Angelica Varum is, quite simply, the queen of the Russian stage. One of the most beloved and celebrated Russian singers and actresses across multiple generations, she has made her mark as a singer, songwriter, poet, actress, and industry executive. Officially named the “Honored Artist of the Russian Federation” in 2011, Angelica has released 15 albums, starred in 10 movies, created dozens of music videos, and appeared in countless television series and specials. She has over 60 Top 10 hits to her name, with most continuing to receive extensive radio play even years or decades after their release. In a career spanning over three decades, she has remained at the top of the Russian entertainment business, with an adoring, global fan base and continual press coverage.
Angelica was born in Lviv, Ukraine, to composer Yury Ignatievich Varum and theater producer Galina Mikhailovna Shapovalova. At the age of 5, she began to study the piano and, soon after starting school, she started to learn to play guitar. She would go on to tour with the school theater group, and soon after, she would become a background vocalist in her father’s recording studio where she would have numerous opportunities to work with and learn from other prominent singers. In 1990, at her father’s behest, she recorded a cover version of the song "Polunochniy Kovboy" (“Midnight Cowboy”). She appeared on the popular “Morning Star” television program and subsequently at the Olympic Sports Complex to perform the song, and it quickly exploded onto the Russian music scene. Soon Angelica Varum was a well-known performer across the nation.
In 1991, building on the success of her first single, Angelica released her first album, "Good Bye, Moi Mal'chik" (“Good-Bye, My Boy”). The album spawned three hit songs - the title song, "Sosedniy Parenek" (“Neighborhood Boy”), and "Chelovek Svistok" (“Human Whistle”). These songs gained frequent airplay on popular Russian radio stations. Then, two years later, she recorded the album "La-La-Fa" - an instant hit that became hugely popular in Russia. It included the now-classic hit songs "Hudozhnik Kotoriy Risuyet Dozhd" (“Artist Who Draws the Rain”) and "Gorodok" (“Town”). The reception from fans and critics alike was overwhelming, and in 1994, Angelica made it to the finals of the Russian annual music competition "Pesnya Goda" (“Song of the Year”).
From there, Angelica became a hit machine, releasing album after album to rave reviews. In 1995, she released a compilation of hits - based on popular demand, from the strength of just two previous albums - plus a new album called "Osenniy Dzhaz" (“Autumn Jazz”) that won the "Ovation" award as the best album of 1995. Angelica also won the "Ovation" award for best singer of the year. The next year, Varum released "V Dvukh Minutakh ot Liubvi" (“Two Minutes From Love”), as well as "Zimniya Vishnia" (“Winter Cherry”). The title song, as well as the songs "Eto Vse Dlia Tebia" (“It's All For You”) and "Drugaya Zhenchina" (“The Other Woman), saturated the airwaves of Russian radio. Her popularity was so intense that a perfume called "Anzhelika Varum" was released to the Russian market, reflecting a French perfumer’s impression of meeting Angelica. It became a bestseller, generating tremendous sales far exceeding anything else that carried the name of a Russian star.
In 1997, Angelica expanded her cultural impact, starring in the musical "Poza Emigranta" (“The Emigrant's Pose”) and winning the "Chaika" award for her performance. She also began a creative collaboration with Leonid Agutin that soon turned into a romantic relationship, and in 1999, Varum and Agutin had a baby girl whom they named Elisaveta (known as Liz). That same year, Varum released her seventh album, "Tol'ko Ona" (“Only She”) and another collection of hits, simply titled "The Best.” She also starred in her first feature film, Vasiliy Pichul's "Nebo v Almazakh" (“Night in Diamonds”). Then in 2000, Angelica released the hit album "Sluzhebniy Roman" (“Workplace Romance”), created in collaboration with Leonid Agutin. Soon after its release, the couple married, and after their honeymoon in Venice they toured together throughout Russia with a concert program titled "Polovina Serdtsa" (“Half of a Heart”), playing one sold-out show after another.
In 2001, Angelica - together with her father, Yuriy Varum, created the "Varum Records Company.” The new label became a vehicle for Angelica to produce her own music, and also to represent other emerging artists. She released a new album in 2002 titled "Stop, Lyubopytstvo" (“Stop, Curiosity”). She also created two new concert programs, a solo program titled after the new album, and a duet program with Agutin called "Rimskiye Kanikuly" (“Roman Holiday”). Again, whether it was Angelica touring as a solo act or as a creative partner with Leonid Agutin, fans just couldn’t get enough - the shows were routinely sold-out wherever they would appear.
In 2003, Angelica starred in the film "Kamenskaya 3: Kogda Bogi Smeyutsia" (“When Gods Laugh”), a detective thriller. Later that year she released another popular single, "Pozhar" (“Fire”). She also started participating in a successful TV show called “Two Stars” on the Channel 1 of Russian TV, which she would continue for two years. In 2004, Angelica toured extensively with Agutin, performing live in the United States, Germany, Israel, Belarus, Ukraine, and throughout Russia. Then in 2005, she appeared in a film that was a musical remake of the well-known Soviet era story "Dvennadsat' Stul'yev" (“Twelve Chairs”) by Ilf and Petrov. She played the role of "Ellochka-Lyudoyedka" (“Ella the Man-eater”), a flamboyant character with an over-the-top personality - and received rave reviews for her performance.
Also in 2005, Angelica created a new concert program with Agutin called "Ty i Ya" (You and I), with which they toured throughout Europe and the United States. She also helped Agutin to record his first English language record - a career-defining event for his emerging international stardom. “Cosmopolitan Life,” a collaboration with jazz guitar legend Al Di Meola, was an overwhelming success. It was released in Europe in the spring of 2005 and quickly surged to the top of the charts. The album featured Angelica’s duet with Leonid Agutin, called "If I'll Get a Chance" - a stunning performance beloved by fans and critics alike.
After spending much of 2006 touring to support “Cosmopolitan Life,” in 2007 Angelica released a new album called "Muzika" (“Music”) that included both new and old songs. After touring to support Muzika, in 2009 Angelica released another album of entirely new songs titled "Yesli on Uidet" (“If He Leaves”). For the first time in her career - yet certainly not the last - she not only sang, but also wrote the lyrics for some of the songs.
In 2010 and 2011, Angelica Varum and Leonid Agutin became mainstays of the international music scene, touring continuously throughout Russia, Europe, and the United States. They collaborated with countless international music icons, and even performed at the Kremlin in 2010 with renowned Cuban musician Orlando “Maraca” Valle. Also in 2011, Angelica began preparing new versions of her hits by her father, Yuri Varum. At her concerts, the songs "Autumn Jazz", "Good Bye, My Love", "Artist", "A Girl is Waiting For a Boy" were performed, and Angelica presented the songs "Winter Cherry" and "Fire" as the beginning of a new dance project to which she dedicated all of 2012. On December 29, 2011, by Presidential decree from Russian Federation President Dmitry Medvedev, Angelica was awarded the title "Honored Artist of the Russian Federation" - a fitting honor for such an accomplished and beloved performer.
At the beginning of 2012, Angelica released the song "Draw Love" to an immediate and overwhelming response - the song reached the Top 3 of most downloaded songs on the iTunes Music Store, and remained in heavy airplay on Russian radio stations for over 18 months. The new version of "Lao" appeared soon thereafter, and by the end of the year a video for the song "Where Are You?" was released, and nominated by RU.TV as the “sexiest video of the year.” Also in 2012, Varum, in a duet with conductor Sergei Zhilin, took part in the fourth season of the TV music competition known as "Two Stars" on Channel One, where their couple took third place.
In 2013 , Angelica and Leonid embarked on another large-scale tour across Russia, Europe, and the United States. At the same time, Angelica continued to record new songs as part of a club program called “New Style, New Sound, New Songs”, the hallmark of which was the memorable song and music video “Crazy.” The song became the title song for the singer's thirteenth album, “Sumashedshaya” (“Crazy”), which was released early that summer as a joint project of Angelica and producer Andrey Sergeev. In the years that followed, Angelica and Leonid continued to tour each year, with Angelica periodically releasing new songs - such as “Two Wings” in 2015 and “Illusion” in 2016 - and albums, such as the 2016 duet album with Russian composer Igor Krutoy, “Zhenshchina Shla” (“The Woman Was Walking”), or the 2018 solo album Na pauzu (“On Pause”).
Today, Angelica continues to perform on stages around the world, is regularly featured in Russian-language media, and continues to release music. Her 2020 album, “Grustnaya Bossa” (“Blue Bossa”) is a collaboration with producer and composer Sado Novosadovich and has been hailed as brilliant by critics and fans alike. It’s no surprise that so far in her illustrious career, Angelica has received seven “Golden Gramophone” awards - the Russian equivalent to the Grammy in the US - as well as a National “Chaika” award for her theatrical performance. Angelica Varum and Leonid Agutin are the ultimate Russian entertainment “power couple,” and there are simply no other entertainers in Russia who can match the levels of prominence and fan adulation that they have attained - both individually and together.