A Very Special Tribute...


KVITKA (KACEY) CISYK
(April 4, 1953 – March 29, 1998)

"... Have you driven a Ford, lately?"
 


Kvitka Cisyk (Kveet-ka Chee-sik) was an American, classically trained coloratura soprano of Ukrainian ethnicity. Using the first name Kacey, a name born of her initials "KC",  she successfully pursued a career in four different musical genres: popular music, classical opera, Ukrainian folk music and commercial jingles for radio and TV advertisements.

A personal note: Kacey Cisyk in my view was a multi-talented vocalist whose life's career created hundreds of television and radio spots. Her volumes of work in popular, Ukrainian, commercial tv/radio and movie music are internationally known. She was the voice of the 1978 movie "You Light Up My Life" singing the film's 5 tunes. The main theme song, "You Light Up My Life" received an Academy Award but there was no mention of Kacey in the music credits.  She later receive some monetary compensation, however many still think that Debbie Boone performed the hit song in the movie. In fact, the single record which was later released for sale utilized the film's actual orchestral tracks with Debbie Boone's voice replacing Kacey's.  Despite this missed opportunity, Kacey rose to become the most desired and admired commercial artist of the 1970s and 80s. Her Ukrainian albums remain the most outstanding in history.  In recognition of these works, a street has been named after her and an annual festival is held in her honor.  Steadfast devotees, both in Ukraine and the U.S. celebrated her 65th birthday in 2019.  Vocal artists, both aspiring and professional routinely cover her Ukrainian folk songs on social media.  She was the real deal, a powerhouse and she continues to captivate her fans fully twenty-two years after her passing!




A plaque was recently unveiled in Lviv on the house where Kvitka Cisyk's family lived, (Kvitka Cisyk Street)

The plaque honoring Kvitka states that the house was the 1944 residence of the Cisyk family and documents the birth of Kvitka Cisyk, a well-known American Singer of Ukrainian decent in 1953.

To quote from the more extensive biography below...

"... In addition to Ford Motor Company, (her commercial heard by over 1 billion persons,) Cisyk sang for automakers General Motors and Toyota. She recorded spots for the three national television networks in the 1980s (ABC, NBC and CBS), four major airlines (American, Delta, Eastern and TWA), two national retailers Sears and JC Penney and the two most popular soft drinks: Coca-Cola and Pepsi.  She is know for "You deserve a break today... at McDonalds" and Burger King commercials."

"According to her New York Times obituary, "a typical day, she later recalled, would begin with a 9 am session for Trans World Airlines, followed by Coca-Cola at 11, Hartz Mountain at 1 pm, Eastern Airlines at 2, Datsun at 3, L'Eggs at 5, McDonald's at 6, and, after all that, a recording session from 8:30 pm to 3 am". Cisyk's list of commercial credits also include Mr. Pibb, Safeway grocery stores and Starburst candies."

I believe that Kvitka Cisyk is a role model, for working, women everywhere.  I hope that this tribute will bring to the attention of the reader, the accomplishments of this reliable and multi-talented artist who despite the inequities that she was  to face, went on to make an indelible mark in the industry that she superbly and eloquently graced.     -Maestro-

An extensive biography


Kacey Cisyk ... A Special Audio -Video Tribute

 



Interview with (Kacey) Cisyk
You might brush up on your Ukrainian!
(click picture above)
 

The Voice of "You Light Up My Life" and The Ford Motor Company.



Kacey Cisyk on the Movie Set
of "You Light Up My Life"

 


On the Movie Set of her
famous Ford commercial in 1988.


    
    
     Songs from the movie: YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE
      Words and music by Joe Brooks and sung by Kacey Cisyk

   
Read a March 23, 1978 article from The Prescott Courier
 
     You Light Up My Life
    You Light Up My Life - Video  Didi Conn Lipsync
     You Light Up My Life - Video  Debbie Boone Version  (See the article below)
     The Morning of My Life
     Rolling the Chords
     It's a Long Way from Brooklyn
     Do You Have a Piano?
    You Light Up My Life Song Book, Complete
     Visit Maestro's Guitar and Violin sections for transcriptions of selected Kacey Cisyk numbers.
    Links to related News Articles and Information...

Was Kacey Cisyk the inspiration for the lead character in You Light Up My Life? Kacey's husband feels that there are similarities between Laurie Robinson and Kacey Cisyk and that since Joe Brooks had worked with Kacey and knew her to be the "real deal" that her participation in the project most probably "morphed" the story-line.

You Light Up My Life is the story of a director who took certain liberties with a voice over artist and then cast her off for another. Kacey reported that similar advances were in fact the reason for her being written out of the credits and the subsequent use of Debbie Boone for the song's commercial release. Later events in Mr. Brook's life might lead one to ask... Did art imitate life or perhaps... vice-versa?

Read about...  
The Curious Case of Joseph and Nicholas Brooks

     Kacey Cisyk - Biography -Wikipedia
    Official Website - A Family Tribute.



The
 World Famous Ford Commercial

     You're Winning the World Over; Have you driven a Ford lately?  (Video)
     You're Winning the World Over; Have you driven a Ford lately?  (Audio)

     Other Movie and Popular Songs:
     Circle of Two
     Come to Me
     The One and Only
    When You've Got What It Takes
     Woman in Love



Rock and Roll from the 60s

    End of Life
     Searching Time

         
      I received a wonderful email from Jerry Lozynski. He was a personal friend of Kacey...
      He recorded her first demo tape in New York City...



Translation: Soloway's plast ensemble performs during the 20th anniversary of the New York City City. Flower sits on the far right, 1969
 




 


My friend Kvitka was a Ukrainian Treasure.
by Jerry Lozynsky

We met a scout camp by Buffalo, New York. I had my guitar and she had that beautiful, incredible voice. Becoming good friends, I convinced her to go and record a demo of a few songs in a New York City studio. One of the songs that I remember her singing was 'Reason To Believe' by Tim Hardin. When she started singing, the look on the recording engineer's face was priceless.  She sang a couple more songs whose names I don't remember.  I went back to school in California while she stayed in New York City.  A talent like her's did not stay unnoticed for long and soon after her career started to take off.  She left us much too soon at an early age, but we will all remember her voice and love of Ukrainian Heritage.


...more about Jerry Lozynski pictured on the right
 



Classical Violin - 1960
 


Two very special albums:
Kvitka: Songs of Ukraine  and  Kvitka: Two Colors


 


   Listen to this wonderful song:  The Nightengale
 

   
     If you wish to hear more of Kacey Cisyk's work please purchase legal copies from:
     Kvitka: Songs of Ukraine
  
     Kvitka: Two Colors

 
Amazon   |   iTunes

Amazon   |   iTunes
 

    



     Kvitka
     Songs of Ukraine
 

Album Notes: Kvitka is the most popular Ukrainian folk song singer of all time. Recently honored by Ukrainian Parliament, a day has been named for her honoring her contributions to music. She has had buildings and parks and boulevards in Ukraine named for her. Buy this recording and find out just how lovingly this American born singer captures and expresses the deep and true Spirit of Ukraine. Her gorgeous singing will bring a tear to your eye and strength to your heart. This is her first Ukrainian recording which bridges the boundaries of language.

    Album Contents:
     Ivanku
     Dearest Mother Of Mine
     Youth Does Not Return
     The Young Eagles
     Lullaby (For Lesha)
     River Song
     Grandmother Dearest
     Mother Mother
     The Mosquito And The Fly
     Starry Night
     Handzya
     Who Will Take Me Home?
     The Mists
     In The Carpathian Mountains
     Bandura
     Verkhovyno

 

    

     Kvitka
    Two Colors

Album Notes: Kvitka (Kacey) Cisyk lived a life in New York City steeped in both a rich classical music tradition and a culture of deep Ukrainian heritage. In "Two Colors" are sensed a duality: the strength, purpose and expressiveness of the here-and-now and the exquisite pain and sadness of history. No other artist exemplifies this duality more than Kvitka; the sweet, sensitive coloratura soprano and the brave and free Ukrainian girl. Years of being the most in-demand studio singer in New York, persuaded Kvitka, through her artistry and culture, to present this collection of songs as a lasting inspiration to the Ukrainian People. She is known as the "Most Popular Ukrainian Singer of All Time." This production personifies all things cultured, all things studied, all things human and all things love.


 
 Album Contents:
     Where are You Now?
     Spring's Song
     A Dance
     The Cherry Orchard's Brook
     A Campfire At Dusk
     I Will Go to the Distant Hills
     Musicians Are Playing
     Two Colors
     Autumn Love
     I Sing to the Hills
     The Nightingale
     A Young Girl's Dream
     The Well
     A Song to the Moon
     The Cranes Are Flying