“The Voice Ukraine” runner-up Julia Tymochko will be performing at a Ukraine benefit concert at Salem High School on Oct. 8.
Tymochko, a native of Rivne, Ukraine, took second place on “The Voice of Ukraine” and moved to the U.S. after the war broke out between Ukraine and Russia earlier this year. She is also a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Tymochko said she discovered her love for music at an early age. She was just 3-years-old when she first started singing. Tymochko’s sister, Ally Teuscher, said she recalls her singing as early as kindergarten.
“I remember that I sang all the time,” Tymochko said.
Tymochko said she plans on continuing to sing for the rest of her life.
In 2000, Tymochko said she had her first big performance. “It wasn’t so professional, because I was only 16 or 17,” she said. “Then I became very popular in my town, because a lot of people began to talk about me, that in the city there was a girl who sang.”
Beginning in 2004, Tymochko sang in restaurants for parties, weddings, lounge music and more. Her official job was directing an ensemble, teaching students how to sing, which she did from 2004-2016. She said she also participated in many festivals in and out of Ukraine and received many awards.
During much of this time, Tymochko was not active in the Church. She was 16-years-old and Teuscher was 13-years-old when they joined the Church, but later on, Tymochko wanted to focus more on music.
“All the years I wasn’t active, I just was looking for myself,” Tymochko said. “I’m really happy that I could come back to church and then I got my testimony, my real testimony.”
Tymochko said she returned to church while Teuscher was serving as a missionary in Siberia, Russia. Tymochko later served a mini-mission herself, in the Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine Mission, for three months in 2019.
Tymochko was 35-years-old when she served a mini-mission and before going said, “I felt I’m not whole about this. I wanted something more.”
BYU student Abby Hart recalled serving with Tymochko in Ukraine. Hart said Tymochko had a contagious smile and overall positivity and that she would sing at every missionary zone conference, making everyone listening emotional.
“She has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard,” Hart said. “She sang with so much power and emotion. Julia is an unforgettable person and voice.”
It was after her mini-mission when Tymochko got her big break, following many years of attempting to compete in televised singing competitions. She first tried out for “The Voice of Ukraine” in 2013, then in 2016 for “The Voice of Poland.” She was almost accepted, but eventually received a message that she would not be able to participate.
In 2018, Tymochko attempted to join “X-Factor” in Ukraine, but once again, was not cast. It was after this rejection that she said she decided she would never be apart of any competition shows and decided they did not mean anything to her.
“But, in 2020, my friend, he wrote me that he was inspired by the song I was recording in the studio,” Tymochko said.
According to Tymochko, her friend wanted to do something to help Tymochko and sent a letter to the manager of “The Voice of Ukraine.”
Tymochko said she later received a call from the manager inviting Tymochko to participate in the show. Tymochko said she had hesitations, considering her past failed attempts, but in her heart, she said, she knew she wanted to do it and took the chance.
During her time on the show, Tina Karol, a famous Ukrainian singer, was Tymochko’s trainer and she said she felt it was a blessing from God that the two were able to work together. She said she was able to learn from her and be the last trainee of Karol’s during her last season on the show. Tymochko felt that Karol saw her potential and was special.
On the show, Tymochko took second place.
“I’m really happy about that, because to be the first, it’s a really huge responsibility,” Tymochko said.
The studio required a 5-year contract with the winner, so Tymochko said she feels happy about being the runner-up, because she has more freedom to progress in the future.
Following the show, Tymochko and her mother eventually fled to Poland after the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out. Teuscher had been in America since she was 23, following her mission, to attend college. She later married and stayed in the states.
“We were just sitting on the bed for hours,” Teuscher said of the first night of the war. “[We] went to bed very late, because we just kept watching the news and live feeds from the streets of Kyiv.”
After a few weeks, the sisters’ mother and Tymochko decided to evacuate to Poland, but their mother decided to return, determined to not give up on her country. Tymochko decided to go to America to be with her sister. She finally got a visa this year, after trying to obtain one since 2011, and said she thanks God for it.
“It’s always so much easier to survive when you’re with family,” Teuscher said.
Tymochko currently resides with Teuscher, Teuscher’s husband and their three children in Utah. Teuscher will return, though, to Ukraine in a few weeks to take supplies to help Ukrainians. While Tymochko’s life in Ukraine has been halted, her singing has not.
At the benefit concert, Tymochko will sing five songs and all proceeds from the tickets will be put toward helping Ukraine.
“I’m really happy to be part of it and help my people and my country just a little,” Tymochko said.
Tymochko said that to be on a stage in another country is a beautiful thing, because it is special and is different from a Ukrainian stage. She would love to be on stages across the world.
“I’m nervous and super excited and I can’t wait to sing and see the stage, because I’ve always dreamed about an American stage,” Tymochko said.
As Tymochko reflected on her life, she said she recognized God’s hand in her life. While she was looking for change, He gave her a “huge dose,” she said, as she experienced a mini-mission, competing on “The Voice of Ukraine,” COVID-19 and the current war. She feels that the Lord knows the best timing and experiences for each individual.
Tymochko said she said she looks forward to what her singing career might offer in the future and is excited to continue pursuing this passion.
“Hopefully, from here, she can continue her career and support Ukraine [in] whatever way she can, using her talent,” Teuscher said.