Ellina Graypel

Singer, musician and composer who lives in Sea Gate

Interviewer:
Interviewee:
Ellina Graypel
Interview Date:
October 11, 2021

Languages

Ellina Graypel is a singer, musician, and composer who lives in the Sea Gate section of Coney Island. She was drawn to this "small town in a big city" by the ocean and the saturated light. Ellina grew up in Belarus, where she began writing songs as a child and became famous when a song she wrote for a prize-winning movie was played throughout Eastern Europe. Her family immigrated to St Louis, Missouri, in the '90s, where she performed country and rockabilly music. "At that time, by the age of eighteen, nineteen, twenty, I was performing only in English," Ellina recalls. A tour with Borders Books and Music first brought her to New York City in 2001.

Today, Ellina Graypel composes and performs in both English and Russian, and translates American songs into Russian, and Russian and Belarusian songs into English for an American audience. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Webster Hall, Hammerstein Ballroom and many other venues in New York City, as well as the Brighton Jubilee and Anyway Cafe in Southern Brooklyn. This year she was honored with the Women of Distinction Award by the New York State Assembly and Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus.