Valery Meladze, a winner of numerous awards, including the Best Artist of the Year and the Best Performer at the Russian MTV, a judge of international singing competitions, a television presenter and the constant center of media attention, shares his thoughts about traveling, doing business, buying real estate in a foreign country and tells about his love for Andalusia.
Valery Meladze (сantante, productor) and Sergey Sinichkin (General Director Drumelia Real Estate)
Valery, you perform concerts all over the world. Does your busy touring schedule allow you to find time to discover new places?
I have been to many countries and seen a lot. Lately for travelling I have been choosing only my favorite destinations. Honestly, I do not really want to discover new places. For instance, I have never been to Southeast Asia and I am not tempted. I’ve realized that I like Europe and countries of similar culture. Therefore, usually I go for trips to Europe and the United States of America.
Do you go sightseeing or is it an “unaffordable luxury”?
As a rule, when I travel with my children they always try to take me somewhere, to see some interesting places. Actually, I do not like inactive holidays. I prefer activities, it’s impossible for me to sit around and do nothing. Maybe I am able to do it for one day but definitely not more than a day. Then I need a car, I have to move, to go somewhere, to see something.
Valery, do you remember your first concert abroad? Where was it?
Well, if I’m not mistaken it was America. Yes, it was an American tour of 1996. We landed in New York and the first concert was held in that city. An excellent choice for a start – New York!
Valery, why did you choose Spain, Marbella and not some other popular places like Miami, Beverly Hills or let’s say Côte d’Azur?
Speaking about America, it’s still a different continent. It doesn’t matter how much I like the place but it is a very long flight. On the other hand, if you’re on a plane, you can fly anywhere, far or not so far. By the way, South of Spain is far enough. But that’s not the point. The main thing is my feeling towards Spain. I feel very close, spiritually, to Spain. This country has captured my heart! It’s a very typical European country and at the same time it has its own character, flamboyant and warm. You cannot find that in each and every country. You know, when I spend time in America quite soon I feel some sort of pressure of this country. Not my cup of tea. It is great to come to America, spend few days there, have fun, hot it up, enjoy it….and enjoy the idea of going home. Spain is different. It is comfortable. I have been to many parts of Spain, different provinces. It is wonderful everywhere. But Spanish South – Andalusia, Marbella and its surroundings became the most special and desirable for me. I have to admit it was love at first sight. I liked everything from the very beginning and really took a fancy to the place discovering those areas in all directions, far and wide.
I consider Barcelona a very interesting city and there are plenty of magnificent places nearby. In my opinion those who love Spain are mostly fans either of Barcelona or Marbella. Everyone has millions of reasons to prove that his or her choice is right and the same amount of reasons to criticize the opposite choice. Those who love Barcelona often say, “Our coast sea is better and warmer than yours!” So what? In the center of coastal Spain the water is even warmer, let’s say on the Costa Blanca. I personally like Marbella – its character, and colours, and interesting culture. The weather suits me perfectly, and I am madly in love with its architecture. I have got a lot of new friends here – this is also very important. And those friends who come to visit me fall in love with this place as I did! All of them. No exception. I know the area quite well and happy to show it to my guests. I drive them to different places in beautiful Andalusia, share my passion with them and they dream of coming back again and again…
When did you discover this Mediterranean town?
My sister was the first one who came here, not as a holiday-maker but for her business meeting. She thought it would be great to come here one day just to relax. So she came for her holidays. An idea to buy a small apartment was born. Then I came to Marbella … and not only I. Our sister is a very sociable person, she brought a huge number of people to this place. Some of them decided to stay here. Many children were sent to get education in Marbella’s schools and colleges.
So I can say that I am here thanks to my sister. Straight away I rented a car, started to discover Andalusia…. and felt deeply in love with it. It was in 2008-2009.
You’ve come to a foreign country, a whole new world. Not knowing a language, national legislation, local rules… According to your experience, can all this influence the decision to invest or to build a property?
Not knowing a language… Maybe. But there are professionals ready to help with this problem. Speaking of running a business in a foreign country, I am sure it is necessary to be familiar with the national legal system, tax rules, etc. To be successful in business you need to be aware of your costs and expenses, tax payment, hidden risks and unexpected things that can influence your business.
I should point out that this is not so complicated. The amount of legal and financial information that a person who has moved to a new location needs to know is not so big. It took me a couple of hours to write down a list of questions that I was going to ask the local lawyers. The professionals gave me completely satisfactory answers to all my questions written on a piece of paper. After the first meeting I began to understand many things. Well…understand within the limits of course but fairly enough to do business and to be quite good at the state legislation and local taxes.
In addition, in any case, one way or another at different stages of business you should get partners and professional staff who are very profound in their area of expertise. For example, architects plan, design, create a project and oversee the construction. But not only this if they are real professionals. They also have to know different standards and regulations for construction, specifications, legal acts and documents, land-to-building ratio, etc. Here it should be mentioned that the legal system works well in Spain. God forbid, if a person working for you under the contract turned to be non-professional, you can easily sort it out and to hold him responsible. In Spain, everything is much more predictable than in Russia where there are many unexpected moments and many people who can let you down. However, the profit percentage in Russia is much higher than in Spain.
You speak about the importance of making the right choice of lawyers, partners. Was it easy for you to do in Spain? After all, it’s a foreign country.
I think starting any business in a new country is impossible without good partners. You need people who understand how everything works here and how to put things together. These people are of great importance! I mean professional people who are certified in their area of expertise and have got all the necessary licenses, knowledge and experience. They live here, speak languages, in our case Russian and Spanish, are able to recommend good specialists, know the laws and understand the rules. These people are really necessary! It’s a must! We should always rely on experience, and since I haven’t had any of my own, I’ve turned to the experience of those who have it. I have met very competent people, the professionals of the company called “Drumelia”. We have started with some simple things like a real estate purchase, then gradually moved on to a more serious things.
Has Spanish style influenced your home design? Are there any elements of Andalusian design in your interior now?
In Moscow probably not, though I really like the Andalusian style. As for the house that I am going to build in Spain, definitely yes! My most important requirement was to keep the Andalusian architectural traditions. Some people suppose that for such business as construction it is better to choose a contemporary style. It surprises me. I personally love Andalusian style, traditional style homes with recognizable elements of Spanish classic design.
Valery, you love Marbella. Will it host your concert? Will you sing here one day?
I would love to! A lot of people came to our concerts in 3 different parts of Spain. Frankly, I was a bit surprised that we didn’t go to Marbella then. It was even upsetting and disappointing because I really like this place. I could have brought a lot of friends with me, everybody could have enjoyed it! Summer brings to the Costa del Sol many of my countrymen. I think we could gather them together and also invite Spanish guests. We have something to show! Could be a very good concert and lots of fun!
A promising project! Sounds like a plan.
Yes! Sooner or later we will definitely do this!
Thank you. Marbella will be waiting.