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Ukraine and the world celebrate the 70th anniversary of Kvitka Cisyk’s birth

#UWC news
April 4,2023 1263
Ukraine and the world celebrate the 70th anniversary of Kvitka Cisyk’s birth

A Ukrainian woman who changed the music world forever: 70 years ago, on this day, Kvitka Cisyk was born in New York – the singer whose voice lit up every home in North America. In the Soviet Union, she was called “a singer from the diaspora” and was considered a fresh breath of air that people listened to despite the strictest bans. A brilliant vocalist who collaborated with Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, she was the voice of Ford, Mcdonald’s, and Coca-Cola. 

Cisyk used her extraordinary success and unique talent to popularize Ukrainian culture worldwide.

Here are some interesting facts from the life of our legendary singer: 

One of the secrets of Kvitka’s popularity is the combination of American and Ukrainian cultures. The singer was born in 1953 in New York in a family of Lviv intellectuals who fled from Soviet rule at the end of World War II along with thousands of other refugees.

As a child, she went to an American school, and on weekends she attended Plast, where Kvitkoslava (the singer’s full name) actively learned about Ukrainian culture. In Kvitka Cisyk’s home in Manhattan, only Ukrainian was spoken. 

Kvitka Cisyk loved experimenting with different styles, from jazz to classical music. She was successful both in performing popular songs and in opera singing. Kvitka also had an aptitude for a unique technique common in Carpathian villages called “white voice.”

“I realized that I could easily change my musical style. Then I entered a music conservatory in New York. I studied voice and thought I would be an opera singer. But I became interested in another specialty. It’s called “studio singing.” Singing in different studios for advertising or composers,” the singer said.

After her father, a Lviv violinist, died, Kvitka was forced to look for additional income opportunities: she offered to record for various companies and sang in New York clubs. Her talent on stage finally shined, and Kvitka Cisyk’s collaboration with the most prominent people in the American music industry began instantly. She recorded songs with Quincy Jones, Robert Fleck, B.B. King, and Carly Simon.

Since then, Cisyk has become one of America’s most famous commercial jingles singers. In particular, her voice brightened commercials for the US Army, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Mcdonald’s, and AT&T. The “Have You Driven a Ford Lately,” which the singer recorded for Ford Motor Company, broke all records – it played more than 22 billion times!

Kvitka Cisyk also managed to write her name in the history of world cinema. She performed the “You Light Up My Life” soundtrack for Joseph Brooks’ film of the same name, which almost all American artists, including Whitney Houston, sang later. 

In 1980, the Ukrainian singer released the famous album “Kvitka.” The best instrumentalists in New York worked on the record, and the singer spent $200,000 of her savings on the recording.

“I told everyone that Ukrainian music is very beautiful, melodic and so are the Ukrainian people. And people told me, if so, then play me something, sing something [in Ukrainian]… It’s sad, but we haven’t had a single record on a professional level. Because it’s expensive and takes a lot of time, I realized I had to make one. And not just for my friends, but for all Ukrainians,” Kvitka recalls. In 1998, the 44-year-old singer passed away due to breast cancer. 

Kvitka left an immortal legacy – her magical voice and songs are forever engraved in Ukrainians’ genetic code.

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