Back in March, Manizha released the revamp of her Eurovision 2021 entry “Russian Woman”. As a result of both her visibility as a feminist and LGBTQIA rights advocate, her national final win attracted abuse domestically in addition to international support. In a recent interview, she has revealed the story of how her last-minute national final victory came about.
In an interview with Vogue Russia, Manizha has revealed how “Russian Woman” came to be and found its way to the impromptu 2021 national final. She began working on the song in Israel back in March 2020. During a tour, she worked with local producers Ori Avni and Ori Kaplan to create the demo.
We gathered in a small studio just to experiment. I like the new popular music of Israel because it is very interesting, multi-genre and multinational, it was interesting for me to work with the guys.Manizha on the birth of “Russian Woman”
Following a call from broadcaster Channel One, she sent a few songs to be in contention for Eurovision, including the aforementioned demo. Although the broadcaster liked the demo, she only had one day to finish the song ahead of the national final.
Of those songs that we sent to Channel One, they liked ‘Russian Woman’. We had a day before the first run to finish it, by some miracle we did it all. I didn’t even have time to realize the scale of this song.Manizha on how “Russian Woman” found its way to Eurovision
Despite these difficulties, and the additional backlash she faced following her win, she went on to explain how her experiences have further cemented the manifesto of the song.
Now I understand that it was such a self-ironic therapy. However, then I no longer experienced the pressure that every woman experiences throughout her life.Manizha reflecting on her Eurovision journey so far
Manizha was born in 1991 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. She and her family fled the Tajikistani civil war in 1994 to settle in Moscow. She began her career as a child singer, eventually performing in the Ru.Kola project and as part of music groups Assai and Krip De Shin. Following these stints, she went on to study gospel music in both London and New York City.
She began her solo career in 2016 by releasing a string of singles as an independent artist. In addition, she has released two albums, Manuscript and ЯIAM in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, she released her EP Womanizha.
As reflected in the lyrics of “Russian Woman”, Manizha identifies as a feminist and is a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. This, her Muslim background and Tajikistani heritage have attracted online abuse via her social media channels, and, ultimately, international press coverage.
In a three-way 100% public voting format, Manizha won with 39.7% of the public vote. You can watch her national final performance below:
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