Ukrainian hip-hop artist alyona alyona tells us about her country’s thriving music scene and receiving support from the 'ESNS' exchange.

alyona alyona’s music career came from humble beginnings. A preschool teacher who started rapping over ten years ago, she was an overnight sensation in Ukraine thanks to her debut music video. Since, the dynamic artist has honed in on her lyrical craft and become one of Eastern Europe’s most prolific and consistent wordsmiths. 


Trading hip-hop’s inherent flashiness for a raw authenticity, alyona alyona’s uplifting music has grown in potency as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has become more violent. Whilst many have fled the country, alyona alyona – real name Alyona Savranenko – has stayed and brought joy to millions with her music. 


Choosing to rap in her native language, and encouraging young artists to do the same, alyona alyona makes music from a place of sincerity. In her songs, she empowers women by talking about body image beyond the usual beauty clichés. She’s a grounded pop artist whose organic rise to prominence speaks to those who share her vision for truthfulness. 


The Ukrainian rapper is as much of a force on stage as she is on tracks. From 2019-2022 alone, she’s toured Europe, playing established festivals like Roskilde, MELT and Mad Cool. These live performance accolades have been helped by the ESNS exchange, who facilitate the development of artist’s careers beyond their European home country, helping them to play festivals abroad.


As the continent continues to crave alyona alyona’s equally poetic and political rhymes, we sat down with the artist to talk about Ukraine’s bustling music community, the country’s current conflict with Russia and her love of performing live. 

In another interview earlier this year, you said that you had only just found the strength to start writing music again. Now that you’ve had a few months to reflect, do you think the music you’re making sounds different to before the war?

My music has just got another direction – these are songs about what is happening right now. They are aimed at raising spirits, filling hearts with pride for the country, and with hope for victory.

Your flows are incredibly rhythmic and unique. How did you develop them? Are there any artists you pull inspiration from?

My only inspiration from my youth is Eminem. I just learned his texts without understanding, and it developed my diction. All the music I ever heard leaves its mark on me and shows itself at some point.

Early on in your career, when you were finding it hard to build a fanbase, what spurred you on?

In Ukraine, you mostly get recognition after you are recognized by Europe or the World. And my story is no exception, but now is a different time. The war has changed us.

As a role model in Ukraine, what messages do you want to portray in your music that the next generation can take value from?

I want people to possess a desire to be heard. I know that those who push you away need you the most. You just need to look at a way to approach them properly.

How does it feel to be one of the artists receiving support from the ESNS Exchange?

I am proud and grateful that the European community feels for me and gives me the opportunity to inspire, entertain, make people feel, and rock them with my music.

As a role model in Ukraine, what messages do you want to portray in your music that the next generation can take value from?

I tell young Ukrainian performers that they should spread their wings and make good music, then it will definitely be heard, no matter what language you sing in.

What more can be done by the music community to help artists in Ukraine prosper in such a difficult time?

The community can listen to the artists’ music and watch our performances. So you can discover new interesting music and the ticket you bought is a donation to help Ukraine, because all artists constantly help their country to win.

You’ve played at so many high-profile festivals over the years. What does performing live give you that recording music simply cannot?

Music is different. It’s all created in the studio, but only a live performance is an indicator of whether a track is suitable for the stage. People are great at showing their opinions, and I’m very grateful for that. I love live performance the most because we become one with people. One organism.

Tell us about your latest single, “posmakuj”, how did it come about?

We gathered at the studio and decided to create a lyrical song in Ukrainian and Polish. We came up with the idea to talk about two people – they can be children and parents, teachers and students, coaches and athletes, and even God and religious people; they believe in each other and will support each other no matter what. They are comfortable and calm together. They dream of a bright and peaceful future.

Fellow Ukrainian songwriter Jerry Heil is also on the track, who you’ve collaborated with a lot. How did your musical relationship begin?

She is a poet, and I’m a poet. We are different, but we both love to write. This is our common strength. Each of us sees the same topic differently, both poetically and deeply. We are on the same wavelength and like to create together.

Looking towards the future, what more can be done to help resolve the conflict in Ukraine? Is there anything you are personally doing to help?

I call on people to donate, go to rallies, and support us, whilst giving up on everything Russian. I thank people for their help and for not being indifferent. I also invite everyone to visit us after the victory.

Stream alyona alyona below: