Just a few years ago a young model and singer named Iva Frühlingova captured headlines in the Czech Republic when she released her first studio album titled Litvinov, at the age of just 21. A CD with a single song in Czech and the rest in French. Frühlingova - originally from northern Bohemia, spent most of her teenage years in France. But after some six years or so, she returned to the Czech Republic. Soon, she began going out with Richard Krajco, and actor and frontman for the popular Czech band Krystof. Theirs was a relationship heavily monitored by the Czech media, and when they married last year, theirs appeared a match made in heaven. But, as is often the case with celebrity marriages, it didn't last. The couple split up.
Even during the break-up of her marriage Frühlingova nevertheless worked on her 2nd album - and prepared for her band's first major tour. 16 Czech dates throughout the month of March. The concerts aimed to promote her newest effort, the album "Baby Doll" including songs like 'Une histoire sans fin' and the Czech song 'Verim' - 'I Believe' - getting airplay and a positive response.
"Tomorrow we're departing on my first real tour - sixteen concerts... across the Czech Republic. So, I'm a bit nervous! Me and my musicians: guitar, bass, and drums. And a little machine that plays electronic sounds that we otherwise couldn't perform live. The new album has done very well. I have to say I feel very close to it ... I had a hand in everything. From choosing people who worked with me, to writing the majority of the lyrics, and it was really very stressful. That's why I feel really happy with the result."
"[The fact that I write in French] is something that is 'inexplicable'. I usually write sitting down in my living room, when I have a chance to think about things, what I want to do, and in the end the words come and I don't even now how. Whether in French, Czech, or I don't know what. English. I don't know why. That's it. When I'm with someone who is speaking French, then I think in French too. But, since returning to the Czech Republic, I guess you could say that I now dream in Czech!"
And in spite of tumultuous days in her personal life, regarding her album she does seem happy:
"When you're working on something like this, it's the 'feeling' that counts. In the Czech Republic as in France, I worked with friends, others whose music is important for me. In the Czech Republic, for example, it was the Bratri Orffove - the Orff Brothers. I really like their first record they released recently: it's very calming, with great lyrics. Some of the French artists on the album, then, were Johan Czerenski and Bruno Salard."
Listeners of French may be interested to know that the album even borrows a song from the great and greatly provocative performer Serge Gainsbourg (of Je t'aime fame), who died in 1991. Iva suggested to Radio Prague that for the French at least, it was impossible to exaggerate his importance:
"Serge Gainsbourg was the 'god' of French music! I wanted to have a song by him... even if the song was not 'for me' I still wanted the pleasure of having a song by him on my album, to have his name in the small print by the track. 'Harley Davidson' is a song that we always played at all kinds of events: at birthdays and soirees in Paris. It's fun and free and I associate the song with a lot of things. And it's 'Serge'. It's too bad that the younger generation of Czechs really doesn't know Gainsbourg's work. But, I didn't include his song so that audiences here would discover him: it was really just for me, a small egotistic pleasure."
Recording a new album - and eventually touring - was something Ms Frühlingova has apparently wanted for some time - she was already enthusiastic in the media last November. The investment paid off: Baby Doll is often very pleasing, hypnotic, and Iva's voice is perhaps even sweeter than on 'Litvinov'. The album is beautiful. At times, it's difficult to say whether she is more fun to listen to in French or the very occasional Czech.
That said, does she ever consider returning to her adopted France? Apparently not.
"I thought about that, but I couldn't just set everything aside and move back again, every time, then back here. I'm here, it's destiny. I want to grapple with it. [As for modelling], I haven't taken time off: modelling wasn't that important for me. I never really felt that comfortable in that environment. Ok, it's true that if somebody calls me up once in a month or something and says they'd like to take some pictures, ok, I'll usually do it, but I'm not involved in the whole business, with casting and catwalks. Music is far more important for me and that's what I want to do."
Regarding music, who knows what kind of album Iva Frühlingova will work on next: she herself leaves all options open. But, it seems that her career in music is on the right path.
"[I don't know who I'd like to work with next] - I can't say, at least at this time. Each song is different. When I think of a song about something specific, specific sentiments, then and only then can I begin thinking about a point-of-view. I need to have the song thought out, if I want to think about who it would be good to work with on it. Producing this album was not an easy task. Our producer had different ideas for the record than me and my group. We had to find a solution which could satisfy us all. In the future, I think I'll work with others. I think it's good to change up the creative team and next time I'll try new people again."
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