Karolina Myroslavivna Kuiek (Ukrainian: Кароліна Мирославівна Куєк, Russian: Каролина Мирославовна Куек, also transliterated as Kuyek or Kuek; born 27 September 1978), popularly known as Ani Lorak (Ukrainian: Ані Лорак), is a Ukrainian singer, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, and former UN Goodwill Ambassador. Having received Ukraine’s most prestigious and honorary title, the People’s Artist of Ukraine, Lorak has been cited as one of the most powerful and influential women in her country,as well as ranked one of the most beautiful women from Eastern Europe. Ani Lorak reported the highest income of all singers in Ukraine in 2014
Lorak became known outside of the former Soviet Union after she represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song “Shady Lady”, coming in second place behind Dima Bilan from Russia.
Ani Lorak had a notably tough childhood. Born in Kitsman Western Ukraine, speaking Ukrainian as her native language, Karolina was raised by a single mother. At the age of 6, she and her brothers were placed in a foster home. One of her brothers later died when fighting in Afghanistan. Karolina Kuiek developed the desire to become a singer as early as the age of four. She often performed at various school vocal competitions. In 1992, she took part in the popular contest ‘Pervotsvit’ and was the winner. It was here where she met her ex-producer Yuriy Falyosa. As a result, at the age of 14 she signed her first professional contract. Kuiek became known as Ani Lorak in March 1995 when she took part in a contest at the television program “Morning Star” in Moscow, Russia. There was a Russian singer with the same name already enrolled in that competition so Kuiek had to invent a stage name. Ani Lorak is the name Karolina read backwards. Ani Lorak moved to Kiev in 1995. By that time her name was well known in Ukrainian show business. She became even more popular after winning the “Big Apple Music 1996 Competition” in New York City. She was named “Discovery of the Year” at the popular Ukrainian festival “Tavria Games” in 1996. The same year she released her first album “I Want to Fly”.
Lorak continued recording new songs in 1997. Her two videos “The Model” and “My God” were filmed and the latter became a soundtrack to the movie “The Right to Choose”. In the spring of 1998 her new video “I will be back” was shot and in December Lorak’s second album “I will be back” was released. Mastering of this album took place in New York. Simultaneously her two music videos “Oh my love” and “A Stranger’s City” were filmed to accompany her new album. At the outset of 1999 she started extensive touring, performing in the US, France, Germany, Hungary, and her concerts took place in every major city of Ukraine. In 1999 she earned the title of the Honoured Artist of Ukraine.
In the spring of 2000 Ani Lorak recorded the soundtrack for an advert for the Chocolate “Korona” at the London studio “Astoria”. Here, the singer met British composers Burrie Guard and Josh Phillips. Also, in London Lorak recorded new songs. In 2004-2005 Ani Lorak was a UN Good Will Ambassador in Ukraine for HIV/AIDS.
In October 2009, Lorak was ranked 41st in a top 100 of “most influential women in Ukraine” compiled by experts for the Ukrainian magazine Focus.