I was born in Ukraine but when I was six months old, we moved to Cuba and I was there until seven years old. I think that community is also very similar. Cuba is super free; everybody will open their doors to you. If a child is crying on the street, everybody’s watching him. A kid can do anything and nobody will stop him—No “You cannot do this or that.” Just do it, you know? So it was also very important. After Cuba, I grew up near Odessa, which is where I also went for university. It’s the best place ever.
And do you still live in Odessa now?
Yes, and that’s the goal. Everybody’s like “Go to LA.” No, no, no, no. I want to—and will—go back to Odessa.
Home is always home. Just to paint a picture for the readers, how would you describe Odessa?
It’s near the sea, so a lot of ships come and go, and it’s a mixture of different cultures. People are very funny and sarcastic—that’s my favorite. For anything, you can come and just have a joke about it. It’s a very cool vibe. You have all the seasons, you have the sea, you have great food, the people also—it’s so amazing, and it’s not expensive to live. Amazing place.
I think it’s not even about the place but about your family and friends. It’s very hard work, making music videos. To put in your big effort, to make all of the stuff and make it good? You need to go somewhere and recharge yourself, and L.A. is not the place you can recharge.
I completely get that. In Odessa do you live near family and friends?
Everyone is like five minutes away from each other.
How are your family and friends now?
It’s different. Most of my friends left, and are here with me. But men cannot leave Ukraine. From the age of 18 until 60, they can’t leave. Some of them, people that have families, they stay with the men because they don’t want to separate. My mother is also still there. My family is there because Odessa is basically still okay. They prepared their bags just in case something happens, so they can leave quickly. But the men cannot leave. Each day, you wake up and just check on everybody… It’s crazy.
You’ve been outspoken on social media about the war; in one post, you said that this is not a time to just post a Ukrainian flag and go back to your life as normal. Speaking to readers in America and also around the world, what would you like to say to them?
Of course we need to help Ukraine with all the military help, with food and all the medicine. But it’s also Russian propaganda. They post lies about what happened; they all say we are doing it to ourselves, like what the fuck?
That’s my goal, for people to see what’s really happening. People don’t understand how crazy what they are really doing is. I have a big audience in Russia, so I wanted to open their eyes to speak and to spread this news that it’s not what we’re doing, but what the Russian military is doing to our civilian people.