Larissa Tormey - a native of Central Russian - wrote her first song at the age of four and later completed a formal academic degree in Choir Conducting, Singing and Piano in order to become a professional musician.
She owned a music school and worked as a touring musician before she moved to Moscow to raise her profile; it is here that she staged her own show in a nightclub and met her other half.
“One night, we were having a party to celebrate my best friend’s birthday; I saw two English-speaking men at a table in a restaurant.” Larissa Tormey told Catherina Cunnane of That’s Farming.
“I invited the men to join our party and little did I know that one of them would become my husband.” She laughed.
The pair met in February-2001 and tied the knot in December of that year; Larissa made the big move to the Emerald Isle to Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath to join Christy and his family who own a farm and a butcher shop.
She took charge of accounts and administration and got involved in the practical running of the farm with duties including herding and animal husbandry.
“I only spoke a few words of English; it was very basic. I didn’t think that I was going to be doing any music anymore.”
Despite this, Larissa was asked to pump her extensive choir-conducting expertise into Tullamore College and she later diversified into church wedding ceremonies.
Larissa made her break onto the music scene in Ireland when she released her first album ‘Perfect As I Am’, following the tragic passing of her mother in 2014.
She commenced a social media campaign to build her reputation and many of her followers suggested that she should branch into country music.
Larissa was then approached by BG Pollock who asked her to record ‘Only a Woman’; she agreed to this and during the first week of release, it climbed to ‘100 most downloaded country songs’ in the iTunes stores.
“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.”
“Country music has two very important ingredients - stories that one can emotionally connect with and the songs usually have a very big melody. It can be very interesting for professional artists to do it.”
Larissa worked on her second album - ‘God Loves A Trier’ on March 17th, 2017 (St. Patrick’s Day) and recorded popular country songs for ‘Cowgirls Don’t Cry’, which also hit radio stations on St. Patrick’s Day in 2018.
She is now working on her fourth album and has already released ‘The Wind on the Hill’. Larissa recorded the song written by Pat McKenna and Michael Commins and dedicated it to the late Big Tom McBride.
This milestone came just weeks after she became the inaugural winner of the Cultural Crossover Country Artist of the Year Award at the Sunday World Music and Entertainment Awards.
This successful journey has made her feel accepted into Irish society despite her Russian roots.
“It was a mad idea from the start, but it has worked somehow. I feel so Irish, as Irish as Russian.”
“I cannot really deny my roots and I am very proud that I have settled so well in Ireland. I feel very happy and a part of society.”
“I not only moved to Ireland but I integrated - this was a major achievement. Ireland is my home and if I go away, I miss it.”
Looking forward, the Irish-Russian country singer intends to gravitate more towards country folk music as time progresses.
“I believe that country-folk suits my personality and voice but I don’t want to limit myself.”
With three albums released and the fourth in the pipeline, Larissa is planning more live appearances for the remainder of 2018.
She wowed the crowds at Tullamore Show 2018 and she is set to perform at the National Ploughing Championships later this month.
Her blog and tour dates can be found on social media:
Image source: Larissa Tormey.