, they’re very deep and motivational, they encourage you to keep on going no matter what is going on in the world around and inside you. They tell you to believe in yourself and never give up, see good even if it’s nearly impossible and just always have faith.
Regarding solo artists, I like The Weeknd from the guys and Lana Del Rey from the girls. The Weeknd is very chill R&B vibing, it’s nice to relax listening to his tunes. Regarding Lana, she has that incredible retro nostalgic style and her voice is very not ordinary, I like listening to her when I feel melancholy or just had a long tiring day. In one way or another, each of those artists contributed to my own music and style, influenced me and my view to the world, my thoughts, points of view and beliefs.
Talking about the acting industry though, I clearly have a thing for British actors, since my top three are Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston. I just love their movies and it’s nice to see them starring in some Oscar-worth dramas as well as mainstream franchises. My favorite actress is Natalie Portman, she is extremely talented and so pretty! Starting from Leon and ending up with Black Swan, all her works are incredible!
From the director’s my all-time favorite is definitely Christopher Nolan, each and every of his movies are amazing and leave me in awe at least for a few hours after watching.
To be honest, all these people are really inspirational and I do look at and after them, and I believe that one day I’ll be able to meet all of them and maybe even work together!
What are your future plans and where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Well I see myself in the entertainment industry, I will definitely continue writing music and new songs in English and maybe even Russian will be coming up soon, in the late 2018 I might start working on my next album and of course I’ll be looking for the new opportunities in the movies. In my closest plans, it’s to release a book of poetry, start writing my own arrangements, visit USA for the premiere of “Maximum Impact” and continue promoting my album “Ocean Of Emotions”. By the way, you can already download it on iTunes and Google Play! Yes, I might have a lot of ambitions and many big plans, but I know what I’m doing, I believe in myself and I understand my abilities. I will surely continue to develop as an artist, as a musician and as an actress. Hopefully in five years you’ll be able to see me on one of those fancy Hollywood ceremonies or actually having my own tour show, that’s actually one of my biggest dreams right now! I can’t wait when I will be able to perform and speak to the whole world, tell them what’s in my head and connect my heart to theirs, so we all follow the same beat! But now, to stay tuned in order to see my plans turn into reality, check out my website www.polinabutorina.com, follow my Instagram @pbutorina, my YouTube Polina Butorina and my Facebook @polinabutorinaofficial!
With great stamina, determination and goals everything can be attained. It’s all about motivation, dedication and always striving to be where you want to be. Polina Butorina a great example to follow and great role model to our youth.
photograph & art direction | OLESJA MUELLER
styling | ANGEL JOHNSON
makeup | BARBARA REDMAN
hair | AMANDA ORTIZ