Having performed with the likes of Enrique Iglesias, Bon Jovi, and Nelly, Russian singer Alsou is one of her homeland’s most successful musical exports of the noughties. Born in Bugulma, Tatarstan in 1983 to an oligarch father and architect mother, she lived with her grandmother in Siberia until the age of eight, before moving to Moscow where she attended a private music school. After a brief spell in New York, she emigrated to London, where she studied architecture, but after performing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at her brother’s wedding, she was encouraged by her family to pursue a career in the music industry. In 1999, she released her self-titled debut album and following its success, she signed a deal with Universal Music Russia. A year later, her first English-language track, “Solo,” finished second at the Eurovision Song Contest and became the biggest-selling single in her country’s history. Following a hit duet with Enrique Iglesias (“You’re My #1”), she scored a minor hit single in the U.K. with “Before You Love Me,” and continued to balance her Russian- and English-language recording careers for several years. In 2002, she performed an ambitious series of live shows, entitled Trilogy, in Moscow to promote her sophomore album, 19, and a year later, began work on its English equivalent, Inspired, but despite a support slot on Westlife’s tour, the album was canceled and she was dropped by Mercury Records. In 2008, she released two albums, the Russian-sung Samoe Glavnoe and the Tatar-language Tugan Tel/Rodnaya Rech. Alsou has also starred in the 2004 British horror movie The Spirit Trap and 2008 Russian historical drama Vivat, Anna!, hosted the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, and duetted with Bon Jovi on 2003’s This Left Feels Right, and Joss Stone, Richie Sambora, and Sting on Les Paul’s American Made World Played.