Sofia Bekari, the “Tralala.gr” reporter, met Nikos Oikonomopoulos in the nightclub Fever, where he performs this season together with Vasilis Karras and Eleni Fourera
(Here we propose you a slightly shortened translation of their interview)
Niko, how was your festivity season?
This year Christmas celebrations fell on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so we were working. On Thursday we had one day gap, and after we were back to the venue again. During the two weeks of holidays we were almost every night in the club. . Important is that the club did well because a lot of people came to see us . We were delighted with this and hopefully, our people felt the same. Usually after the holidays things are getting a little slower and a sort of depressed, because the public is in a very difficult economic situation. But, thank goodness, we did not have any problems , everything went well .
Do you feel happy celebrating festivity season once again at work or you miss a bit your family ?
In fact, I'm working in this area for 13 years . I started very young and all these years was performing during the festivity season , never had it at home. Half of my life I spend at work , but I do not mind. It would be harder for me if I had a family and kids... Of course , it's important that we have a job these times...
Is it easy to be good with yourself and what can 'spoil ' an artist?
It upsets me when young people who come into this job, such as singers , actors and those who have to do with the art world and limelight, believe and think they are “something special” after they have made a song or played in one movie.
There is a sort of a "fast-food culture" - they are changing each other quickly and this hurts our job. We, the singers, are to give something out.
People see us, and when you do bad things this affects the audience. So, you have to do good things , be serious , have courage and audacity - first and foremost for yourself, being smart and noble. Something is missing here in our times. The guts are missing!
Is there any space left in the music industry for the newcomers?
Sure! There was always a plenty of room there and now it is the same as it ever was...But it demands a lot of effort to be able to fulfil your dreams.
Can the artist's career last in our days, when, as you said, there is a mindset of "fast-food" acts there?
I will tell you about it after 30 years of their career, I don't want to be a liar saying about it now, especially if to remember that I am in the industry only for 7 years. Not everything depends on us, because in this particular area there is no a meritocracy, they do not think very seriously about work they do for some people, whether companies or singers. Shortly, the company should guide you and exactly this is missing!
Do you feel personally satisfied with the way you are supported by the company and your team?
Of course I feel satisfied, but everything depends on ourselves. In some things I am incompatible, so I was, I am and I will be!
Was it good for your work?
Sometimes it was not. But I was never influenced. So far the audience appreciate my work.
The audience is the final judge?
Yes, who else, if not?
How about the label and the radio?
Everything plays their part.
Can a remarkable song be buried due the various interests?
Of course, why not. It happens!
Do you think there should be a diplomacy in an artist?
There must be, to survive. But I certainly do not have it, I am not a diplomat!
Have you done any wrong steps till today?
If I have, I will see that in the future, not at the moment.
Is there something in your career you have regrets for ?
No, I regret nothing, and, in my opinion, I do not think I've done something wrong.
This year you're working with Vasilis Karras. What things do you admire about him the most?
First of all I like his songs. Knowing him from the times when I was a child, I heard his songs and this is exactly what I see in the singer. I'm not interested in the personality. .... This year we worked together for the first time and have become good pals . Our work and our personal relationship is 100 % friendly and professional. I have no problem with him and none of us has anything to envy from the other . This is because he has built a huge career and because I try and wish God let me build a career equal to that of Vasilis Karras
Is there a real friendship in the music industry between two artists ?
I think that it does not exist. We must forget about competition to become friends . At least, I do not have friends but acquaintances and, of course, I appreciate them .
Why do you think this is happening ?
Because of competition , whether we want to accept it or not, but there is no friendship there.
May be it has not happened to me to become very close to a person to develop a friendship, but if you want me to pick someone that I love and talk to on the phone very often and we are friends this is Nino . I love him very much and he is a very good guy.
Do you still keep your childhood friendship?
I always like a bird that flies from neighborhood to neighborhood and sings in various places.
I left Patras when I was very young , at 16, as a result my relationships with people changed ...
Are you a lonely person ?
Yes, I am ! I used to be more sociable , but this changed in me when at 17 I got my life in my hands and, perhaps, alienated.
Does it bother you now or you have learned to live like this ?
I've learned to live with it and it takes the sieving to make someone a friend.
All this is because I believe in the very real friendship and not in words .
What should someone have for you to consider him a real friend?
Isn't it something to be built within a time?
Yes , definitely it takes time, but, honestly, I have the ability to understand another person within a short time.
How do you do this ?
I have it, I can not explain it . Someone would say that is clairvoyant , certainly, I am not. But I have an instinct, talking to people.
Does the economic difficulties of the country make you feel anxious?
I always hope that things will be sorted out, besides we should think that there is a crisis , but not forever . If you believe that things will go worse then better to die . We have only one life, because I do not believe in the afterlife ...
Is the nightlife affected?
I have discussed it with singers who have 40 years of career and they told me how things were then, of course, there were difficulties, but there was work. They were working 7 days a week and some days were two performances a night, I know it from Giannis Parios. People were moving from one venue to another and begging for a day off. Now we work for two nights a week and feel worries that one day can be a problem. But there's nobody to blame, no singer, neither an entrepreneur. It's a crisis to blame. God knows who created it, but pretty much all of us know that there are some people who took advantage of the public money and Greece arrived to where it is now.
Whether the artist has the right to tell their opinion on public?
Anyone can say what they want and if we start to damn the one who does it this is not a democracy but fascism. Of course you must not splutter, you do not have that right , but if you have thoughts you can express them.
I am not in the side of fascism or communism. I have learned to live in democracy, so if I have an opinion I say it, that's what I've learned.
Has this crisis debunked the artists?
Of course it has. Since the TV and radio channels are playing Giannis Parios, who I consider to be the greatest singer, alongside the buffoons... everything is debunking. Previously, there were love and adoration of the people towards the singer. Now there isn't so much of that.
It looks like you are consciously trying to exist only when you really have something to say?
Yes, I always do this. I speak only when I have to say about my work, because I'm a singer...
What for to be everyday on TV. What can I say?
There are your colleagues who do that.
Well they do, because they want to. It is quite democratic: everyone can say what they want as long as it doesn't affect the other...
Do you have any phobias?
Hospitals! I fear everything that has to do with health in general. I have phobia even to go to the dentist.
"Eilikrina" ("Sincerely") is the title of your new record work . Tell me a bit about it.
First I want to thank one by one all the composers and lyricists! I thank them because they gave me very good songs and I believe, that and the people love these songs too . There are 16 songs recorded and sung, and that was successfully done! I am very happy for my new album and I hope that people feel the same.
Are the words of the song more important for you than the music?
Yes. In fact, it is 50/50 , but it is the lyrics to make you listen to the song after 20-30 years and this is my goal .
Is there a genre of the song that stands out for you a bit more?
I love the zeibekiko that withstand time, and the ballads. Besides, I am listening to the people and I get there «vibes» for what they like.
Do the young songwriters come and bring you their new songs?
Yes, they do it constantly and we speak a little bit about them. I always listen to the songs and if I like one, I take it for the CD... If you check my CD's you'll always find the new names there.
Is there an author you would like to say "Thank you" because of some reasons?
Not just one! I start with Eleni Giannatsoulia , Spyros Giatras and Alekos Chryssovergis with who I worked for many years. But there are many more and I thank them all equally, because they all gave me something for the success. I have to say thanks to everybody!
Have your admirers ever put you in an awkward position?
I do not like talking about them this way. But I can tell you that all the people express their love differently.
One will tell you a simple "Bravo" and another express themselves differently, for example giving you a kiss.
Have you ever had a trouble with the people because of the personal problems to be forgotten in time of work?
Many times, because I'm moody, so I'm almost constantly having that problem even when I was a child. But when on stage you're thinking that you should give some joy to the audience and you do it. May be not very well, but 90%. ...
Your official page on facebook and your fan club are very well organized and giving you an active support in whatever you do . What is required from an artist is to get it?
I do not know very well about it but I know that there are thousands of people and I thank them very cordially . There must be a personality and talent in an artist .
Why do you keep yourself out of the online world ?
I do not like to write or talk on facebook and tell you what I want using this way of communication. I prefer to talk to you close , it's so simple . Isn't it a way to have more direct contact between the artist and his fans ? And if I existed in social media thousands of people would try to talk to me. I am a human , how could I respond to everyone ?
Have anybody ever tried to insult you?
No, not directly in my face. But if to contact online, it can be possible done, because there are always people who love you and those who hate you.
Do some people envy you?
Honestly, those envious are your best fans.
Can you tell me more about it, it's interesting!
For example, I read negative comments in youtube, but the very same people write in other places about my songs some positive comments. These people challenge me...
I have love in my soul , I have neither hatred nor malice, nor jealousy .
Is this about an ideal world?
Well, yes. Love is the message I want to carry and nothing else. There should be no jealousy (envy).
Are there Stars existing in Greece ?
I do not believe in Stars, to me it is something made to shine. But I think some people have an asterisk , for example, some actors when you see them on TV , they click , maybe they don't have a great talent , but there is an asterisk in them.
But when you take a person and promote them daily , for example Lady Gaga, is she a Star ? Why? Just because she's wearing meat and blood or nothing and this is enough to call her a Star? Tell me about it!
Then what Parios should be?
What are your nearest future plans?
Until the end of February I will be here. Then I will tour America, at the end of March.
Are you ready to meet our compatriots in America?
Honestly, I have an aerophobia and this is the only what i think about. About my trip to Australia I felt like Passion of the Christ. I took some sleeping pills, but they wouldn't work for 24 hours flight.
But yeah, I really want to go there, by the way, only still feel a little bit my aerophobia!
What sort of program have you prepared?
I almost never have the same program, I like to improvise. The first part is about the same, but the second one I always change. Of course there is a basis, but we do everything - whatever you like. I do not like to sing just my own songs, I sing the covers in the second part
What song do you consider to be your greatest hit so far?
Great success will be the song that was, you still listen after 20 years. Then you ask me and I'll tell you!
Sure there are some that stand out. There are some! Such as "Koita na mathaineis", "Akousa", "Ola gia sena" ... There are many songs coming to my mind, but I never listen to myself on the radio. When I hear they play my songs, I change the station, because I am bored. I've heard them a thousand times.
Which goal would you like to conquer in the next 5 years?
Five years is a short time. If you ask me - in 15 years, then I would like to have a family, to be healthy, to have the same job and to talk with you like now, when we are older.