Friday, December 20, 2013

Dec. 20: singer, composer, dancer & actress, Anna Vissi - AKA Anna Vishy - from Cyprus is 56-years-old today.

Anna Vissi was born in Larnaca, Cyprus. She began singing at a very early age, beginning formal musical studies at the age of six at a local conservatory. When she was twelve, she entered a talent competition and won first prize. Two years later, she was the main singer on 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 eventually appeared with a number of well-known Greek singers, including George Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, and Vasilis Papakonstantinou, at the famous nightclubs of Plaka, in Athens. (At the same time, she also studied law at the University of Athens.)

Her first important collaboration, alongside George Dalaras, was with composer Stavros Koujioumtzis. Koujioumtzis composed two songs for Vissi, "S' Agapo" ("I Love You") and "Sta Hronia tis Ipomonis" ("In The Years of Patience.") She also collaborated in the 1970s with many well-known Greek composers such as Mikis Theodorakis, Georgios Hadjinassios, Doros Giorgiadis, Mihalis Terzis and Nikos Karvelas - who later became her husband.

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In the 1980s, Vissi began an exclusive collaboration with Nikos Karvelas, resulting in one of the most successful music partnerships in the nation's history.
Anna with Nikos Karvelas

In 1980, Vissi participated in the 25th Eurovision Song Contest representing Greece with the song Autostop ("Hitch-Hike,") finishing 13th. Two years later, she represented her native Cyprus at the 27th Eurovision Song Contest with the song she composed herself, "Mono I Agapi" (Only love), which finished fifth - giving Cyprus its highest position to date.

The songs were not released on any album or CD single until 2006, when both were released on CD single in time for Vissi's third Eurovision appearance. "Mono I Agapi,"  however, was released as a 7-inch single in 1982 with an English version titled I'm Gonna Be A Fool for You as a b-side.
After their marriage, she started a close collaboration with Karvelas. Since 1975, all her releases have become gold or platinum and have included songs by Karvelas. In 1986, she participated at the Cypriot National Final for Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Thelo Na Gino Star" (I Want To Be A Star), taking second place. This song is still unreleased up to date.

In 1985, Vissi released her album Kati Simveni ("Something Is Happening") which included one of her most famous songs, titled "Dodeka" ["Twelve (O'Clock)"], and in 1986 I Epomeni Kinisi ("The Next Move"), followed by Empnefsi! (Inspiration!) and Tora (Now) in 1988.In 1989, she released the highly successful studio album Fotia (Fire), being one of the first albums to feature western sounds. The lead single "Pseftika" (Fake) became a big hit. She performed at "Diogenis Palace" in that same year, Athens's biggest nightclub/music hall at the time.

From 1995 to 2009, Vissi received 30 platinum certifications in Greece and has become one of the country's best-selling female artists, having sold over 9.5 million records worldwide. Her album Kravgi remains one of the best-selling albums of the 2000s, and one of the best-selling albums of all time, while two others — Travma and Antidoto — are also among the best-selling.

She also had success in the U.S., reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart with "Call Me."


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