Anna Vissi was born in the town of Larnaca, Cyprus. She started studying music at the age of 6 at a local conservatory, while she was singing from 5 years old, every Sunday in a place for children, where she used to go with her family. She participated with her older sister, Lia, (and won the first prize) in a competition for new talents, saying she was 14 although she was 12. Two years later, she was the main singer at Y. Kotsonis opus Ayia Tilliria, which was also her first TV appearance. In 1973, her family moved to Athens, where she would have greater opportunities to further her career while managing to continue her studies at the National Conservatory and also appear with many well-known Greek singers, such as George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, and Vasilis Papakonstantinou, in the famous nightclubs of Plaka, in Athens. At the same time she was simultaneously studying law at the University of Athens. Her first important collaboration, alongside with Georgios Dalaras, is with the composer Stavros Koujioumtzis who composed her two first songs, S’ Agapo and Sta Chronia tis Ypomonis. In the meantime, she collaborated with many important Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis (1974/1975), Georgios Hadjinassios (1974), Doros Giorgiadis (1974), Nikos Karvelas (who later became her husband; 1975) and Mihalis Terzis (1976).
Anna Vissi and George Dalaras with composer Stavros Koujioumtzis.
In 1977 she went on tour with Georgios Dalaras and Haris Alexiou, giving remarkable concerts with the most famous at Rainbow, London (June). In the same year, she won the prize for best singer and best song (As Kanoume Apopse mia Arhi) of the year at the Annual Song Festival of Thessaloniki (Palai des Spor). In 1978 she was proposed by ERT (Greek National Television) to represent Greece at the 23rd Eurovision Song Contest. There were two songs to select from — Poso S’Agapo and O Kyrios Nobel. Finally, due to controversies between the composers of the songs, her participation was disqualified and Tania Tsanaklidou went to the contest.
1980-1982: Eurovision Song Contest
Anna Vissi in Eurovision 1980 & 1982.In 1980, Anna took part in the 25th Eurovision Song Contest representing Greece with the song Autostop, finishing 13th with 30 points,Two years later, she represented her native Cyprus at the 27th ESC with the song Mono i Agapi, which ended 5th with 85 points. Although the song Mono i Agapi was written by Anna Vissi herself, many people believe that Nikos Karvelas wrote it.
Anna Vissi with Nikos Karvelas.
1983-1990: Nikos Karvelas
In 1983 she married Nikos Karvelas, a composer, with whom she collaborated in 1975. After their marriage, she started a close collaboration with her husband. Since 1975, all her releases have become gold or platinum and Anna has been (along with Georgios Dalaras and Haris Alexiou) one of the top selling Greek artists. In 1986, she participated at the Cypriot National Final for Eurovision Song Contest, with the song Thelo na Gino Star, taking second place. This song is still unreleased today. Some of her most successful albums include I Epomeni Kinisi, Tora, Empnevsi, Fotia. In 1989 she made her debut as a radio producer on ANT1 Radio. Her radio program had the title of one of her songs Ta Koritsia Ine Atakta and was aired every weekend. In the same year she participated with the song Kleo at the Greek National Final for Eurovision Song Contest, ending second.
In the early 1990s, she staged spectacular shows in Greece (along with her husband Nikos Karvelas), starting with her appearances at Diogenis Pallace and then at Rex (presenting the famous Anna Vissi Show). In November 1991, a big dream of of Karvelas’s and Vissi’s came true: Demones, the first Greek rock opera. It was based on a libretto by Stavros Sideras and staged at Atticon Theatre in Athens for two years. Roger Williams was the director and Anna Vissi (Queen, Rozanne), Yannis Samsiaris (Daniel), and John Modinos (Inquisitor) were the leading actors. Critics were flattering while Demones was played on foreign TV stations and attracted the attention of Broadway agents.
A year later in October 1993, she had the leading role of Aphrodite, in the one act opera Ode to the Gods by Stavros Sideras. It was held only once in Limassol, Cyprus, during the celebrations for the Commonwealth Day. The then-president of the Republic of Cyprus, Glafkos Kleridis, and Queen Elizabeth II, were amongst the audience. The following years Karvelas and Vissi released albums that became gold and platinum. They included Lampo! with Latino influences, Emis, Live!, Re!, O! Kypros with traditional Cypriot songs.
1994-1998: Klima Tropiko and Travma
In 1994 she was the hostess on the ANT1 weekly TV show Me Agapi, Anna, while one year after she did a concert in Cyprus, supporting the defenses of the island. In 1996 Anna released the double platinum album Klima Tropiko. After giving more than 40 successful concerts all over Greece, she mounted a spectacular, three-hour show at the club, Gazi. On New Year’s Eve, by invitation of the Mayor of the city of Athens, she performed in the Parliament Square in front of more than 20,000 people and all of Greece, via TV.
In the same year a new album was released called Travma that became gold in less than two weeks and three times platinum in only six months.
After a while, a new CD single was released with the same song along with Crush, Mavra Yalia, and Eleni as well as a re-release of her multi platinum album Travma with a bonus CD, containing songs from previous albums, only in Australia.
In 1998, she released a new Greek album called Antidoto, that sold more than 80,000 copies in just a week. This broke all the previous records. She then gave a sold-out charity concert at the Presidential Palace in Cyprus, with the presidential orchestra of the Russian Confederacy (Telethon) and continued with two sold-out concerts in London, in February 1999 (Forum Music Theatre, Palladium Theatre). There was also a mini tour in the USA, giving concerts in Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Chicago, Boston and New York (Madison Square Garden). Journalists and everyone that saw her shows, were astonished. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “A performance so charismatic, so filled with sheer magnetic talent… expect big things from this potential new international star”, while the New York Times wrote: “With raised arms and delicately stepping feet, she was no unapproachable, packaged pop diva, but an irrepressible entertainer”.
2000-2001: Everything I Am and Kravgi
In April 2000, Anna Vissi performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall, at the so-called ‘millennium show’, singing in front of people from Sony International, marketing managers from Europe, and fans from the UK.
In May 2000, she performed as a special guest star in her native Cyprus, at the 49th annual Miss Universe Pageant which took place at the Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia. She sang for the very first time her song On a Night Like This(that became a worldwide hit by Australian songstress Kylie Minogue), in front of a huge live international audience around the world.
Some months later, her first international single was released called Everything I Am, containing the original version and three remixes of the song (Almighty Mix, Eiffel 65 RMX, Groove Brothers Remix), and a song with both Greek and English lyrics called Moro Mou, No Tomorrow.
She also filmed her first video clip of that single, directed by Antti Jokinen (Solar films, Finland), that costed 80,000,000 drachmas (310,000 dollars). Apart from the English single, she also released a new Greek single called Agapi Ypervoliki, containing six new songs.
Having sold more than 75,000 copies in 10 weeks, it became triple platinum and finally five times platinum, selling more than 100,000 copies. To promote the single, she presented a unique show for the Greek standards at Asteria Club with husband Nikos Karvelas and the boy band ONE, with Shaun Fernandez as the choreographer.
In September 2000, she gave a charity concert at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, in front of 12,000 people, with ONE and a group of dancers from Sony International. She sang songs from the very beginning of her career to her current carrier (1973-2001).
The same year he released her international English language album called Everything I Am which although started as ambition effort to launch an international career it failed to chart in the US. It contained 12 songs by Russ Ballard, Mark Taylor, Graham Stack, Steve Torch, Paul Stanley, Tina Shafer, Julian Harris, Danielle Gerber and of-course her husband, Nikos Karvelas. Producers of the album were Brian Rawling (Cher, Enrique Iglesias), Ric Wake (Céline Dion) and Peter Asher (Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Cher). In Greece, after a week, the album reached gold status (20,000 copies +), while Australia, South Africa, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey, Finland, Norway, and Asia started to promote it.
In November 2000 Vissi’s new Greek album was released, entitled Kravgi, reaching double platinum status in just a couple of hours, breaking all the previous records. It finally became [[7x]] Platinum — a double album with 24 new songs and a duet with Keti Garbi. Some months later, she started presenting a show with Keti and the boyband ONE in Fever Club, while she accepted the invitation of the Mayor of Athens to perform in the Parliament Square, at the celebrations of the New Year’s Eve 2001.
Just before Easter, a second single from her international album was released. It was called Still in Love with You with remixes (Radio Edit, Soda Club Radio Mix, Soda Club Mix, Soda Club TV Track) and production by Brian Rawling.
On the 6th June, 2001 she was the main singer in a spectacular production in Bucharest (Unirii square, nearby river Dambovitei) along with the No Smoking band and the famous cinema director and producer Emir Kusturica. The concert (2001, Peace Odyssey) included a multimedia show, opening with a water screen that wowed more than 150,000 people who were present, marrying music with the most modern expression of art. Kusturica along with producer and director Angelos Hadjiandreou undertook the artistic direction of the event.
Three months later (3rd September) she gave a concert in Cyprus (GSP Stadium), singing and dancing in front of more than 18,000 viewers, for more than three hours. Just a day before, she was awarded for the seven times platinum Kravgi. She described her next step as the ‘diamond’ of her career, a challenge she set to conquer, searching for new expressional dimensions. The music theatre Mala, i Mousiki tou Anemou, based on a true love story that took place during World War II in Auschwitz, between Mala Zimetbaum and Edward Galiñski. Not only did she pass her acting ambitions with flying colours, but she left in awe everyone, critics and public, who observed her inexhaustible talent on stage. The play, which was staged at Pallace Theatre in Athens (19th January 2002), was written by her husband Nikos Karvelas, directed by Yannis Kakleas and accompanied by a symphony orchestra conducted by Yorgos Niarhos.
The next year she was in Fever Club in Athens, performing with one of the most important Greek singer, Yannis Parios (‘the singer of love’) with whom she had already collaborated in the late 70s. There, she promoted her new album Χ with producer George De Angelis.
In September 2003, Vissi gave another sold-out concert in Cyprus, at the Tzirion Stadium in Limassol, with songs from her 30 years career. Also, she was awarded with a prize for her whole contribution from the Cyprus Paralympic Organization, while a square in Larnaca was named after her.
She also met and talked with the president of the Republic of Cyprus, in the Presidential Palace, in Nicosia. Just before 2004, her new album was released called Paraxenes Ikones. To promote the album, she started appearing in Diogenis Studio, with Konstandinos Christoforou, Nino and Hi-5. In the same year she released the album X.
In the same year, a new English song named Is It Safe? played in a Club in Greece. It was leaked out on the internet by someone that recorded it with a mobile phone. The sample is of poor sound quality and finding the original track is next to impossible to find.
Anna Vissi performing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.On the 31st March 2004, Anna Vissi performed in the Liberty Square in Nicosia, at a concert part of the celebrations for Cyprus’s entry at the European Union, after an official invitation from the Republic of Cyprus.
In May 2004 she went on a small tour in England and USA, with Lambis Livieratos (with whom she collaborated back in the early 90s), while in July her album Paraxenes Ikones was re-released with a bonus CD single called The Remixes.
On 29th August 2004 she performed at the closing ceremony of the XXVIII Olympiad, in Athens. She then gave a concert in Cyprus on 3rd September, at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, where she sang for the first time her new English song called Call Me (the English version of her Greek dance hit Eisai).
After that concert she moved to the USA, for the preparation and promotion of her single Call Me that has been included in the playlists of major radio stations, both in USA and Europe. In the Billboard Charts of USA, the single which features twelve remixes, went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music Club Play chart. Anna then performed at the Legendary Copacabana in New York for the KTU PartyGras. During the winter and through to the summer of 2005, Anna went around to clubs as apart of her Mini-USA Tour. Some of the clubs include: Central, Mirage, DNA, The Sound Garden, and Studio 9.
Anna has since released a new Greek album called Nylon which is the first dual disc ever to be released in Greece. The CD, which includes rock, dance, ballads and hip hop, was released in both a regular CD version and a dual disc version. On the CD Anna has a duet with the lead singer of the hip-hop group Goin’ Through called Erota i Polemo. She also performed at Club Votanikos in Athens, Greece with Goin’ Through in winter 2005. This album reached number 1, in the Greek Top 50, the first day of its release and reached platinum status just in a few days.
2006: Eurovision Song Contest
Greek national broadcaster ERT chose Anna Vissi to represent Greece in Eurovision 2006. There were 4 songs to pick from, which Anna Vissi sang during a song selection show on 14th March 2006. The Greek viewers used televote and SMS messages along with a panel of judges to choose the song they want Anna Vissi to sing in Eurovision 2006. Two of the competing songs, were composed by Nikos Karvelas, namely Everything and Who Cares about Love, with Vissi herself writing the lyrics to the former. The third song, A Beautiful Night was written by composing group Pegasos, better known as country group The Replete Bros, nominated in 2004 by the Country Music Association for the best international artist award. The last song, Welcome To The Party, was written by Greek composer Dimitris Kontopoulos. Everything was selected as the representative song of Greece. It won 47.79% of the votes. The day after the final, Vissi filmed the video clip. Her old record company Minos EMI has released a CD single of her two prior Eurovision entries Autostop and Mono I Agapi since she is participating in the contest again.
After the video to the song was completed, Anna Vissi embarked on a promotional tour across Europe starting on the 12th April 2006 with Russia. She also visited Malta, Cyprus , Albania, Serbia & Montenegro, Romania, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belgium, and ended her tour on the 10th May 2006 in Israel. Furthermore she was interviewed by various european TV channels amongst them the British ITV1.
On 19th April 2006 she released a single for her Eurovision entry Everything. It featured the original version of Everything and a remix of it by DJ Valentino and Christodoulos Siganos. Anna has also just released Nylon [Euro-Edition], which includes all of the songs from her album Nylon, as well as the representative song “Everything” in originial, remixed and karaoke version. In “Euro Edition” you can also find the three other Greek Eurovision Preselection songs: “Beautiful Night”, “Who Cares About Love” and “Welcome to the Party”, which has entered the playlist of the famous American Radio “Sirius Beat”. In Europe, Anna travelled around some of the countries participating in Eurovision to present her song.
During the contest, Anna performed in the 16th place and appeared alone on stage, wearing a Jean-Paul Gaultier outfit. Although she had been one of the favourites during the pre-contest period, she only managed to get 9th place with 128 points using televoting (hers was the only pre-qualified entry to finish in the Top 10. The other 9 songs were all qualified from the semi-final). Finland won the contest with the rock band Lordi and their song ‘Hard rock hallelujah’. In interviews prior to the contest, she had stated that if there was anyone she would like to lose to, it would be the Finnish entry. Lordi had also expressed their liking of the Greek song in interviews too.
Following the contest, Everything will be released in Finland on May 24, 2006 by Sony BMG [Finland]]. It will feature a different cover, than the original single. Anna will also be giving a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 27, 2006. She also has a schedualed concert on September 9, 2006 at G.S.P. Stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. It is expected that she will also give a big concert in Athens as well as many countries she visited during her Eurovision promotional tour, since she had stated she would like to, and that there is news of a World Tour in the Works.
Edited by etternus on 31 May 2006, 08:55
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