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Artist of the Week 

Polina Kourakina

Meet the Artist: Polina Kourakina (vocals, guitar) normally plays solo in small clubs and is backed by a bassist, violinist and drummer in bigger venues.

From Russia with Love: Kourakina moved from her Russian homeland to Virginia in 1998. That was followed by stops in San Diego and Dallas. A "tough breakup" and a desire to keep pursuing music while starting "fresh" led her to Cleveland two years ago. "When I came here, I immediately started playing open mics and getting to know people and fine-tuning my sound."

Kickstarting her Career: Last spring, Kourakina started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to fund the recording of her second release. "Raising money this way is great," she says. "You can really plan it out, but the key is to stay on top of what you are setting yourself out to get. It really gets people involved. It's a success if you keep at it and let people know that this will be a marker in your career. It also shows the people who really want to help see you succeed versus the people who are along for the ride." She began putting down tracks in July with plans for a fall release. Two songs can be downloaded at facebook.com/polinakmusic.

Why You Should Hear Her: Inspirations such as Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, and Erykah Badu can be heard on the acoustic "Fields of Life," while her love of Michael Jackson gives her work a melodic flair that instantly catches listeners' attention in "Catching the Port."

Where You Can Hear Her: polinakouri.com — John Patrick Gatta

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