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Interview: Evangelia talks musical inspiration, new single “Fotiá”

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If you haven’t heard Evangelia’s music yet, get ready to dance. The Greek American singer-songwriter made quite the splash with her debut single “Páme Páme” back in May. The song, which translates to “Let’s go Let’s go” got people all over the world dancing. Her follow-up single “Fotiá” was released in October. This second single came with an elegantly choregraphed and velvety draped music video.

We had the opportunity to ask Evangelia about her musical inspirations and the little details in her new music video.

You grew up splitting time between Greece and New Jersey. What kind of an influence did that have on your songwriting?

Both of my “homes” had a significant impact on my songwriting. I grew up being exposed to two very different musical pallets as a result of my upbringing, and now I try to blend what I love about both in order to create something new that feels authentic to me. It is the most fun I’ve ever had making music.  

You blend a mix of Greek folk and English pop music in your songs. Who are your biggest influences in both?  

I’m influenced and inspired by a wide range of people and styles in both worlds. From the pop side, it’s artists like Ray Charles, Julia Michaels and Shakira. From the Greek side, it’s people like Manos Hakidakis, Despina Vandi, Giannis Poulopoulos…The list goes on and on! 

You worked as a teacher before turning full time to music. What was the turning point where you decided to go for music full-time?  

Going into a career in music was out of the question in my household. I went to school and got my Master’s in Elementary and Special Education, something I was truly and continue to be passionate about. I loved being a teacher, and I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else.  Music was a hobby that I pursued after school in New York City like a double life. Slowly but surely, my passion for music got more and more serious and I started wondering, “what if I could give it a real shot at being my full time career?” A couple of years into my teaching career there were budget cuts in my district and I was laid off. I took this as a sign from the universe to give music a chance. I took a leap of faith and decided not to look for another job, and instead see what could happen if I put all of my energy into my music. I have no regrets and feel like I am on the right path for me at this moment in time. I’ll always care about education and find ways to use my platform to help push Special Education. 

Your new song “Fotiá” you wrote with Alexis Troy, who is also Greek. What was it like working with someone who shared that connection with you?  

Writing “Fotiá” with Alexis Troy was a dream. As soon as we met and we said each other’s names the proper Greek way, we felt like family. It was so special to connect on that kind of level with someone who truly understands the culture and the language that my music is influenced by. I’m sure it won’t be the last time we work together on something. 

You had a huge crew and multiple sets for your new music video “Fotiá.” What was it like working in such a big production?  

It was absolutely surreal and, at times, overwhelming. I couldn’t believe that all those people were there to bring my song and vision to life. That music video was definitely a huge milestone for me.  

In the behind-the-scenes video for the “Fotiá” music video, you talk about using Tsifteteli, a Greek belly dancing, in the choreography. How important are little Greek details like that to you?

Little Greek details like that are very important to me. Just like how my music blends my experience as a bi-cultural artist, it is very important to me that the visuals represent it as well. The “Fotiá” video also includes “Zeimbekiko” dance moments, which is another traditional Greek dance. I shot my first music video for “Pame Pame” in Greece, in my hometown on my Grandmother’s home and threw a party with real people from my village. I wanted to show people where my roots come from, and why my music sounds the way it does. I look forward to finding more ways to include little Greek details in future songs and visuals.  

With COVID-19 have you been able to travel to Greece recently? If not, where’s the first place you will go when you get back?

Pre-pandemic I was expecting to spend a lot of time there this year, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to go back since summer 2019 when I filmed the “Pame Pame” music video. The first place I will go is my village, Paleochora, which is located on a little peninsula on the island of Crete. I will connect with all my friends and family that appeared in the music video, and I will also go to the beach!!

 

Check out this live version of “Fotiá”

Stream “Fotiá” here.

Follow Evangelia on her socials:

Instagram   Twitter   Facebook   TikTok

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