Uzari, Galina’s son

Galina Gromovich is proud of her son Uzari, who is to represent Belarus at the Eurovision-2015 Song Contest

Galina Gromovich, a soloist with the Honoured National Academic Concert Orchestra, who performs in dozens of concerts annually, is proud of her son Uzari, who is to represent Belarus at the Eurovision-2015 Song Contest

Galina, parents usually dislike the notion of their children changing their name. How did you react to your son’s choice?

You might be surprised to know that it was a joint decision. For style reasons, he needed something other than Yuri Navrotsky, and Uzari suits him perfectly, being a derivative of his true name. We even thought about changing his passport. Yuri is fond of history and has read somewhere that this name exists; moreover, it unites two family names: his great-grandfather, Yuzef, and Yuri.

What do you think of his elfish ears, which he has been using on stage for a few years?

In childhood, Yuri was interested in fantastic fairy-tales, which inspired ‘his elf’. Of course, we were surprised and he was taking a risk, as many people may have failed to understand his new image. Moreover, it was not so simple to make those ears! Actually, it hardly matters whether young men wear earrings, or have their hair in dreads or a ponytail — as long as they avoid excessive alcohol drinking or drug taking.

Often, musicians’ children follow in the footsteps of their parents. However, your son played football for a while.

He was studying at an ordinary secondary school but, later, my husband decided to move him to a Conservatory lyceum. I was against the decision, thinking that our son would be deprived of his childhood but my husband convinced me. Yuri entered the Choir Conducting Department. It was hard work for him, and his piano teacher was unsure whether he’d last the distance, despite admitting his talent. However, he remained seven years. Of course, specialised schools are narrowly focused so we organised physical culture classes ourselves, sending him to karate. After moving to an ordinary school (with a musical focus) after the lyceum, he became interested in football and was doing well. At approximately the same time, he entered a Republican piano contest and felt ‘torn’ between school studies, rehearsals and football training. He took part in two piano contests and realised that it wasn’t his cup of tea.

Your husband is also a trained musician but runs his own business. Does he ever try to convince Yuri to give up his musical career, believing that it won’t make him wealthy?

Once you realise that your child enjoys a certain path, and is seeing success, there’s no sense in trying to change their mind.

Do you ever advise him of his mistakes or point out his wrong choices?

Our family are self-critical and tend not to over-praise.  My husband sometimes criticises Yuri or myself after our performance, so that I can be afraid of inviting him to my concerts! My zodiac sign is Libra, and I do find myself mediating between my men, protecting my son from his father’s criticism. However, when performing, he’s not our son but a singer. Who else will tell him the truth but his parents? Moreover, we share a profession. As for wrong steps, I can’t say that Yuri has made any. You can never be sure of the ‘right’ path when it comes to an artiste’s development. Yuri attended the ‘New Wave’ contest recently for the first time, as a singer-songwriter. He wasn’t keen but I insisted and he was chosen. However, his lack of experience brought him only tenth place; importantly, he performed worthily, showing his individuality.

Is Eurovision also your idea?

Partially. In 2011, Anastasia Vinnikova was taking part and needed a backing singer. A friend of mine proposed Yuri. He wasn’t eager but I insisted, saying that he’d have an amazing chance to see the contest from backstage. He went and enjoyed it, inspiring him to apply the following year. I love that Uzari is representing our country at ‘Eurovision’. He is a professional musician, with experience. However, the contest is not simple and the results depend on more than your performance. I hope Uzari and Maimuna would do everything possible — and more — to worthily represent our country.

By Natalia Stepuro
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