Diana Gurtskaya, blind singer
Diana Gurtskaya is a Russian singer of Georgian origin, social activist, Honored Artist of Russia (2006), member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.
Diana was born on July 2, 1978 in Sukhumi, Georgia, USSR. Blind from birth, Diana was the youngest of four children. Her elder brother Robert is her producer. At the age of 10 the girl made her debut at the Tbilisi Philharmonic Society, she sang a duet with the Georgian singer Irma Sokhadze.
Outstanding vocal talent ambition and hard work let Diana become the winner of the International Festival of Young Singers Yalta-Moscow-Transit 1995 and receive a special prize.
In 1999 Diana became the winner in the contest Slaviansky Bazar in Vitebsk, Belarus. She repeatedly became the winner of the trophy Zolotoy Gramafon festivals, Song of the Year ovation and many others.
In 1999 she graduated from the pop department of the Moscow Gnesin Music College. In 2003 she graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Art.
In March 2000, ARS studio released her debut album – You Are Here.
In 2002 her second album You Know Mom was released.
She represented Georgia at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia. She became the first blind singer from Eastern Europe, to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Gurtskaya has a lot of awards. Most notably, a 2007 Russian Honorable Artist award given to her by president Vladimir Putin, a Medal of Honor given to her by Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, and the Award of Saint Barbara in Ukraine amongst others.
The singer has recorded duets with various well-known foreign singers, including Ray Charles, Toto Cutugno, and Demis Roussos.
In 2009, Gurtskaya received significant media attention after failing to obtain a visa from the British embassy due to her blindness. However, after a much publicized campaign, a visa was granted, and the rules were changed.
Diana Gurtskaya helps blind and visually impaired children, regularly visits children’s pension houses and special schools for disabled children.
On September 21, 2005 Diana married professor and lawyer Peter Kucherenko (born on May 3, 1974). Together with his wife he created Blind Children’s Fund.
On June 29, 2007 Diana gave birth to their son Konstantin.