Julia Barteneva
Church Influence

Julia Barteneva: “An alternative means different, and has different influences on the show-business”

The Head of the Department of Culture and the Mediaof the Charitable fund “Revival of children in Ukraine” Foundation, the chief organizer of the vocal project for emerging artists “Time of changes”, singer and presenter, winner of the online voting 5th week of the project  X-Factor 2011 Yulia Barteneva told us about the state of modern show business, about the X- Factor project and its objectives, and the responsibility of the church in the reformation of the show business sector.

Julia, you are known in the Embassy of God church as a young, beautiful singer, emcee, and also due to  the recent victory in the online voting of the X-Factor Song Contest project. I would like to know how it all started and how did you realize that  show business was your calling?

As a solo artist, I started singing when I was in music school. It all began after 14 years when I attended the “Sea of ​​friends” music festival as a volunteer for the first time. It was at that moment that I had a dreamin my heart – to learn to sing professionally and I envisioned myself as a singer on a big stage. I watched as professional singers took part in the international competition, and it ignited my heart even more.

When I came back home, people thought I was crazy, because every question I was asked, I answered with singing. Being 16 years old I participated in the “LG-karaoke” music festival.  I did not receive great results, but after some years I got to the super-finals and performed at the European Square on Independence Day. I did not win in this competition, but reaching the super-final was a great result and a great personal victory for me.

After the festival  “Sea  of friends” I made a firm decision to enroll into a music school. In the first year of study I did not sing, because I did not understand how to sing and breath correctly, I did not understand what teachers wanted from me. I would leave the lessons with tears because I loved to sing so much, but I was told that I was unusable professionally. Throughout the first year I received a low score on vocals. Realizing that I need to take additional vocals lessons, I began to study on my own after the first year. The result was incredible, so much that after the first year I was nominated to represent my music school at the “Young Kiev region” festival. A few weeks later I was nominated and chosen to tour Ukrainian cities in support of disabled people, which was called “We are the same as you” tour. Together with a team of volunteers and people in wheel chairs we travelled around Ukraine and performed at charity concerts. It was a magnificent experience for me, it was a push to start improvingmy skills and gain confidence on stage. That’s how it all started. In total, I have 10 years experience on the stage.

Since 2009, I have been actively participating in organized cultural activities.

Let’s talk about the project “Time of changes”. Why name the project “Time ofchanges”?

“Time for a change” because it is a new message in show business. It is time for a change in this area. I’m not afraid to say that in the future this can become a viable alternative to already existing music projects. Show business today is experiencing a “moral” decline.

Usually all projects are focused on established singers which have their own manner and possess the ability to feel confident on the stage.  These singers are already professionals; they have their own repertoire, style and provide an income to those who promote them. But no one wants to invest in young artists, those who are taking their first steps. Of course there should be projects to support professional singers, but there should also be projects that support talented, potential singers without experience, and perhaps without musical education.

If we consider the “Time of changes” project in comparison with other existing projects, such as X-Factor, “Ukraine’s Got Talent”, “The Voice of the Country”, we have shifted focus from just the commercial benefits to the realization of a persons’potential. Commerce is secondary.

Of course, the project will bring financial benefits to the organizers and participants as well, but it is not a priority.The main goal is to release and realize the creative potential of new singers, to further work with them and to create the Association of creative people. We plan to work in orphanages, youth prisons, and implement such projects in schools, etc.

Acquired professionalism, combined with talent and a great desire for the project, participants will be able to participate in a variety of commercial activities through the Producing Center, concert organization and the event-agency, which is currently in development.

These days, a huge number of people who have graduated from the school of culture, variety-circus school, the National Academy of Culture and Arts, Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts, the Institute of Culture of Glier are difficult to locate in assisting with implementing the acquired knowledge, skills and, most importantly, talent. This is one of the problems that need to be resolved.  Therefore, the project “Time of change” is a project that intends to employ people after its completion, to unite artists into the Association of creative people for various projects with the aim of reforming show business.

Our team wants to help in such matters. We do not consider the “Time of changes”, as a project, which began April 15 and will end on June 29. It has continued with those people who eagerly want to change show business, the media and who want to help others enter into this area.

We have a censorship for the repertoire and follow rules: from thinking artist to thinking audience. The aim of the project is to bring musical creativity back to its original purpose: music, songs were created in order to edify, inspire, and not to destroy. What we see today on TV makes us think that show business is a source of seduction. Unformed personalities, kids watch the things that media propagates during our lifetime, and practice those things in their own lives.

“Time of changes” was created to bring an alternative. The participants perform both Christian and secular songs. Secular songs should be deep, but not to carry feelings of depression or a message like “sex-drugs-rock-n-roll.”

Of course, in the future we will progress and have a more well known noteriety, but for now  our members are budding artists and they work with exiciting songs. It is necessary that all songs have a positive meaning. The image of the singers should edify, inspire and be an example for the young generation. Therefore, this project is more concerned with promoting moral principles and values. It is an alternative project, this means it’s different and has different influences on show business.


What is the purpose of a song in your opinion?

A song is a part of creation. Creation – came from the word “Creator”. Its purpose – is to glorify the Creator. It should edify, inspire, heal and touch the heart. The song should only have a positive, creating influence. As water became pure and useful after prayer (as seen during the water experiment), a song must have the same effect. It should be healing water that nourishes a soul.

Today we can see that show business is like a podium of top models. Should a singer have the typical physical shape of 90-60-90?

I’m the kind of person who does not comply with such parameters.  Of course, from a healthy point of view, we have to be in good shape, avoid eating junk food, and also exercise like playing sports. This applies to any field.

However, in this case we are talking about the stereotypes that have developed in our society. I watched American X-Factor, X-Factor in Australia and in England. I watched the Grammy awards in 2013 and I saw that a lot of singers do not meet the “ideal” beauty standard of 90-60-90. For example, Adele, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez.  We cannot say that these women are ugly because they are a standard of beauty according to many rating journals. For example, Marilyn Monroe – had a curvy body shape, but she is the standard of beauty for many men and women. It is stereotypical thinking to say that if you do not meet these particular standards, then you are less talented.  This may explain the reason why many projects do not accept overweight people, the same thing occurs with karaoke restaurants. To break these stereotypes, it is necessary to be an individual and special. Of course, one needs to keep in good shape, but if a person has a curvy body type by nature, then you do not need to be ashamed and try to rebuild yourself, losing your individuality. I think that in our country it is imperative to destroy these stereotypes which dictate that only women with the ideal 90-60-90 figure should be on the stage.

The media is oversaturated with this “ideal” standard of beauty, and I think that audiences want to see a different standard. Therefore, I strongly believe that everyone should remain an individual and that you “should not to buckle under the changeable world, it is better if it buckles under us.”


What kind of qualities should an artist of the Kingdom of God have?

An artist should be a spiritual person who has personal knowledge of God, they should have a personal relationship with Him, and everything they do, they should do it for God. An artist must be a person that has a heart that beats in unison with the heart of Jesus.

Vanity and self-centeredness must be overcome.The problem of “star disease” disappears when there is a deep relationship with the Creator. Knowledge of Jesus – this is what will protect a person from the poison of self-glorification.

Also, the heart of the artist, should be sacrificial, i.e. not  only glorify God with their voice, but also glorify God through other actions. For example, they can help children at an orphanage learn professional singing, they can organize different projects for children with disabilities. Besides the fact that a person sings, records discs, promotes themselves, they need to be able to invest themselves in other people and be prepared to share their own knowledge and experience.

Additionally, this person, as God’s vessel must have a deep foundation of principles including the fear of the Lord and holiness. There are many temptations in show business like money, fame, alcohol, drugs and sex, but the fear of God will keep the vessel sanctified. We have to carry a positive image. You can be a successful singer,established in this sphere and not flaunt all your charms, as well you do not wear ”belts-skirts”, but you arevirtuous and pure. Through the voice of a singer of the Kingdom God is glorified. When standing on stage, one should remember that he is a conductor of God. His vessel must be clean.

Regarding the qualities of an artist’s character, the artist must be a highly motivated person and be a person of faith. Everything that God puts in him, must be established responsibly. And if God gives some uncomprehended  for our mind goals and dreams, one must have faith in order to reach the end. Also it is imortant to be a hard worker.

What can protect an artist of the Kingdom of Godfrom becoming the same as the other secular artists? Some people believe it is almost impossible to be pure in show business, as well as in politics. They say, it sucks …

We have a different spirit. If a person really has a good foundation, heavenly values, lives with eternityin mind, loves God and knows his reason for  going to this area, he positions himself as a “savior” and does not live for himself so he would not be “sucked” into secular life. Those who understand the truth and their priority, will do more than just “survive”, they will influence, bring change and initiatere form. It is important to remember that we are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and that our purpose is to influence, not to conform. It’s very hard not to conform for many reasons, for example, the influence and impact of public opinion, the fear of not being understood and accepted, as well as an unwillingness to stand out. Therefore in order to withstand these things, we desperately need a deep personal relationship with God.


In the current culture, can the church effectively influence show business and what does the church need to do to accomplish this, in your opinion?

The church is able to influence show business and is already doing that. But it could be more powerful. Creative people should unite to influence in this area, a collaborative effort is required. There are Christians who act separately, but what can one man do against such a huge machine that is functioning solely for the purpose of the destruction of all mankind?

The team of believers, creative people can significantly affect this area. Christians need to comprehend that they are not competitors with each other, but that we have one purpose – to return the sphere of culture and art back to its Creator. Therefore, another important goal of the project is teambuilding. With this project we want to attract as many people who are called to this area as possible. As I have said before, one of our goals to create the Association of creative people, in order to have a larger and stronger influence.

What are your plans after the project?

Presently, the“Time of changes” project is aimed towards the discovery of the creative potential of members from Kiev and Kiev regional churches. In the future, we want to expand geographically and include all Ukrainian churches, eventually expanding the project on an international level for the churches abroad. I would like the project expansion to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Embassy of God church.

Also, we are starting this project, as socialone, at the colony for juvenile offenders, where the CF “Rebirth of children in Ukraine” team has been operating for a long time. We have a huge opportunity to work there. There are many talented children in the prison. I want to give them a positive start to life after leaving the colony, so they know where to go and what to do.

I plan to continue working with the project graduates, and help them to become singers, songwriters, and ministers in show business. I want to engage them in different social projects, so that they can become an effective, efficient weapon of evangelism and bring social changes to their own local church, as well as acquiring the support of their leaders and pastors. We plan to engage them in commercial activities as well.

Eventually the project will be branded. Also other long-term goals include: the opening of the production center, event-agencies to engage with the project at the production center as graduates develop.

What would you like to wish to budding artist?

I was once a budding artist, I understand that you do not always have supportive people around you that applaud you and say, “You really can do this.” Sometimes there is no one who can support you as you take your first steps, engage in various endeavors, and to inspire you to do the right things. However, this will not stop the artists’ desire to sing. Sometimes, a person may have a dream in their heart, and they may doubt those dreams, I truly wish we would not doubt our dreams. As artists, we are responsible for all the gifts and talents that God has given us, so we have to develop and use them. The main thing is to start using what we have and be diligent with it. It is important not to doubt, to believe in a dream, start doing something, to practice, to use the opportunities that arise along the way. It is important not give up and go all the way to the end, to believe in yourself. Do not pay attention to public opinion, do not let external factors stifle your desire to become a singer, excuses like ” I have no money – I will not be able to finish” or “I’m ugly.” If a person has a talent there is no need to focus on what you do not have. If it was given to us by God, it means that we have everything we need to fulfill the goal. I would like to mention the importance of daily work. Successful fruit is a result of daily, pains taking work.

So engage in work hard, believe, do not pay attention to difficulties that arise, instead safely overcome them.

Interview prepared by: The Head of Department for work with young offenders, the deputy head of the board of CF “Rebirth of children in the Ukraine,” Catherine Nechet, the head of the training center.

Translated by Anna Krets
Edited by Sharin Collins

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