A lead singer of a popular polish band in the early 2000’s who went on to forge her own successful solo career, Monika Kuszyńska is a woman with a spinal cord injury you may not know…but not for long.
The funny thing, she’s been living loudly in her native Poland but echoes of her awesomeness have yet to trickle to the States, which is why we’re excited to bring her story to our readers. Very rarely do you see a paralyzed woman rock out like she does and at her elite level.
A soulful artist poised to perform in one of the world’s biggest singing contests – Eurovision 2015 – this is the unforgettable Monika Kuszyńska.
Why she’s fearless
Growing up in Poland, Monika knew that music was her destiny. She was aware of her talents at a young age and threw herself into singing at an early age. It wasn’t until the year 2001 however when she was 20 years old when she finally had a chance to enter the Polish music scene.
It was Polish pop rock band Varius Manx (named after the breed of cat), a hit band formed in 1989, that gave Monika her chance at stardom. Formed by composer named Robert Janson, Varius Max had a sound Polish director’s loved, using their songs in several films, and when Monika joined the band in 2001, she was the third lead female singer.
Monika performed with Varius Manx able-bodied until 2006, when the band’s founder Robert along with Monika were injured in a serious car accident that included the entire band. Unfortunately, Monika was the only one to sustain any permanent injuries, suffering a T6 injury in the accident and becoming a paraplegic. But the good news – she hasn’t let it stop her.
After her injury, she performed for four more years with the band until 2010 when she was replaced by a new singer. Strangely however in those four years post-injury while performing with Various Manx, she never performed live in her wheelchair. It wasn’t until she left Varius Manx and began her solo career when she began performing in her wheelchair.
In June of 2010, just a few months after leaving Varius Manx, Monika performed in her wheelchair on a TV show called Dzien Dobry TVN, which was undoubtedly a huge moment for her. A couple of years later, she agreed to be a vocal coach on the Polish version of Clash of the Choirs, with her team placing fifth. Soon, her fears of singing in public while in a wheelchair soon washed away.
She’s performed all over Poland since 2010, becoming more and more comfortable in her wheelchair. And this year one of the biggest boons to her career occurred – she was chosen to represent Poland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 with the song, a power ballad, called “In the Name of Love.” The song was co-written by her husband, Kuba Raczyński, who also drums with Monika whenever she performs.
This year the Eurovision Song Contest, a contest in which each European country sends their best singer and song to compete, has a great inclusion-inspired theme titled – Building Bridges – which is why the association of Polish broadcasters who choose who goes to Eurovision from Poland chose Monika, who will be the first ever person with paralysis to perform in Eurovision.
The contest will occur on May 23rd and a live streaming broadcast will be available. You should also check out her official music video for the song. She performs in a beautiful gold dress on the floor, no wheelchair in sight (watch), and wow does her pretty alto voice sound great (make sure to check out her other videos of her below; two show her in her wheelchair).
Good luck Monika and congratulations on helping bring two worlds – the able-bodied world and the disabled world – together! You truly are making your dream a reality.
Are you a Monika Kuszyńska fan?
– Visit her site: MonikaKuszynska
Watch the videos!