The interview was a part of the Greek Music Week celebration on Radio Sfera 102,2.
Natalia Germanou and Nikos (Νίκος Οικονομόπουλος) started their conversation discussing Nikos’ new song «Είναι Κάτι Λαϊκά» - words by Eleni Giannatsoulia and music by George Sabanis - which was chosen as the favorite song by the singers who were taking part in the Greek Music Week on radio Sfera 102,2. They put it on the top of their choice. Nikos expressed his gratitude to them. Nikos also thanked his listeners for loving this song and bringing it to the first place. Even though he liked «Είναι Κάτι Λαϊκά» from the first time, Nikos had some misgivings about it, because this song's music goes beyond the style of laika we've got used to hear from him until today, and the singer did not know how the audience would accept it.
For any artist, a change in the repertoire is quite necessary after a number of years. Respecting the opinion of his colleagues in this regard, Nikos dared for a change. From the first moment of radio airing, this song has got the full acceptance and love of the audience. As a result, it has skyrocketed to the first place of radio charts and in a couple of weeks time has reached more than 6.500.000 views on YouTube.
Nikos says that so far he had not truly enjoyed the success of his songs because of the stress he had every time after one successful recorded work thinking about the new, upcoming songs… He is a terrible perfectionist and always judges his job very strictly.
N.G: "Κοίτα Να Μαθαίνεις", it was the song with which you introduced yourselves substantially, we learned about you with that song and with that song we loved you. It was nearly ten years ago! You were just a young kid then
Nikos: I was 22, I’m not hiding my age…. It seems silly to hide your age
NG: I wrote about you on Facebook, I said very simply and very bluntly… that my Niko is the one, who does not do the magazine covers, does not set up paparazzi, does not give interviews, does not come out on television, do not go here and there, who is going out nowhere.
Nikos: I don’t do this not because of cunning, do not get me wrong…
NG: If you don’t like doing that [promotion] - good on you! Others feel fine with that and do it very nicely, and they get support from it, but you do not have fun [with this sort of promotion] , so you are not doing it .... For all these years not doing these things - see what you’ve achieved! See how many beautiful songs you have sung, see how many people are coming to see you at “Fever” and “Thea”!
Nikos: I have no complaints, I never expected this…
NG: In other words, you are a living proof that the world of the song, your world, does not need a lot of glitter and a lot of shine, and a lot of "show biz" to get success.
Nikos: Let it be there - and glitter, and all what you say, just - not too much. Showing off and pretending - this is not nice. Why should we show more than what we are? Who might benefit from this? If you show something more than what you are the other will understand that you are a liar and you're not what you seem to be. He'll understand when meets you or when he sees your job anyway, if you're a singer. Imagine if I decide that I am handsome enough and will go out on the covers, go on television - what’s the meaning of that? There are many examples. I am already got bored with seeing those things on television. It has become sickening for me to see the same people telling you the same empty things, [which are far from the people’s interest] very snobbish. Stop it you guys! The times have changed, as you see, things are changing daily, we stand on where we live, in our little world. The fact is - I'm a singer, you are a journalist, presenter, our friend is a journalist ... “There is trouble in the Gypsy village!” [it means: “Who cares?’] as we say in Patra, no biggie. Just do your work nicely and beautifully. Developments in the world go so fast. We now talk about songs and beautiful things, Christmas and holidays and food, and there are people next to us, here, near the border, which are dying from the cold, not having shoes to wear, having war in their homeland …These things, they do not show them on TV…
And we all are permanently having the mouth into a microphone, or a keyboard to write review on the other, we all are judging everyone, everyone knows everything...You all, guys, do you know everything?
And when someone comes out and speaks having a time like I do now... I can not restrain my nerves sometimes, I resent and, since I do not speak much, I am concerned and say - why do people try to judge? Why do they do it? Why they are not looking at themselves? Why do you judge others since you, yourself, didn't change your wrong doings? ... Why?
NG: You're right of course! Simply we live in the era when we all think we know everything. All we want to say is our opinion. What was it lately making you angry about the media?
Nikos: I will not talk about myself because I never caused a problem, but when I had a need to talk about something that has to do with me I did not hid, not pretended, nor expected if they would say good or bad. Generally when a man is not in the system - the system exists both in a good and in a bad way - …but I do not use neither good nor bad one, because I do not serve it. Now, what is it - the system? We do not know, but from the result finally we understand who are those serving the system, and we will know all who serve it. The point is that [it looks like] “do you know you can be outside? Once you know, then do it there, I will admit you.” And when someone is talking, they start to say what is he. What is? Nothing! I never said that I am something. I am what I do - I sing. Can I do it well? This is for people to judge during the time I will exist, if I will. So far, thank God, things are going well. People will judge me for my song, for the substance, that is the essence. I sing , I don’t do something else.
Well, now let's convey some good messages, because there are many young people listening to us and they are coming under the influence, and especially - when a young man is talking to young people. I'm young and I do try in the way I can. I do it in the working place when people come backstage to see me in the morning to take one more picture, even though they do their first ones on the stage anyway. I try to tell them to be authentic and not to follow the crowd. For example, let’s mention the trick with selfies, all of us are taking selfies, or the trick with the bunny on your face, everybody is using a selfie with a bunny mask in the face. I do not mock it, but I want to say that we all do the same things and do not stand out from the crowd. I wish people to gain a personality, to those who have not got it. It’s a great thing to have a personality!
NG: What if you will go to a talent show as a judge, or it is no way you are going to?
Nikos: Normally in our life, we should never say never. But at this moment I feel like I will not go. I would not go because I know already about it, I have the experience to learn what it was. You were not in my place, I was a singer, I was the competitor.. I do not think as a singer I could speak there, because there can be a case when a kid doesn't sing well and you have to judge.
But when you judge something you have to do it strictly and, at the same time, not to offending the other, still to tell the truth. And now, today, when someone tells the truth, it's like being a rebel. The truth therefore nowadays is like revolution and the falsehood is our daily routine. Just stay out of the lie, tell the truth, and you will be assured, you sleep well at night.
NG: What role do you play in the selection of your songs?
Nikos: I hear the opinion of others, but after all these years, the most important role in this case is mine and I do not ever betray my instincts in the selection of my songs.
After that, Nikos Oikonomopoulos says the new CD is not ready yet, because he does not want it to be “a snack”, but she wants it to be a job that will leave the imprint, as it was happened with his previous works. The new album is expected to be released in January 2017.
This winter Nikos collaborates in FEVER with Stelios Rokkos, Apostolia Zoi and Rania Kostaki. This programme keeps the nightclub full since the day they started, and it has really revolutionized the nightlife of Athens. Nikos is on the stage until 5.30 am and after that he is receiving his fans, who are waiting him backstage to take a photo and to congratulate him with his performances.
The interview was nicely ended by Nikos with words addressed to Natalia Germanou:
"Always love sincerely, love is food!"
Text: Eirini EusebiTranslation and editing: Musician