vlada wants to reassure you, “i’ve never planned any of this.” Not that you’d ever believe otherwise. After all, how could anyone even put this musical scenario together: a Swiss citizen of Serbian de- scent composing powerful black gospel tunes? vlada insists that God has placed something different in his heart and, upon hearing the results, you’re inclined to believe him. “it’s not that there’s a big marketing plan behind it,” says vlada. “it’s just something that fell into my lap. i was born and raised in Switzerland, but i was of Serbian descent. i’ve lived in england and i’ve lived in Germany, so i have a lot of roots, many different roots and i try to keep them strong.” vlada’s love of contemporary urban gospel came later in life, his early years marked by the great musical icons of old. “i was raised on elvis and The Beatles,” explains vlada. “in my teenage years, i listened to a lot of pop and then soul crept in. i started to listen to a lot of Motown and Jazz, just a lot of African-Ameri- can musical forms. i got into Prince, Michael Jackson, The Temptations, earth, Wind & Fire. Something in my heart got stirred there. “Something also changed when i joined a gospel choir at 21,” he continues. “That was the first choir in Switzerland to introduce contemporary black gospel music to the country. We sang a lot of stuff by Kirk Franklin and Fred Hammond and The Winans and Donnie McClurkin. A whole new world opened up and i realized it was something i really loved.” No one’s more aware of the oddity of vlada’s musical set-up than the songwriter himself. He laughs when discussing the descriptions of his music and background, realizing the journey he’s been on doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yet it’s in that juxtaposition that he sees the hand of God and the beauty of the unexpected. “it really doesn’t make any sense for a white european guy to play African-American music. it doesn’t. But music transcends color. it’s not white music or black music. it’s just great music. i also think it does attract people because it can be extravagant and eclectic. There are so many different influences combining to hopefully make a unique sound. That’s not a marketing plan. it’s just what naturally comes out of me.” — Matt Conner www.vladamusic.com getting to knoW Vlada full name: vladimir Tajsic age: 39 Born: Aarau, Switzerland first public performance: Age 17 at a big high school concert/ contest in a packed hall in my hometown Aarau, Switzerland. He won first place. favorite childhood album: The Beatles, 1962-1966 (The Red Album) Languages Spoken: Swiss-German, German, english, Serbian, French, Italian Vlada CCM 47