Europe’s New Music Factory: Poland

European countries like France, England, Sweden, and Holland have been producing pop stars at a dizzying pace for years, but perhaps the unlikeliest new star factory in the EU is a country not known for much in America besides sausage: Poland. Warsaw’s music scene has been pumping out some of the best hip-hop in Europe for years, but lately female singers are on the rise in the former Eastern Bloc country, seemingly ready for international fame with a few new songs sung in English. Cases in point? Natalia Lesz (pictured left) and Doda. Both Warsaw-based women are making waves in their own country and abroad, and Doda’s outrageous, recently-released video for “Bad Girls” topped YouTube’s most-viewed music videos list one day last month (take that, Britney).

Lesz and Doda are joining singers such as Tatiana Okupnik, who recently moved to London, in an effort to spread Polish pop beyond the country’s borders. Lesz in particular is poised to achieve fame in Europe and America. The 29-year-old spent nearly all of her twenties in New York and later Los Angeles, fine-tuning her accent and working with several notable producers — Glen Wells, Greg Ballard — to boot. Her forthcoming set for EMI Poland (no U.S. release set yet) pops with synth-driven numbers that sound straight off a Robyn record, crossed with contemporary R&B rhythms. Last year, Lesz wowed fans worldwide with a stellar video for her “Radioactive,” showing Polish hipsters in all their skinny splendor.

Doda is just a step ahead of Lesz on the international scene, even though her accent is a bit stronger (something that’s traditionally held foreign singers back). But Doda’s outrageous mix of pulsing electro pop crossed with guitars and operatic vocals have already grabbed the attention of French media outlets. The Warsaw media’s level of interest in just about everything the singer does is on par with America’s obsession with Lady Gaga. A forthcoming single from Doda is simply titled “Fuck It,” and everything the blonde does seems calculated to titillate and cause controversy. (Last year, she caused a stir internationally when media outlets, including London’s Telegraph, reported that she faced blasphemy charges after the star said the Bible was written by drunks and people with a fondness for “herbal cigarettes.”)

Apparently trash-talking the good book is some sort of crime in Poland, but Doda and Lesz’s music is far from criminal — more like criminally under rated.

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