Russian born, Dublin based singer Larissa wrote her first song at the age of four and later completed a formal academic degree in Choir Conducting, Singing and Piano to become a professional musician.
I know she is from Southern Ireland but Ireland’s Ireland to me.
Larissa moved from the busy city of Moscow to the quieter countryside in Ireland in 2001 and now lives on a rural farm with her husband who also owns a butcher’s shop, CR Tormey, established by her husband Christy’s father, Robin, in 1943.
Larissa explained to The Irish World in 2018:
“Christy and I met in 2001, in Moscow, when he went there for a stag weekend. I’m originally from central Russia, the Ural Mountains region. My parents were foresters, and I grew up in the middle of a pine forest.
“I trained as a classical pianist and mezzo-soprano, so my style is based on classical music. But I always wanted to be a singer/songwriter. I started to write poetry, and then songs when I was six years old.”
And as a classically trained pianist and vocal coach, Larissa has performed music in both her native Russia and Ireland for years.
When Larissa moved to Ireland, the original plan had been to completely quit her music career and concentrate on her new life and the family’s large beef farm, which supplies the butcher shop.
“I had to learn so many things: to drive; to speak English; to cook Irish food, and to use the Aga.”
But after a while, she became a choir conductor in Tullamore College and started to sing again in church and at weddings. Living in that part of Ireland she could hardly escape the popularity of the country and Irish music scene, so she soon began to love, absorb and share the local love of Irish Country Music.
Larissa made her break onto the music scene in Ireland when she released her first album ‘Perfect As I Am’ in November 2014, following the tragic passing of her mother. She commenced a social media campaign to build her reputation and many of her followers suggested that she should branch into country music.
“I started to think that country music would suit me because I am so involved in the rural community; I mix with country people and I love country life.”
In June 2014, Larissa was accepted as a guest singer at YOUBLOOM Global Music Village, a music conference event for the best international artists, in Dublin.
Larissa then released a charity single in December. “Special Christmas” was listed among the 6 top Christmas Singles by Irish Independent. Larissa spends a lot of time working for charities and fundraising for different causes that are dear to her heart.
In 2015, Larissa was persuaded by her friend, Belfast songwriter BG Pollock, to record her first country single “Only a Woman”. Written by Pollock the single reached the Top 100 Airplay country singles in the first week of its release, and the video was premiered on The Hot Country channel on Sky TV.
This work and collaboration with BG led Larissa to her second country album, “God Loves A Trier”, which was released on 17th of March 2017. The album showcases her musical versatility and incorporates some Irish folk music along with traditional Irish dancing country tunes. This also included the famous U.K. steel guitar player Sarah Jory, and Nashville-based guitarist Daniel Parks.
Larissa reunited with producer David McCune, who produced her previous album and several of the new album’s songs, and she also enlisted producer Pete Ware, whose notable productions include the albums of international country singer Charlie Landsborough and Mary Duff.
Larissa then performed an intimate acoustic show for the album launch, playing the piano alongside the multi-talented musician Kevin Whyms on guitar.
Shortly after release, she opened the most prestigious country music event in Ireland “Hot Country TV Awards” and “The Sunday World” entertainment journalist Eddie Rowley, wrote a big article about her in June 2017, and entitled Meet Our Mos-Caw Girl”.
Then, in July, Larissa appeared on RTE 1 radio on the Countrywide program with a fabulous interview produced by the famous Brenda Donohue, and after, she appeared in an interview on the Keep in Country TV channel with RTE radio presenter Shay Byrne and sang her latest songs.
2018 started well for Larissa when she won ‘Cultural Crossover Country Artist of the Year’ at the Sunday World Music and Entertainment Awards in Ireland. She was also featured in two of Ireland’s most popular TV Shows: Nationwide, and The Late Late Show. And more was to follow.
March had seen her released the album ‘Cowgirls Don’t Cry’, which includes her version of “Danny Boy” in Russian and English. She is full of drive and energy and has a beautifully trained voice.
July 3rd came the single of the Irish ballad ‘The Wind on the Hill’. Written by Pat McKenna and Michael Commins, Larissa hadrecorded the song, again featuring Kevin Whyms on guitar, and dedicated it to the late Big Tom McBride. This is a beautiful song, which Larissa accentuates well, with her Russian-Irish Lilt.
2019 was also a busy year for Larissa, which included the release of her singles, “The Big Man” (Feb 15), “Only My Heart Knows” (May 10), and her latest EP, Inner Angel (July 3), whereas most reached the top chart positions in Ireland and abroad.
Plus she was working on her fourth country album due to be released in September 2020
This is just a small history of Larissa’s successful journey, which has made her feel accepted into Irish society, despite her Russian roots.
Larissa is still busy, as January started with the release of singles “Inner Angel – Remix” and “One Drop of Water” in April.
While in lockdown, Larissa decided to return to her contemporary pop songwriting and to work on a new original project with her friend Dublin based producer and guitarist Kevin Whyms.
In May, she released her version of the Covid-19 song “Live Another Day, which is the first song of her new project “Larissa Goes Jazzy”, and reveals the songwriter’s very personal response to health scares and the meaning of life.
“Live Another Day” was included in the Top 30 best releases in the Netherlands recently and climbed the charts in other EU countries.
Larissa also established herself as a video blogger. Over a year ago, she created a very successful show on her social media “My Music And My Story”, where she is interviewing independent musicians and helping them to promote their music.
Larissa has shown that no stage is too big for her talent.
But Larissa is about more than just her talent, as anyone who has enjoyed time in her company will testify. Her positivity and energy, perfectly complemented by a sense of style and elegance, make Larissa a natural entertainer, on and off stage.
This is just a small feature on Larissa and her career, so if you want more, then check out her official website, and follow on her socials.
As always, the BCA would like to thank our artiste for their time and wish them continued success.
“Larissa is a one-of-a-kind artist in two different ways. Firstly, she’s the first and only Russian native performing on the Irish country music scene. And secondly, as a triple-threat entertainer who is a classically trained vocalist, who plays the piano, and who is a talented songwriter, combined with her drive, energy, and ambition, Larissa, simply by being herself, is a person and a performer to admire.”
— TULLAMORE TRIBUNE
“On Stage Larissa’s love of performing is very evident. She comes across as a full of confidence and regards of performing in front of an audience as one of the most special places in the world for her.”
— IRELAND’S EYE
“Larissa is a joyful spirit, consumed with her love of music”
— IRISH FARMER’S JOURNAL
The Triple Treat Beauty Putting Russian Heart In Irish Country ~ LOCAL IRISH ARTICLE BY ANTHONY SULLIVAN
To find out where you can hear Larissa Tormey being showcased all this week, check out http://britishcountryairplay.co.uk/artiste-of-the-week/