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Who’s Emin, the Russian Singer at Center of Donald Trump Jr. Controversy?

Variety logo Variety 7/12/2017 Variety Staff
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(Video by Inside Edition)

Erstwhile “pop star” Emin Agalarov finally has what he always had wanted: his moment in the international spotlight.

But surely, he never imagined this would be the way his name jumped to the top trending pages of every website worldwide. The popular Russian performer is currently in the middle of an American political scandal involving his friend Donald Trump, thanks to Agalarov’s U.S.-based publicist, Rob Goldstone, who successfully passed on a message from Agalarov to Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., that he had documents from the Russian government that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” per an email chain first obtained by the New York Times.

Agalarov has so far not commented on the still unfolding situation. And Variety also hears that he was in the market for a new press representative even before the scandal broke out.

So who is Emin, the pop star who finds himself suddenly in the middle of a political scandal due to his friendship with the president and his sons? For starters, the singer is the son of a billionaire, Aras Agalarov.

His father was born in Azerbaijan, as was Emin himself. But both Emin and his father are well-known in Russia, where they both live, and are fixtures on the business and social scenes in Moscow and beyond.

Despite some American media accounts suggesting he is a huge star in Russia, Emin is actually not near the biggest or most popular in the former Soviet Union. Even Russians know that Emin largely is where he is in his career due to his enviable promo budget, ability to pay for “name” collaborations, and big budget music videos over the years. He has bought (and partly earned) his success the past decade in Russia and the CIS countries that make up the former USSR.

However, mainstream success and name recognition in Europe and America has thus far eluded the singer, and he has tried to make some sort of impact both in the EU and North America over the past decade, with mixed results (he once lived in America and has worked with top names such as Nile Rodgers and David Foster, but has never had a real hit in America).

Still, Emin certainly has his fans, among them the president of the United States, who called him a “winner,” and a “champ” in a video message to wish the pop singer a happy 35th birthday (Trump also appeared in a 2013 music video for Emin’s single “Another Life.”).

The singer has a brand new single out this month, and the controversy is helping to drive streams/views of his new clip “Испания. Лето.”

In a new column for the Russian edition of Hello Magazine, the singer writes, “If you have the ability and desire to do something extraordinary, then you need to seize the moment . do not think about what’s right or not … and enjoy the moment.”

Related Gallery: Key players in the US-Russia scandal (Via Photo Services) Key players in the US-Russia scandal

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