- Klavier (Piano)
- Geige (Violine)
- Bratsche (Viola)
Gergana is a multi-genre singer, active across the Benelux and Switzerland, based in Zürich.
Gergana Velikova bietet auch Fernunterricht an.Wie funktioniert Fernunterricht bei uns?
10 Lektionen an 45 Min.: CHF 840
Gesang und Musikproduktion
Pop, R'n'B, Soul, Funk, Rock und Worldmusic
Anfänger, Fortgeschrittene und Master
Englisch, Holländisch und Bulgarisch
Gergana Velikova unterrichtet Schüler*innen ab 13 Jahren
Interview mit Gergana Velikova
Which musician has influenced you the most?
Krassimir Kuyrkchiyski - a name that might not be familiar to many of you. He was a Bulgarian composer and the conductor of the Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares - a massive female choir specialized in Bulgarian polyphony. This genre was blooming in the second half of the 20th century, allowing composers to transform authentic folk tunes into modern compositions. To give you an idea of its sound, think of the intro to Stromae's song 'L'enfer' or the opening of the Lady Gaga documentary 'Five Feet Two' (the composition is called Kafal Sviri, arranged by Petar Lyondev).
Why did his influence matter so much to me? Krassimir Kuyrkchiyski's impact defines who I am as an artist and songwriter today. It pushed me to explore the possibilities of blending the worlds of Bulgarian folk music and contemporary pop, shaping my artistic identity.
What can you teach me about your instruments different than any other teacher?
The word ‘better’ resonates somehow falsely in my head. When you want to enjoy a traditional Italian pasta dish, you wouldn't visit a sushi restaurant, right? You'd choose an Italian restaurant known for its pasta because each restaurant specializes in a specific cuisine. Similarly, when you're looking to develop your singing abilities, it's essential to choose a vocal coach who specializes in the style and techniques that align with your goals. Just as you wouldn't expect a sushi chef to make the perfect pasta. Each coach has their unique strengths and areas of expertise. Therefore, comparing teachers becomes less about 'better' and more about finding the right fit for you. My strengths as a vocal coach lie in vocal technique, singing harmonies, riffs and runs, helping you learn songs in languages you don’t speak by training your ear, helping you discover the beauty of your lower range, teaching you how to record yourself, and performing.
How did you learn to play your instrument?
Music has been a part of my life since the day I was born, growing up with a singer for a mom and a folk instrumentalist for a dad. They had a tough time making a living from music, so they made a promise to never EVER let their kids follow the same path. This promise worked for my older brother and sister, but not for me. When I was very young, it broke my mom’s heart to keep me from music. Even the kindergarten teachers recognized my talent and let me sing at different events. When I was six years old, my mother relented and enrolled me in a children's choir. By the time I was ten, I was taking private singing lessons and entering pop and rock singing contests in Bulgaria, which were quite popular.
However, my parents also wanted me to focus on something "serious", so I ended up studying Accounting in high school. But my passion for singing never waned, and I moved to Belgium to turn my cherished hobby into a profession. In Belgium, I spent five years studying music - pop singing at the School of Arts and Conservatory in Ghent.
How do you go about writing a song or composing a piece yourself?
Songwriting is a very individual journey, and every artist has their own path to creativity. I always build my compositions around "unconventional" rhythmic patterns. Perhaps it's the influence of growing up in the Balkans that makes me comfortable with odd time signatures like 7/8, 9/8, or 11/16. These rhythms, often associated with jazz, have found their way into my pop songs.
Once I have an intriguing rhythmic riff, I go to the piano, where I explore different chords. It's here that the essence of Krassimir Kuyrkchiyski's influence manifests itself. The ‘jazzier’, the closer and more dissonant the chords, the more satisfying the result. My songwriting journey began during my music studies, and my teachers often told me that I had a knack for making complexity sound simple and catchy.
My next step involves creating the lead melody, and finally, guided by the emotions evoked by the music, I start working on the lyrics, which can be the trickiest part!
On what equipment do you play today?
I'm at ease when I perform with my Neuman KMS105 microphone, NI- KOMPLETE KONTROL A49 MIDI controller, and NI - MACHINE sampler. The Native Instruments software is a valuable companion during my songwriting process. For performing live, recording demos, and audio editing, I use Ableton.
What personal trait has helped you when you practice the most?
As number one, I’d say patience. Discipline and consistently using the right materials for practice have also been invaluable. Enjoying the material I work on is essential for motivation and keeping the learning process engaging. I emphasize the importance of understanding that the vocal cords (and the whole body - you use it all during singing) require a good balance between practice and rest. You are using one of the most fragile instruments, and being frustrated or pushing your voice to its limits can have irreversible consequences. It's akin to hitting the gym – you can't expect a six-pack after your first workout, can you? Patience, discipline, self-compassion, avoiding excessive strain, and letting muscle memory do its work are key.
What does your instrument have that others don't?
What makes my voice different, is its ability to sing very low – I can effortlessly reach A2, which is quite rare. This distinctive quality sets my singing apart and adds a unique dimension to my vocal skills.
What you pay special attention to when you teach?
When I was younger, I started taking piano lessons in addition to singing lessons. However, my teacher only allowed me to play classical music, when all I wanted to do was learn pop songs. This dampened my enthusiasm until I abandoned the lessons. Over time, by playing pieces I really loved, the piano and I rekindled our connection. This experience has taught me a valuable lesson: the importance of teaching materials that resonate with students. I always let my students choose what interests and excites them, as this boosts engagement and motivation.
Very often during a singing lesson, you are accompanied on piano/guitar by the teacher. I prefer to use karaoke and backing tracks, as it allows me to focus on my student's progress, rather than getting caught up in playing the correct chords. I often add some movement to class to create a comfortable atmosphere.
Above all, I prioritize having a good match with my students and building strong connections. Fun and mutual respect are crucial for a positive and productive learning experience.
How do you build up your music lessons?
My singing lessons are usually based on the following 5 principles.
1. Warm-Up: We begin with warm-up exercises to prepare the voice.
2. Technical Exercises: These vary based on the student's needs.
3. Repertoire: We work on songs chosen by the student. After covering the technical aspects, we delve into learning the song thoroughly, including its background and meaning. This helps students interpret the song in their unique way during performance.
4. Feedback: An important part of the lesson for both sides.
5. Homework: We discuss what needs to be practiced before the next lesson.
What do you do with children?
I typically work with students starting from the age of 13. I adjust my teaching style to be more suitable for teenagers and young learners in their early teens, just as I adjust to each student in the course of learning.
What was until now your greatest experience as a musician?
Do you remember the dark era of the pandemic? I certainly do. At that time, I was still living in Belgium and the restrictions there were quite strict. I was in the final stages of my studies at the Conservatory, preparing for my end exam, a 1-hour concert featuring my original music, created over the last two years of my Master's.
Until the last moment, we didn’t know whether we'd be allowed to perform in front of a live audience. Thankfully, a solution was found, and we invited 100 people (which now seems almost comically small) to a breathtaking venue. It had been about two years since any of us had seen so many people in the same place - that felt surreal!
I vividly remember being backstage, meditating to reduce the stress. As I stepped onto the stage, I was greeted by a packed audience, filled with familiar faces who had come to hear my own music. Overwhelmed with happiness, I couldn't hold back my tears. It took me a moment to calm myself down and begin my first song, which I performed solo, with no accompanying instruments. Everyone could hear the excitement in my voice throughout the performance.
The entire event was a profoundly moving and unforgettable experience, one that will stay with me forever.
What was the largest stage that you've performed on?
The largest stage I've ever performed on was during my participation in 'The Voice van Vlaanderen' in 2016. I qualified for the live shows, and I remember that the venue was gigantic, with approximately 3,000 people in attendance each week.
Which musician would you like to play with?
I would love to collaborate with Jacob Collier because I know he's a huge fan of Bulgarian polyphony. His deep appreciation for this unique musical tradition makes me eager to explore how our musical styles could blend and create something truly special.
Which record would you bring to a desert island?
I'd choose Stromae's "Multitude" for my desert island stay. Although I don't speak French yet and can't understand the lyrics, I'm enamored by how Stromae skillfully blends various cultures and musical traditions. His ability to create a unique cross-cultural musical experience resonates with my own artistic aspirations. I see "Multitude" as a revolution in contemporary pop music, which pushes the boundaries of what's possible in the genre.
On which stage do you prefer to perform?
I would love to perform at Rock Werchter, a major festival in Belgium known for its diverse line-up across various genres. I believe my music would be a great fit for this festival. Additionally, I have a strong desire to perform at festivals in Bulgaria, where the audience would have a deeper connection to my music as many of the lyrics are in Bulgarian. Finally, I'd also enjoy being a part of the numerous Open-air festivals in Switzerland.
After music, what is important in your life?
Besides music, what I value the most in my life are my family and the people I choose to have around me. Strong and meaningful relationships are of utmost importance to me. There's a saying that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and I wholeheartedly believe in that. I actively seek to surround myself with inspiring and loving individuals because I want to be that source of inspiration and positivity in their lives as well.