b. Sweden. The great-great-granddaughter of the Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, singer Viktoria developed a small but dedicated following in Sweden in the early 90s.
Her mid-90s recording debut, Smile, Love And Spice, for which she was praised by Swedish jazz musicians such as Arne Domnérus, Svante Thuresson and Putte Wickman, began attracting attention further afield. She gained even more attention and greater commercial success with 1996’s För Älskad, a pop album that hinted strongly at star potential. Signed to Blue Note Records, she released White Russian in 1997, most of the songs on which were written by Tolstoy in collaboration with pianist Esbjörn Svensson. Following on the release of this CD, Tolstoy toured Germany, accompanied by Svensson’s trio. The weight of the Blue Note contract helped her gain entry to the inner circles of jazz and she performed with Ray Brown, singing with him in 2000 in Geneva, Switzerland, McCoy Tyner, and others. Nevertheless, she concentrated for a while on strengthening her base in Sweden. Subsequent albums, especially those following a shift to ACT Records, demonstrate her development as a strong singer and how much she has learned from her association with able jazz musicians. In 1999 she appeared in London at the Swedish Jazz Extravaganza. The release of Shining On You early in 2004 was concurrent with a Rising Stars tour of Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland. In addition to Scandinavian and northern European countries, Tolstoy has also appeared in Italy and Malaysia.