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Anna Vissi

Anna Vissi (Greek: ννα Βσση; born December 20, 1957) is a Cypriot-Greek singer, famous mainly in Greece, and her home country Cyprus, with success in the United States as well.

Biography

Childhood & Origins

Vissi was born in 1957, in the village of Pyla, in Larnaca, Cyprus. She has been singing from a very early age, beginning formal musical studies at the age of six at a local conservatory. At the age of twelve she entered a talent competition and won first prize. 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, Greece where she was able to pursue her studies at the National Conservatory. She would eventually appear with a number of well-known Greek singers, such as George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, and Vasilis Papakonstantinou, in the famous nightclubs of Plaka, in Athens. During this time she also studied law at the University of Athens. Her first important collaboration, alongside Georgios Dalaras, was with composer Stavros Koujioumtzis who composed two songs for Vissi, S' Agapo and Sta Chronia tis Ypomonis. She also 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).

Late 1970s

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.

1980s

1980-1982: Eurovision Song Contest

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.

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 third.

1990s

1990-1992: Demones

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 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.

1992-1994

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 Gyalia, 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.

1998-2000: Antidoto

In 1998, she released a new Greek album called Antidoto, which 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) 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".

In New York City, Anna performed a mini concert for her fans at the Virgin Mega Store in Times Square. This performance was part of a series of events hosted by the Virgin Megastore, promoting some of the world's biggest stars, with Anna being the only Greek star to receive this honor. The event was promoted throughout the tristate area by KTU (radio station) and was part of "Anna Vissi day" at the biggest Virgin Megastore in the US.

Fans of the Greek diva lined outside the store for hours as they waited for a chance to meet with her and then watch her perform an exclusive show at the legendary store, joining the ranks of other international stars like Kylie Minogue and Mariah Carey who performed during similar events.

The highlight of her 1999 world tour was her performance at the Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York City in front of a packed house, for a sold-out extravaganza. Her performance received great reviews in the local press, most notably from the New York Times, making Anna the first and only Greek female star to perform in one of New York City's most prestigious venues. Once again, she has joined some of the world's biggest stars who have performed sold out shows at the Theatre, stars like Whitney Houston, Sarah Brightman and Celine Dion.

Journalists and everyone who 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, usually one of the toughest reviewers, wrote: "With raised arms and delicately stepping feet, she was no unapproachable, packaged pop diva, but an irrepressible entertainer".

2000s

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 ] 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.

2001-2004

On the 6 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 (3 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 (19 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.

2004-2005

On the 31 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 29 August 2004 she performed at the closing ceremony of the XXVIII Olympiad, in Athens. She then gave a concert in Cyprus on 3 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 was release by Nicky kalliongis on his label Moda Records. It features twelve remixes, and went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music Club Play chart and number 2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay 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.

2005: Nylon

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 14 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 Everything. 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 12 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 10 May 2006 in Israel.

On 19 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 then also re-released Nylon as Nylon , which includes all of the songs from her album Nylon, as well as the representative song "Everything" in original, remixed and karaoke version. "Euro Edition" also contains the three other Greek Eurovision Preselection songs: "Beautiful Night", "Who Cares About Love" and "Welcome to the Party", which has entered the playlist of American satellite radio station "Sirius Beat".

During the contest, Anna performed in the 16th spot of the night and appeared alone on stage, wearing a Jean-Paul Gaultier outfit. Although she had been one of the favorites during the pre-contest period, she only managed to get 9th place with 128 points (hers was one of the two pre-qualified entries to finish in the Top 10 (the other was Romania). The other 8 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 was released in Finland on May 24, 2006 by Sony BMG Finland. It has already been released in Sweden and it peaked at 24. It featured a different cover, than the original single. Anna gave a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on May 27, 2006. She also had a concert on September 8, 2006 at G.S.P. Stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus, which kick-started her Mini-Greek Tour. The tour was called The Best of Anna Vissi 2006 and was covered by Alpha.

In the fall of 2006, she embarked on a Greek mini-tour performing around Greece in sold-out concerts as well as Cyprus with Goin' Through.

2007: World Tour & New CD

In February of 2007, Anna accompanied long time friend Patricia Field to the Oscars in L.A. Following that, she was featured on a magazine cover with pictures of her at the Oscars. She also gave the magazine an interview were she stated that her new Greek CD will be out this year.

After her London concerts in 2006 and Greek tour, Anna Vissi toured Australia were she did 3 sold out concerts in Melbourne and Sydney with Kostantinos Christoforou in January 2007. In April 2007, Anna Vissi toured North America. She visited Chicago, New York, Altantic City, Connecticut (Foxwoods),Los Angeles, Montreal, and Toronto with Takis Zaharatos.

Following her North American Tour, Anna did concerts in South Africa and Egypt. In October 2007, Anna will be touring Europe. First stops announced include Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris.

Anna is working on her new Greek CD with Nikos Karvelas. It is due to be released in the Fall. It has been reported that it will have a "a rock-tinged influence" and Vissi herself will pen several tracks, giving it a more "personal touch".

Trivia

  • Anna Vissi has sold 9.5 million albums worldwide. Since 1995 together she has gone 28x platinum. In 2005, she also enjoyed success in the US, claiming the number one position on the Billboard Dance Charts with "Call Me".
  • She is often referred to as 'The Greek Madonna' in many countries, but to her Greek-speaking fans, she is known as 'Thea' ('Diva'/'Goddess').
  • According to Room 210 (Greek Magazine published in 2004) Anna Vissi is considered "A true diva of the Greek musical stage, a role model for all other performers of similar genres and one who determines all the latest music and fashion trends".
  • By music critics and the media, she is often referred to as "The Queen of Greek Pop".
  • Anna is one of the best selling female Greek artist of all time with a career spanning over thirty years.
  • She is one of the owners of the famous bar restaurant Ciro's Pommodoro Pizza, recently opened in Athens, Greece. She also is one of the owners of "Ammos Estiatorio" in New York City.
  • In 1997 Anna won 7 "Popcorn Greek Music Awards" for her album "Travma".
  • She entered the Swedish top-30 with the single Everything in summer 2006, reaching number 24.
  • Vissi has a daughter named Sofia Karvelas with her ex-husband/composer Nikos Karvelas. She currently in the US.
  • Anna's sister Lia Vissi, is also a singer.