Copyright Warning: Copyright relating to Joseph Kobzon's artistic works, including inter alia his musical performances, recordings, photographs, videos, books, articles or the use of his name for commercial purposes are protected under the Berne Convention. For all enquiries relating to the publication or reproduction of copyright material, including the use of his name and/or image for any purposes whatsoever should be directed to All breaches of copyright will be enforced.

Natalya Kobzon: Words of love and tenderness

Since childhood, my relationship with my father evolved not entirely as it does in other families - we rarely saw each other. He was mostly on tour, as he is now, and if he happened to be in Moscow, we still didn’t see much of each other because of his engagements. Nevertheless, his family was the main pillar of his life. He constantly inquired about what had happened while he was gone, and of course, gave us all instructions in accordance with his role as man of the house. Our mother also inspired us to view our father as the ‘commander-in-chief’ of the family, and that we must honour and obey him. Thus, we knew that while he was far away, nothing was invisible to his eye.

During childhood, it seemed to me that my father was omnipotent, like a wizard from a fairy tale. If I was sick or hurt, I imagined that my father would come to protect me from anything; offering me sympathy and relief. And immediately, I would feel at ease. In fact, he really knows how to sympathize with people; even today, when my children fall and begin to cry, I say “now we will call Grandpa Joseph, and he will make you feel better!” They readily agree and calm down.

Certainly, I did no t get enough of him. But if he was nearby, he gave me this enormous dose of love, indulgence, attention and kindness, which compensated for the long separations. He loved to pinch my cheeks and to shake my face, making sounds of complete joy. He called me names such as “Kuzma” or “Scarecrow”. For others, these nicknames probably sounded strange, but I and those closest to me knew that that was his way of expressing feelings of tenderness. I cherish the idea that he does the same with his granddaughters, but I am glad that my nicknames were left for me, while my children got their own.

To say some particularly tender words was not his style. Instead of words, his actions overwhelm all who are near. And how much feeling he expresses while singing! Although he has seen so much in his life, he preserved a childlike pure soul. He is so sentimental that while performing, he sometimes releases quiet and bitter tears. When this energy fills the concert halls, tears flow like a river in the audience…

In time, I came to understand that when people listen to him, they open up; and all the pain, weight, and other strong feelings that have accumulated also pour out with tears that cleanse their souls. Joseph Kobzon’s appearances do not leave anyone impartial, in the least, they offer people reason to have a deep respect for him.

He possesses a truly splendid and rich timbre in his voice. He is a master vocalist and his repertoire is filled with beautiful melodies. All the lyrics have meaning because he sincerely believes in what he sings, and his listeners believe him. Interestingly, he never adjusted to the changing trends in music. His resoluteness and confidence in his art has made him a timeless and legendary figure. He has been on stage for 50 years! And all of this time, people listen to him with enthusiasm, and in every appearance on stage, Kobzon elicits thunderous applause from grateful audiences. Every time a concert is dedicated to veterans or to a patriotic theme, the audience stands; presidents also stand along with everyone else.

However, it wasn’t easy for him to reach such fame and respect. Many years ago, immediately after his release from the army, he arrived in Moscow. He first studied at the Gnesin Academy of Music, and at the Merzlyakovka Music School at the Moscow Conservatory, but he preferred Gnesin. At that time, he knew nobody in Moscow who could help him financially. He didn’t have money to buy new clothes, and wore his army uniform. He was far from home and far from his family. To get by, he gathered potatoes, and was allowed to take a bag home with him, and it had to feed him for a long time.

Many years have passed since then. Today, Kobzon is not just a well-known singer, but also an influential politician, businessman, patron, a wealthy man, and much more… He began to make his fortune while on the stage – his wages were of the highest rate. He was never tired – he often performed three concerts a day, and traveled all over the vast Soviet Union as well as foreign countries.

He achieved a lot because he was merciless to himself. His ability to work is phenomenal – anyone who knows him knows that.

He wouldn’t even slow down for his family - we just had to accept that Joseph Kobzon was superhuman. Things are only good for him if his schedule is full. When we are relaxing together, he goes insane by idling about, and we soon need another break as a result of just keeping up with his activities.

To be with him involves constantly being under pressure. He is very demanding with both himself and with those around him. As soon as he opens his eyes, my mother is subjected to it, followed by everyone he encounters during the day. And then my mother, again. But then there are a few hours break when he rests, and for sure he is still working even in his sleep. He has said he does not like the night. I think that is because it is the end of the working day. He loves mornings, although it brings a lot of business affairs and troubles. Interestingly, he likes it when problems are brought to him that he can puzzle over. It’s as though he was made to overcome obstacles, and to this day I believe there is nothing too difficult for him. Doing things for people close to him gives him great pleasure and he expects nothing in return except a kind word and respect.

To me, it is flattering when people say I am like my father, even when they mean that it I am as difficult as he is. I inherited a lot from my dad – both genetically and in terms of the values he passed onto me. Maybe these qualities make it hard for those close to us, but to me, this is very normal, and many of these qualities I would hope to see in my children.

He influenced me not through lectures - although they certainly did take place - but from his personal example, and that was unquestionably the most convincing method of education.

The principles that guided my father are in many respects old-fashioned and are too idealized for toady’s sufficiently cynical society. But he manages to live by them and achieved more than those who just go with the flow.

Joseph Kobzon is a talented artist and a phenomenal personality.

My father is not religious but he relates to all faiths and persuasions with respect. One of the main tenants he teaches is tolerance and love for all people. He often says “there are no bad nations, there are just bad people.” He learns with great interest about ceremonies, traditions, culture and even the food of all countries and republics that he manages to visit. Despite being a politician, he nevertheless puts friendship and love of people first.

There are cases when people all around him say “Joseph don’t poke your head out – you could get hurt”. But his justification was always s tronger than sober reasoning – he was helping his friends. Who knows if this was stupidity or wisdom? However, frequently those who were in trouble thanked my father for his support. And we were so happy to see how he was loved by people of different nationalities and that they believed in him and knew that he was their defender and a sincere well-wisher. Many prefer to act as though they are being politically correct, but often they cannot look straight into the eyes of people who they betrayed. But for my father, I am sure his conscience will never tortured for any unworthy act or cowardice.

To be friends with Kobzon is a great honor. And not only because of his fame, but also because hardly anyone else knows the way to relate to people and value friendship as he does.

Thankfully, he has many friends left who love and appreciate him as a friend. I say “left” because unfortunately, there are always those who try to use their friendship with him for their mercantile purposes and having received what they wanted from him, they disappear. For him it often became necessary to be disappointed in people. He was often hurt by it, but did not despair or become depressed, but gave himself more work to do. And soon good things arose that gave him new triumphs and renewed inspiration surfaced.

The best medicine for him is the stage – he never tires of it. Interestingly, the more he sings, the more energy he has. Once, long ago, Alexander Ivanov said “As you don’t stop a running bison, you don’t stop the singing of Kobzon.” That is right on the mark. He sings everywhere and always. He constantly takes part in charitable functions and sponsors free concerts. There were even appearances before prisoners. He happily congratulates all his friends and acquaintances with a song, and gives performances for all kinds of celebrations. I was lucky enough to be present for much of such beautiful celebrations and I can say with pride and confidence that there is hardly any person except for my father who can bring to such soulfulness and warmth to a celebration, so that the evening is one that is not forgotten.

His whole life, he was interested in bright personalities. He has such deep admiration and is enraptured with human talent, intelligence, and those with the will and skill to selflessly work. My father has an interesting biography and plenty of stories about outstanding people. His friends represent a diverse range of professions. These are the best of the best: actors, poets, composers, artists, sculptors, musicians, directors, writers, scientists, doctors, politicians, journalists, cosmonauts, ballet, circus performers and athletes.

All of us that are close to him are very taken by this – because of him we are able to come into contact with so many great people - legends. We have mingled amongst them – time unforgettably spent. When he is in a cheery mood, he tells enchanting stories about many of them, recalling every possible ridiculous incident from life on tour. He is a gifted storyteller and when people listen, their jaws literally drop.

He has an innate sense of humor. Many know how he wittily reacts, warding off his opponent’s attacks. He knows a vast number of anecdotes, jokes and folk songs and presents them as no other can with a great sense of timing.

Many are impressed with his memory. He knows by heart an immense amount of poems and has a repertoire of about 3,000 songs. He also remembers the names of people whom he met only once or twice long ago. After singing a song once, he can remember every word even 35 years later. He remembers the birthday of his many friends and relatives and does not forget to send them birthday greetings.

From his mother, he inherited a unique quality – to constantly get involved in learning about the problems of friends and family so that when the time comes, you can help. He cannot just be at the sidelines. It can come across to some as intrusive, but it is just absolutely natural for him. Indifference does not suit Kobzon – he always participates and helps.

Our entire family had to endure him risking his life on many occasions: nine trips to Afghanistan during the war, he was among the first to rush off to Chernobyl after the explosion, he did a concert in Chechnya, and he went to the negotiations in Nord Ost. And there were accomplishments that I cannot name. And how many actual people has he saved! There are many examples of extreme cases in which he connected people to the best doctors, made arrangements with hospitals, helped with housing questions, arranged for instruction at an institute of higher education, helped financially, and so on.

Another major part of his life is culture. In his opinion, if young people are brought up in a culturally-rich setting, life will be better for the whole country. He was recently chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on Culture. It pains him that on stage there is a banal mediocrity due to so many rich sponsors. He tries by all means to spare people from falsity, such as lip-synching. He persistently fights for more funding for cultural programs and fortunately has been successful. My father worries about the spiritual education of people, and the revival on the country of centuries-old traditions.

As a deputy, he has long fought for the adoption of the “Protection of the Rights and Benefits of Citizens of the Russian Federation” bill. For him, it is painful to see such a powerful country lose prestige and respect. It happens that unfortunate incidents occur on account of some of our citizens. For example, many Russians living abroad in the last decade have become infamous for shameful behavior. And such people should not be justified or protected. But these are isolated cases and do not represent the entire Russian population. However Russia does not come out in defense of its law-abiding citizens whether they have been unfairly slandered in other countries, or treated disrespectfully at the border of another country, or they are groundlessly refused the granting of a visa. Joseph Kobzon has personally experienced this - because of manufactured, groundless slander, American authorities have claimed that he participated in illegal activity. He has denied these allegations, having collected a full file about himself from representatives of security services, a large package of official documents in which is it clearly stated that Joseph Kobzon has never been a suspect in any matter. For him, it has been a long fight with America, involving an application to the international court of justice, but to America it was all the same. If you think about it they have acted in a very boorish way towards a Russian icon like Kobzon… And for my father, the unforeseen and hard blow was the fact that a country to which he has devoted his whole life and for which he did so many important and necessary things, did not rise up to his defense when he needed in most. There is a vicious cycle – the state does not value the citizens, an they in turn do not respect the state. Indeed many great minds and salient personalities have been treated as such. My father never had any ideas about leaving Russia. But he dreams that this bill will be passed and that Russia will protect its citizens as all developed nations do.

It is worth mentioning one more sentimental, but very noble quality of Joseph Kobzon. This is a grateful memory about those who have died. There has not been a concert of his that was not dedicated to someone not able to be present. During such sad and bittersweet performances, he sincerely, in a manly manner, cries, recalling those who were dear to him. He is a very grateful person. If he has grown fond of someone, it is a life-long commitment. The first thing he does when he arrives in any city is to visit a cemetery where his friends or other outstanding countrymen are buried. This has showed me the importance of remembering those who have passed on…

It is possible to talk infinitely about Joseph Kobzon, as indeed he has accomplished in one life what 10 could not possibly do.

Here is what for me describes my father: a genuine, strong, proper, beautiful man. From childhood to the present I have never ceased to be proud of him.

In spite of how much others think of him, I try not to advertise that I am his daughter, as I consider that nature has played a role in my career, and I have nothing special about me to boast.

I have long thought about how to prepare a gift on the threshold of a dual anniversary – 70th anniversary and 50th anniversary of creative activity. I decided to create his official website, where I can share with the entire world many interesting facts about him.

If you go to, , you can learn a tremendous amount about his biography, activities, achievements, news, what the reviewers had to say about him, his anthology of songs, and you can listen to rare albums and see photographs and more.

I think the best part of this is that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren can learn important and interesting things about him and will be proud of him and try to take on some of his qualities!

Go Back