Justyna Steczkowska was born on 2nd August 1972 in Rzeszów (Poland). As it later turned out she was the fourth out of nine children in the family. This is probably why Justyna is now so open towards people, so altruistic and so humble. Growing up in such a big family have taught her all that. Besides, from the very beginning she was exposed to music. Her father, a conductor, put much emphasis on the musical education of his children. Justyna was supposed to be a violin player, but at the age of 4 she realized she wanted to sing.
Her first solo performance took place in 1976 in Wrocław, when she sang “O sole mio!” in a show entitled “The meetings of musical families”. The whole family was traveling across Western Europe, giving shows and concerts. Still, Justyna’s education was focused on violin. She graduated from Music High School in Rzeszów, where she was studying violin playing. She finished the school with an exceptional note, performing at the graduation show Henryk Wieniawski’s Concert d-minor. She studied violin playing at the Music Academy in Gdańsk, but withdrew it, still willing to sing.
Justyna created her first band, Shoko & Duet, with which she sang in jazz clubs. Afterwards, she performed with Agressiva 69, Wańka Wstańka, Revolutio Cordis, 1984 and Jesus Chrysler Suicider. In the meantime she was attending vocal lessons given by Olga Szwajger.
It was just then when Justyna realized she had to act in order to be noticed. She took part in a TV contest ‘The Chance for Success’, where she sang ‘Buenos Aires’. The jury and audience were stunned by her over 4-octave vocal range and the ability to do whatever she wants with her voice. She won the contest, which was followed by invitations to various other contests and festivals. Justyna got the Anna Jantar Award for the debut of the year (singing a song ‘My Intimacy’ /”Moja Intymność”/ written by Mateusz Pospieszalski and Wojciech Waglewski) at the Opole Festival in 1994. One of the greatest Polish singers of all times, Irena Santor, said at that time: “Don’t we lose this Pearl!” This was soon followed by award winning at the Karlshamn Festival and Sopot Festival.
Justyna got the opportunity to record and release her first single, entitled ‘Shaman’s Girl’ /”Dziewczyna Szamana”/ (1995) which was a number one on many hit lists for many weeks. It was also named “the hit of the year” and went platinum. In 1996 came the time for releasing the whole album, under the same title as the single. While recording her solo album Justyna collaborated with a great composer and writer Grzegorz Ciechowski (leader of the band Republika). Justyna got two Wiktor Awards in 1996: for the best female singer and best performer, as well as four Fryderyk Awards (best female singer, the album of the year, the song of the year ‘Eye For An Eye’ /“Oko za oko”/, debut record of the year) and an award for the best video of the year (‘Eye For An Eye’). A year after that, the Singer released her second album, entitled ‘Naked’ /”Naga”/ (done with G. Ciechowski, too). Similarly to the previous one, this album as well went gold, and soon after – platinum. Justyna became a prizewinner in a “Discovery of the East” contest carried out by Radio France Internationale.
In 1998 there came a time for a movie debut. Justyna played a supporting role in ‘Billboard’, directed by Łukasz Zadrzyński. She took part in several theatrical, as well as TV productions. A year after that Justyna decided to play the leading female role in a movie entitled ‘Till the end of the world’ /”Na koniec świata”/, directed by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz. She was also the composer (together with Antoni Łazarkiewicz) of the soundtrack to the movie. ‘Till the end of the world’ had its premiere during the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.
In November 1999 Justyna together with Tomasz Stańko went on a tour “Farewell to the Autumn.”
In 2000 came a time for a new album which was entitled ‘Day and Night’ /”Dzień i Noc”/. It consists of two parts, lively, partly electro rhythms of the ‘Day’ part and magical, illusory music of the ‘Night’. Besides, this was the year that Justyna’s first son, Leon, was born.
Another album, ‘Talk to me more’ /”Mów do mnie jeszcze”/ (2001), was another music project of Justyna Steczkowska. On the album she sang songs based on lyrics and poems by William Shakespeare’s, J. Kofta, K. Przerwa-Tetmajer, and many others. She was accompanied by a Polish actor, Paweł Deląg, who recited parts of the lyrics. This same year brought another challenge – a double role in a trans-opera in Musical Theatre in Gdynia. Justyna played the roles of Hippolyte and Titania in ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, based on William Shakespeare’s play. The comedy was directed by Wojciech Kościelniak, and the musical score was composed by Leszek Możdżer.
2002 was the year when a new and completely different album was released. The record entitled ‘Alkimja’ consists of songs with traditional, Jewish melodies in new arrangements. A show was created especially for the songs on the album. The performance had its premiere at the 23rd Festival of Singing Actors in Wrocław. ‘Alkimja’ gained another Fryderyk Award for Justyna. After this project, she decided to make break that lasted for
2 years, when Justyna was gathering material for a new album, ‘Femme Fatale’, released in 2004. ‘Femme Fatale’ is a compilation of various songs sang originally by, e.g. Marylin Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Ewa Demarczyk, Anna German and others in arrangements made by Justyna. This time again, a show was prepared especially for the album. It got the “Rose” award at the Festival in Montreux.
In April 2006 at the Cultural Center in Kielce Justyna played (sang) a role of Maria Magdalena in a musical play entitled “The Passion”. She was accompanied on stage by Andrzej Piaseczny who played Judas.
In July Justyna presented herself at the Woodstock Festival. Her performance was a secret till the very end, she (and her band) were announced under a familiar name “Gravitations”. The show had a huge impact on the audience and had widespread great opinions among musicians and artists in Poland.
After all the successes in her career, Justyna gave birth to her second son and then focused again on preparations for the next record, entitled ‘Give me a moment’ /”Daj mi chwilę”/ (2007). The artist got another Wiktor Award for ‘the best performer of 2007’.
In 2007 Justyna took part in the 6th season of Polish version of “Dancing With The Stars”, she got to the very final episode.
In 2008 Justyna released an album with her own composition of lullabies – ‘Fluffy Lullabies’ /”Puchowe kołysanki”/ (2008). A part of the income that the CD brought was given to the TVN Foundation “You’re Not Alone”. The limited edition of “Give me a moment” was also released. It included a DVD material and it was promoted with a single “Through the wind, rain and storm” recorded as a duet with a famous Polish actor, Borys Szyc.
After almost 12 years Justyna got the Wiktor Award once again, in a category “The Star of Songs and Stages.”
In 2008 she was a guest star on many projects, such as: a duet with Bogusław Mec, Balkan Koncept, Our Independence, “Somnolence” /”Senność”/ OST.
The 10th album of Justyna was released and hit the stores on 20th March 2009. The album is entitled “It’s My Time” / “To Mój Czas”/. It was produced by a world-famous Hungarian producer and composer – Viktor Rakonczai (the winner of many prestigious awards, such as: VIVA Comet, European Golden Artist Award, Artisjus Composer Of The Year. The material for the album was created in Budapest and in Poland as well. Two days after the release date Justyna started a club tour through Poland, which turned out to be a great success.
A week after the release of “It’s My Time” a DVD premiere of “Alkimja – in concert” hit the stores.
3 months later, Justyna did something that no one has ever done before in Poland – she gave a concert that was transmitted live online. The event took place on the 20th of June 2009 in Toruń.
During the same year Justyna got a “Diamond Microphone” – an award given by the Board of Managers of the Polish Radio.
Since 2009 Justyna has her own TV programme entitled “Through the Lens of Justyna Steczkowska” (broadcast on Polsat Café), where she proves that each and every woman is beautiful.
It’s also worth mentioning that she takes part in many charity actions and events, including “The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity”, “Against The Flood”, “Solidarity with Belarus”, “We Stand Together” or “Stop the Barefeet” (when Justyna made a duet with Paweł Małaszyński to a song “Hungry Love”
Justyna is what might be called a triple-threat: a singer, musician and actress. But she’s also a lot more – a dancer, photographer, violinist, composer etc. Apart from these talents she’s got what it takes to remain one of the best Polish artists of our times.
Let’s see what Justyna is able to give her fans in the future…