She’s a classically trained actress and singer, who blends punk and rock music to fuse her raw and authentic sound. Kalliopi started out acting, studying drama in Athens and London, starring in several theater productions; then she ventured out as a singer from piano restaurants to clubs, and then live venues singing jazz, Latin music, Greek and French music, pop and disco.
Having sung cover songs in pubs and bars, it was during this time she began writing her own songs, and began performing around London at venues such as Betsew Trotwood, Rock Garden, Pop Bar, Infinity Club, George and Dragon and the Hope & Anchor. She also began to learn to play guitar during this time.
Her single “Naked,” is a pop-rock song that features Kalliopi’s emotive and strong vocals, featuring a group of musicians, including Spyros Kontakis (guitars), Alkis Missirlis (drums) and Barry Zealy (bass and backing vocals). Kalliopi has collaborated with a variety of musicians and producers, along with being a founding member of her former band, Minima.
Although you’re classically trained, you play guitar, and have performed in multiple genres. What’s your most favorite genre to play in, and what drew you to all of these eclectic styles?
Kalliopi: The different genres are mostly from the different stages in my life, depending on who I was working with.
I did like all sorts of songs and couldn’t really decide on the direction I should take. I think writing my own songs made me more aware of the sound I wanted to create and eventually brought me to rock music. I tried different styles, sometimes because I had no other choice, if I wanted get work in a music program that had to have a variety of music and earn money…also because it seemed easy and fun for me to able to adapt to various music.
For your single “Naked,” you enlisted a variety of musicians – did that happen naturally, or was it a long time in the making?
Kalliopi: The guitarist, who also arranged the whole recording and was in charge of the production Spiros Kontakis, was already a friend of mine at the time, that I knew from quite a long way back. He introduced me to the bass player Barry Zealy and with the drummer Alkis Misirlis, we were together in the band we had ‘Minima’.
What was your thought process while writing “Naked”?
Kalliopi: It all seems like a mixed up process, but I think I came up with some chords, then a sort of melody, that needed a lot of polishing! The hardest thing is to write the lyrics…sometimes as I mumble the melody I will think of a story, a scenario and picture it in my head, then say any word that comes to mind and try to figure out the puzzle.
You’ve worked and collaborated with a variety of musicians and producers; how have those connections influenced you as an artist?
Kalliopi: I learned to feel more relaxed when working with other people and got precious experience with recording in the studio. I practiced my singing, experimented on songwriting and improvising.
Can you share with us your vision behind the video for “Naked,” and what it was like working with director, Stathis Mourdoukoutas?
Kalliopi: Given that we had a certain budget, we had to make the most of what we had. So focused more on a cinematic feel with close ups expressing the state of mind and emotions and tried to experiment with that. We let the music play and I would sing, make movements with my hands, dance, shake my hair and he took lots of different shots to layer one over the other. He was very calm, he knew what he was doing and I felt very secure and comfortable following his directions.
You’re currently working on songs for your new album; when are you hoping to release your album?
Kalliopi: I don’t think I am going to do that very soon, I will be releasing a few singles first and then an album with those singles included.
Who was your first concert? Have a favorite one so far?
Kalliopi: My first one was at a small live venue, where they played mostly Greek music, so I was singing traditional Greek songs but also some English and French – Edith Piaf songs! My favourite is an acoustic gig I did at Betsew Trotwood in London, where the audience would sing along to a song, that was fantastic!
What was your first album on CD and/or vinyl?
Kalliopi: It was a self-titled album with the band I was with ‘Minima’, pop-rock music with a lot of funk, soul influences and with greek lyrics.
Which five albums and/or artists would you not want to live without?
Kalliopi: The Doors, David Bowie, Depeche Mode (The Singles 86 > 98 ), The Very Best of Cat Stevens, White Stripes – Elephant, “Gladiator” soundtrack.
What are you currently listening tp and/or reading?
Kalliopi: Reading a book by Jessica Fellowes – “The Mitford Murders”… listening to some jazz music, Koop Island Blues, Florence and the Machine, Annie Lennox…
Do you have a guilty music and/or entertainment pleasure?
Kalliopi: When I start watching a TV series, I get obsessed and watch it non-stop.