Elena "Helena" Paparizou (Greek: Έλενα Παπαρίζου, pronounced (elena paparizu), born 31 January 1982), usually referred to abroad as Helena Paparizou, is a Greek-Swedish singer, songwriter and television personality. Born and raised in Sweden to Greek parents, she enrolled in various arts schools before launching a career in Sweden in 1999 as a member of the laïko (Greek folk music) and Eurodance duo Antique, who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 2001 and afterwards became popular in Greece.
Antique disbanded in 2003 and Paparizou signed a solo recording contract with Sony Music Greece, releasing the chart-topping debut single "Anapandites Kliseis" and album Protereotita (2004), with emphasis on laïko, pop, and dance sounds, but at first had modest sales. In 2005, she represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "My Number One", which she won. It was the first Greek win in the contest's history and significantly transformed her career. Her album was subsequently certified double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry of Greece. Paparizou briefly attempted a career beyond Greece with English-language material, charting in a few countries abroad. Her three subsequent albums Iparhi Logos (2006), The Game of Love (2006) and Vrisko To Logo Na Zo (2008) all peaked at number one in Greece and reached platinum sales. Her fifth studio album Giro Apo T' Oneiro (2010) was also certified platinum. Paparizou's final release before she left Sony Music, Greatest Hits & More, was released in 2011 and included "Baby It's Over", her biggest hit until 2016. Helena's biggest hit to date is An Me Dis Na Kleo feat Anastasios Rammos.
Paparizou established herself as a teen idol, particularly among young girls. She has endorsed the brands Nokia and Ivi. For the period 2013-2015, she advertised hair colour products for Koleston company in Greece. In the 2010s she tried to move into television as a judge on Dancing on Ice (2011) and as a contestant on Let's Dance (2012) but saw little success. Paparizou lived with her fiancé and manager Toni Mavridis from 1999 until their separation in 2011.
Paparizou has been awarded three Arion Music Awards, a European Border Breakers Award, 23 MAD Video Music Awards—more than any other artist—and an MTV Europe Music Award. On 14 March 2010, Alpha TV ranked her as the 14th top-certified domestic female artist since 1960, having won seven platinum and four gold records. Paparizou was the most successful debuting female artist of the 2000s and established herself as one of the top acts of the latter half of the decade. As of 2010, she has been certified for the sales of 300,000 albums, 47,500 singles, and 30,000 digital downloads by IFPI Greece, in addition to 100,000 total record sales in Greece as part of Antique, 24,000 certified albums in Cyprus, and 80,000 singles in Sweden during her solo career. In 2010, Forbes listed Paparizou as the 21st most powerful and influential celebrity in Greece. She has more than 144 million views on YouTube—more than any other artist in the Greek music industry. She is the first female artist to reach 600,000 likes on Facebook in Greece.
Elena Paparizou was born on 31 January 1982 in Borås, Västergötland, Sweden; she was the youngest child of Greek parents Georgios Paparizos (1948-2008) and Efrosynë "Froso" Paparizou. Elena's parents were from the Karditsa region; she has a sister Aretë, known as Rita, and a brother Konstantinos, known as "Dinos." Paparizou's parents met and married in her mother's hometown and moved to Borås in 1970. In 1985, the family moved back to Greece to live in Volos with relatives because Elena had contracted asthma and her lungs could not cope with the cold Scandinavian climate. After two years, she was well enough for the family to return to live in Gothenburg, Sweden. As a result of the trip to Greece, Paparizou spoke Greek as a first language and did not make friends with many Swedish children, because she attended a Greek-language school. Paparizou continues to suffer from breathing problems and often carries an inhaler on-stage.
Paparizou became interested in the arts at a young age, attending singing, dancing and acting classes alongside her academic studies. She began lessons in piano, ballet and Greek dance at seven years of age, and performed for the first time in front of a Greek audience when she was eleven, singing Christos Dantis' "Moro Mou". Two years later, Paparizou had decided she wanted to be a singer and began to study Greek music. By the age of fourteen, Elena Paparizou had formed her first group, Soul Funkomatic with three Hispanic teenagers. They played hip hop music while saving money to record songs; they disbanded two years later. On 29 October 1998, thirteen of Paparizou's close friends died in the Gothenburg nightclub fire during a hip hop party, when sixty-three people died and more than two hundred were injured. She had begged her mother to let her go to the party, but was not allowed to attend. After losing her friends, Paparizou decided to abandon singing. She started classes at the Art Performing School where she studied theater, acting, television and directing.
In 1999, some DJ friends of Paparizou brother asked Elena Paparizou to make a demo of the Notis Sfakianakis hit "Opa Opa", but because the lyrics are written from a male point of view, Paparizou wanted to sing with her childhood friend Nikos Panagiotidis. Some record producers, who were interested in signing a male/female duo to sing covers of traditional Greek songs, contacted Paparizou, who suggested Panagiotidis. The pair formed Antique, and signed to the independent label Bonnier Music. They called themselves "Antique" because it gave the impression of being "classical" and "timeless", and connoted Paparizou's association of Greek music with the idea of it being distant, old-fashioned, and something of an acquired taste. Their debut single "Opa Opa" became a hit in Sweden and Norway, eventually entering the top ten in both countries, making "Antique" the first act to reach the Swedish top five with a song sung in Greek. Their later singles "Dinata Dinata", "Follow Me" and "Moro Mou" also charted in Sweden.
Although relatively unknown in Greece in 2001, the duo entered the Greek national final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "(I Would) Die for You", composed by Nikos Terzis with lyrics by Antonis Pappas. They won joint first place, but as "Antique" had also won the public vote were declared the overall winners and went to the 2001 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen. Their song won third place with 147 points; the highest Greek Eurovision placing ever. It became their biggest hit in Greece, reaching Platinum status, peaking at number three in Sweden and charting elsewhere. Antique's Eurovision success led to wider recognition in Greece. They recorded four studio albums—which were only mildly successful—performed a small European and North American tour and collaborated with artists including Katy Garbi and Slavi Trifonov. Paparizou and Panagiotidis then decided to pursue solo careers. Initially, critics of the split accused Paparizou of abandoning her friend for her own career interests. Paparizou said the split was not permanent, but was a mutual decision to try other things, with plans of a reunion in mind.
In late 2003, Elena Paparizou signed a solo recording contract with Sony Music and released her debut single "Anapandites Kliseis", as a double A-side with "Treli Kardia". The release reached number one on the Greek Top 50 Singles Chart and was certified Gold by IFPI Greece. From late 2003, Elena was the opening act for various artists across Greece, including Antonis Remos and Giannis Spanos, Apostolia Zoi, Nino, Thanos Petrelis, Sakis Rouvas and Giorgos Mazonakis. Later in 2004, the video of "Anapandites Kliseis" won her a MAD Video Music Award for Best Dance Video, and was nominated for Best Video by a New Artist. At the award ceremony, Elena sang a duet of the song with its writer Christos Dantis.
On 27 June 2004, Elena Paparizou released her debut solo album Protereotita, from which the tracks "Anditheseis", "Katse Kala" and "Stin Kardia Mou Mono Thlipsi" were released as singles. It received mixed reviews from critics. The album earned Paparizou her first Arion Award for Best Female Pop Singer, and the videos for "Katse Kala" and "Treli Kardia" won her MAD Awards for Best Female Video and Best Direction, respectively.
Paparizou moved permanently to Greece in 2004, and after a long selection process led by national broadcaster Hellenic Radio and Television (ERT), she was selected to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 held in Kiev, Ukraine. ERT originally considered Paparizou as a possible back-up singer for a high-profile artist, but those deals fell through. She said at the time that no-one had wanted her to participate in Eurovision. The song "My Number One", composed by Dantis with lyrics by him and Natalia Germanou, was chosen by the jury vote and telephone vote in the Greek national final.
Although her first name is "Elena", Paparizou promoted herself as "Helena" in the lead up to her Eurovision appearance to distinguish herself from popular names in other countries. She continues to call herself Helena on all non-Greek promotions and releases, although she prefers to be known as "Elena". Paparizou toured Europe to promote her Eurovision entry. During this time, she was appointed a Greek Ministry of Tourism ambassador by Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Minister of Tourism. He spent €500,000 in her campaign to promote Greece through merchandise and advertisements that aired throughout Europe.
On 21 May 2005, Paparizou won the Eurovision Song Contest; the first Greek win in its history. Her performance scored 230 points and the maximum 12 points from ten nations. Her performance was also responsible for the highest viewing ratings in Greek television history. Her win provoked mass celebrations on the streets of Athens, and on her return home she was congratulated at a State reception at the Maximos Mansion by the Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and various government officials. Paparizou's Eurovision victory transformed her from a relatively minor celebrity to a notable music act, cementing her solo career and giving her wide international exposure. On 14 July she performed at the birthday gala of Princess Victoria of Sweden. While ascending the stage to greet the royal family, King Carl XVI Gustaf stood to embrace Paparizou instead of offering a handshake, causing controversy for putting his hand lower on her back than is socially acceptable. The Royal Court later issued a statement saying that his hand had slipped.
Paparizou toured Europe, performing in all the countries that gave her 12 points. A tour with Nikos Kourkoulis to the Greek diaspora in North America and Australia, followed. Paparizou stated that if she considered doing anything Eurovision-oriented again it be for her birth country Sweden, since she already had her turn with Greece. After performing as an opening act on numerous occasions, Paparizou headlined at Fever for the 2005–06 season, supported by Christos Pazis and with Giorgos Tsalikis.
After Paparizou's Eurovision win and several reissues, the album certified double Platinum by IFPI Greece. To capitalise on this success, it was reissued as Protereotita: Euro Edition in single and double disc format, and released as a compilation in some European countries as My Number One, which peaked at number 13 in Sweden. The Euro Edition became Paparizou's first album to reach number one and earned her another Arion award for Best Female Pop Singer. The tracks "My Number One", "The Light in Our Soul" and "A Brighter Day" were released as singles, which peaked at number one, three and twenty-four respectively in Sweden, and were minor hits in other countries as well. "My Number One" was released in the United States by Moda Records with remixes in August 2006, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. "My Number One" was certified Platinum, and becoming her first number-one airplay hit, while "The Light in Our Soul"/"To Fos Sti Psyhi" peaked at two.
In November 2005, Paparizou released a new CD single "Mambo!", which peaked at number one on the Greek Singles Chart for 10 weeks and the airplay charts, and gained Platinum status. It is her most successful single to date and was the second highest-selling single of 2005, surpassing "My Number One". She performed "My Number One" at the MAD VMAs in 2005, and in 2006 won awards for Best Pop Video ("The Light in Our Soul"), Best Video by a Female Artist ("My Number One"), and Artist of the Year ("Mambo!"). The album was reissued for a third time as Protereotita: Euro Edition + Mambo! in November. Paparizou won the European Border Breakers Award at the Midem Festival in Cannes for the international editions of her debut album in 2007.
In January 2006, 25 artists including Paparizou formed the group Simmeteho Energa, and recorded a charity single "Eho Ti Dinami" in support of the Greek Cancer Society. It was released as a CD single. The two-disc album contained previously released material and live recordings from her MAD Secret Concert held in December 2005, and formed the first edition of the series.
On 12 April, Paparizou released her second album, Iparhi Logos in Greece where it had a good critical reception. While promoting the album, Paparizou performed the title track at the Arion Music Awards. The album included three hit singles; "Iparhi Logos", "Gigolo" and "An Ihes Erthi Pio Noris". It topped the Greek Albums Chart for a number of weeks and was certified platinum by IFPI Greece after seven months, with shipments of 30,000 copies. It also reached number one in Cyprus and was certified Platinum there, with shipments of 6,000 copies. A cover of Celine Dion's "Just Walk Away" was released as a promo single, with the Greek version of "Mambo!" included. Paparizou won MAD VMAs for Best Video by a Female Artist ("Gigolo") and Best-Dressed Artist in a Video ("An Ihes Erthi Pio Noris"), from five nominations and opened the show singing "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" and "Min Fevgeis".
The album was also nominated for two Cyprus Music Awards in 2007, where she also performed. The album was reissued in February 2007 as Iparhi Logos: Platinum Edition to include Paparizou's number one hit "Mazi Sou", one of two songs she sang for the soundtrack of the television series of the same name, "Fos" from the Barbie kai I Dodeka Vasilopoules soundtrack released in 2006, and her newest hit single, a cover of Voula Georgouti's rebetiko "Min Fevgeis", which reached number two. Prior to the reissue, the singles were also released on the EP single Fos, which reached number one on the Greek Top 50 Singles Chart and was certified Gold, making it her fourth consecutive number-one hit on that chart. On 20 May 2006, Paparizou opened the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens with "My Number One" and later performed "Mambo!", but ERT ran commercials during the performance so a number of countries missed the song. Paparizou's song "Heroes" was the official song of, and performed at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg. The single was released in Sweden and Finland, becoming her second number-one hit in the former.
Following Eurovision, Paparizou wanted to start an international career, Her debut English-language album The Game of Love was released on 25 October 2006. By April 2007, it had been released in 14 countries in Europe and in South Africa. In Greece and Cyprus, the album peaked at number one and received Platinum certifications. Because it was considered a "foreign" release, the album was only eligible to chart on the Greek Foreign Albums Chart, which it topped. It also topped the mixed Greek Albums Chart, and was certified platinum by IFPI Greece after 11 weeks on the chart in January 2007, with shipments of 15,000 copies. "Teardrops" was released as the first Greek single from the album, and peaked at number one in Greece. The album managed to peak at #18 in Sweden too. "Mambo!" charted in Sweden, peaked at number 5, helped by a new video that was targeted towards a broader audience. The single was certified Gold in Sweden. Although Paparizou was expected to promote the album abroad that winter, she chose to perform alongside Paschalis Terzis at Iera Odos from 27 October.
In early 2007, Paparizou became the spokesperson for her previous sponsor, Nokia Greece, and released the song "Ola Ine Mousiki" in October 2007 for promotion. She collaborated with retailer Plaisio and released a limited edition MP4 player called "MP4 Total Helena" (2GB) by Turbo-X, which contained a special compilation and music videos, which were also released as "TH4" MP4 in 2008 along with her new album material and exclusive content. She released a cover of Blind Melon's "3 Is a Magic Number" in Sweden as part of a television advertisement for a mobile phone company; it peaked at number 18. Paparizou was featured on Greek television presenter Nikos Aliagas' song "I Zilia Monaksia" - a cover of the Pascal Obispo hit "L'envie d'Aimer" - for his album project Rendez-Vous, and released the song "To Fili Tis Zois" for the soundtrack of the film of the same name. "To Fili Tis Zois" remained at number one for five weeks, becoming her most successful airplay single until 2011, and one of the most successful songs of the late 2000s. It was nominated for four MAD VMAs, winning Best Pop Video, and Paparizou won Artist of the Year for "Mazi Sou" and was nominated for "I Zilia Monaxia", making six nominations in 2008. The single became the first digital single to be certified Gold in Greece since the marketing trend had become popular in 2006.
Paparizou released her fourth album, Vrisko To Logo Na Zo on 12 June 2008. The tracks "Porta Gia Ton Ourano", "I Kardia Sou Petra", "Pirotehnimata", and "Eisai I Foni" were released as singles. The music video of "Pirotehnimata" was nominated for Sexiest Video and won the sixth MAD Video Music Awards for Best Pop Video and Video of the Year. "I Kardia Sou Petra" won the award for Female Artist of the Year, while "Porta Gia Ton Ourano" was nominated for Artist of the Year. Paparizou promoted a rock-inspired image for the album; a change from her pop/laïko style. The album and its concept received mixed reviews. In its first week, the album was certified Gold, eventually peaked at number one in Greece and was certified Platinum after three months. It became the second best-selling album of the year in both domestic and mixed domains, peaking in Cyprus at number two and was certified Platinum.
To promote the album, two songs were released as digital downloads and promo singles, while Paparizou's duet version of Spanish group Chambao's single "Papeles Mojados" was played in some Spanish clubs. In June, Paparizou opened the MAD Video Music Awards 2008 with a remix of "Porta Gia Ton Ourano" with Madonna's song "4 Minutes ", and was featured in a performance of hip hop group Stavento. Paparizou embarked on her first national tour To Party Arhizei Tour from 2 July to 19 September 2009. The finale concert of the tour, set for Herakleion, Crete three days later, was cancelled because of the weather conditions and instead, Paparizou performed two shows in October 2009 at a club called Anadromes. The tour was attended by 192,000 people in its 29 venues, selling out the Thessaloniki venue. The album was reissued after the tour as The Deluxe Edition in December 2009 and included a video of the show titled Live in Concert, which was also available individually. A further reissue of the album, set to include Paparizou's newly recorded material including the new single "Tha 'Mai Allios" and MAD Secret Concert tracks, was scheduled for late 2009, but this was abandoned when the singer recorded a new studio album for 2010.
Paparizou was featured on the Bonnier soundtrack project Alla Himlens Änglar, released in August, where she contributed her first Swedish-language songs "Allt jag vill" (Everything I want) and "Genom krig och kärlek" (Through war and love). On 23 October 2008, she performed with other artists in a concert at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania, that was attended by approximately 10,000 people. From 30 October to 9 April she again performed alongside Paschalis Terzis at Iera Odos with Manos Pirovolakis as the opening act. Paparizou was the main act at the Thalassa: People's Stage, a concert-themed club stage, from May to September. At this venue she was supported by acts 15.50, Stavento and Loukas Giorkas. Paparizou returned to the stage of MAD Secret Concerts on 26 May, the eighth edition of the series. A video titled MAD Secret Concert Vol.II was released in mid-late 2009. During the winter, Paparizou went to Sweden where she worked on her new album and spent time with her mother. An English-language album had been announced for 2009, however those plans did not materialise because of Paparizo's father's sudden death. Three songs were recorded, one of which is a tribute to him.
Paparizou joined the new marketing trend of releasing albums with Sunday newspapers; on 28 March her fifth studio album Giro Apo T' Oneiro was released in the Greek newspaper RealNews, with a physical release the next day in standard and deluxe editions featuring a video. Eleven days later, the album had achieved total shipments of 140, 000 units physically and via the newspaper. Newspaper shipments are not taken into consideration by IFPI, however; in a radio interview in August 2010, Paparizou said that the album had sold enough physical copies to be certified Platinum by IFPI. On 6 November 2010, Paparizou was awarded platinum certification, with shipments of at least 12,000 units of Giro Apo T' Oneiro by IFPI Greece at the grand opening of the new Metropolis music store at The Mall Athens. The tracks "Tha 'Mai Allios", "An Isouna Agapi", "Psahno Tin Alitheia" and "Girna Me Sto Htes" were released as singles. "Tha 'Mai Allios", released a year before the album, became the singer's first advertisement for the soft drink brand Ivi's. Paparizou won the MTV Europe Award for Best Greek Act, and received a preliminary nomination for the Best European Act but finished sixth, missing the official nominations by one spot. The video for "Tha 'Mai Allios" won the MAD Video Music Award for Video of the Year and was nominated for Best Pop Video, while the video for "An Isouna Agapi" won the award for Sexiest Video and received nominations for Female Artist of the Year and Artist of the Year.
On 30 June 2010, Paparizou and Onirama embarked on their joint Fisika Mazi Tour beginning at Theatro Petras as part of the Stone Festival in Petroupoli. However, a surprise inspection by the SDOE at the Kefalonia venue stopped the tour. 8,500 concert tickets had not been stamped and the contract fees of the performing artists had not been submitted. The production was found guilty of tax violations. Paparizou said she had no knowledge of the occurrences and that she had no affiliation, except as a performer, with the production group. At the first MAD Fanatics concert, a tribute to Michael Jackson, Paparizou performed with seven other artists; she closed the show with covers of Jackson's "Heal the World" and "You Are Not Alone". During the winter season, Paparizou appeared with Antonis Remos at the Diogenis Studio for a reported fee of €10,000 per night, €4,000 fewer than her previous season of performances. Paparizou was featured on Albert Hammond's greatest hits album Legend on the tracks "Enredao" and its English-language version, "Tangled Up in Tears".
On 2 February 2011, Paparizou was one of eight acts performing at MAD TV's first charity fashion music show MADWalk—Greece's version of the international Fashion Rocks. She represented fashion designer Apostolos Mitropoulos and performed her new single "Baby It's Over", which was the lead single from her three-disc compilation Greatest Hits & More. She appeared at the Flight Night Club in Sofia, Bulgaria on 8 February. "Baby It's Over" debuted at number one the Billboard Greek Digital Singles Chart; it was her fourth number one hit on that chart and her first single to top any Greek chart in three years. It also topped the Greek Airplay Chart for ten non-consecutive weeks, becoming the most successful single of her career. The song won two awards at the 2011 MAD Video Music Awards for Female Artist of the Year and Fashion Icon of the Year. Paparizou was nominated for Artist of the Year and received a fourth nomination for Best Pop Video for "Psahno Tin Alitheia". The album's second single, "Love Me Crazy"—released in Greek as "O,ti Niotho Den Allazi"—was released in May 2011, and peaked at number five on the airplay chart. The songs' lyrics, particularly those of the lead single, caused speculation that Paparizou's twelve-year relationship with Mavridis had ended, which was proved to be correct. Greatest Hits & More was released on 23 May; it debuted at number two on the Greek Albums Chart where it stayed for three weeks, and was the best-selling domestic album of the week.
Paparizou spent the next six months in Sweden with family and friends. In June 2011, she announced that Mavridis would no longer be her manager and that she had recruited a new team of Swedish collaborators. Her only professional appearances were at a four-date tour to Cyprus. Paparizou wanted to revive her career in Sweden—which had declined since 2006—and to expand her career outside music. She announced a second English-language album and European tour, along with possible participation in Melodifestivalen—which she had turned down in the past. She also considered moving back to Sweden permanently. She also said that any future collaborations with Mavridis in the future would be decided by her label. In the third quarter of 2011, Paparizou recorded a duet of the nisiotiko classic "Dari Dari" with Nana Mouskouri for her duet album Tragoudia Apo Ta Ellinika Nisia (Songs from the Greek islands), and was a guest performer at the Mouskouri's anniversary concert at the Berlin Philharmonic on 29 November. Although she had originally declined offers to perform during the winter season 2011–12, from 18 November she performed as a supporting act for Yiannis Parios in Thessaloniki.
Paparizou made her television debut as a judge on the first season of ANT1's Dancing on Ice from 6 November to 22 January withshow polarised critics. Following her television debut, Paparizou received offers to appear on Dancing with the Stars, including as a contestant. She instead appeared on the Swedish version, Let's Dance in early 2012, partnered with David Watson. Initially considered one of the favourites to win, she received moderate scores and was voted off in the third episode, placing ninth out of ten contestants.
In December, Paparizou released the single "Mr. Perfect", which peaked at number seven on the digital chart and reached the top 30 in the airplay chart. The song was remixed by Playmen, who with Paparizou performed it along with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' "I Hate Myself for Loving You" at the 2012 MADWalk on 2 February 2012. The song's video earned her three nominations for Best Pop Video, Female Artist of the Year, and Artist of the Year at the 2012 MAD Video Music Awards, while "Baby It's Over" gained a fourth nomination for MAD 106.2 Track of the Year; she won the awards for Female Artist and Track of the Year. Paparizou performed a cabaret version of Eric Saade's "Popular" for the final of Melodifestivalen 2012.
At the 2012 MAD Video Music Awards, Paparizou performed a new version of the ballad "Poios" from Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, and was also featured in Playmen's "All the Time"—a remix of the Eddie Murphy song—along with Courtney and RiskyKidd. The song peaked at number two on the Official Greek Airplay Chart and became the thirty-fourth most played tracks in Greece for 2012. Both songs were released to radio the next day, and from the end of June to mid-August Paparizou toured Greece and Cyprus with Melisses. It was reported that she might perform from late 2012 to early 2013 with Natasa Theodoridou at Votanikos. While Paparizou's contract with Sony Music Greece had formally ended in early 2011, she remained attached to the label for several months. On 22 June, her A&R representative Giannis Doxas officially announced the end of their collaboration and her departure from the label.
In mid-2012, Paparizou started recording a new album. She said in radio interviews that she was searching for a new style for her upcoming Greek album. She told MTV Greece that the album have 10 tracks. During October she recorded a laiko duet titled Lathos Agapes with Natasa Theodoridou; this peaked at number eleven in the official Greek Airplay Chart by Mediainspector. On 9 November, she performed a live, acoustic version of John Lennon song "Imagine" at a dinner for the 2012 Athens Classic Marathon. On 1 February 2013, Sony Music released digitally in Greek iTunes a second compilation album titled The Love Collection, which consisted of love ballads from previous albums.
In early 2013, Paparizou's official fan club announced that she had signed a multi-territory deal with Universal Music Group—primarily with Universal International Music, which has exclusive agreements with labels across the Universal Music Group, including EMI Music Greece and Lionheart Records in Sweden. On February 2013, Paparizou performed as a guest at the Eurovision Greek Final, singing "My Number One" with Vegas and "Apres Toi" with Vicky Leandros. "Poso M'Aresei" is due for release on 19 March as the lead single of her upcoming album. The music video was released on 17 April. The second single "Ena Lepto" was released on 15 April. On 3 June 2013, Paparizou will release her studio album Ti Ora Tha Vgoume? by EMI Music Greece. She has also released a new English song called "Save Me (This Is an SOS)" on Lionheart Records in Sweden following a six-year absence from the Swedish market.
On 27 May, Paparizou performed at "Gabby Awards 2013" in Hollywood and singing some of Melina Merkouri's songs. During mid-2013, Paparizou performed at several Greek music festivals to promote her new album "Ti Ora Tha Vgoume?". An EP, which included four remixes of Save Me (This Is An SOS) by SoundFactory, was released on Swedish iTunes and Spotify; it reached number 27 on the Swedish Dance Chart.
On 1 February she performed in the 2014 Melodifestivalen that will select Sweden's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen. An official announcement was made by the Swedish broadcaster, SVT in November 2013. Paparizou performed "Survivor" in the first heat on 1 February. On 1 March, Paparizou reached the final of Melodifestivalen 2014 after being voted into the top two of the Second Chance round of the competition. In the final, Paparizou came in fourth place. On 26 March, her third English-language album, titled One Life, was released in Sweden by Lionheart Music Group. Paparizou performed at the semi-final of The Voice of Greece her new single "Don't Hold Back On Love" on 2 May 2014. Survivor was certified gold in Sweden selling over 20.000 copies.
On 14 November up to 13 December 2014, Paparizou joint the Swedish Christmas Tour "Julgalan 2014" in Sweden along with Danny Saucedo, Alcazar, Mattias Andreasson, E-type, Erik Segerstedt, Linda Bengtzing and Albin. On 14 December, Paparizou sang in the Swedish church to celebrate Santa Lucia, which was broadcast by SVT.
In February 2015 Paparizou was featured on the house duo's HouseTwins single "Love Till It's Over"., and later released her Greek single Otan Aggeli Klene. On March, Paparizou performed the singles as a guest at the Eurovision Greek Final along with the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, "Rise Like a Phoenix".
23 May 2015 Paparizou was the spokesperson for the points of Greece at Eurovision Song Contest 2015. In a bizarre twist, she gave the twelve points not to Cyprus (its representative, John Karayiannis and his song "One Thing I Should Have Done" ended up with ten), but to Italy's Il Volo with their song "Grande Amore". On 29 May Paparizou performed "Angel" at the final of "Let's Dance" in Sweden.
Paparizou joined the Swedish summer tour "Diggiloo" from 6 June to 15 August with Magnus Carlsson, Martin Stenmarck, Charlotte Perrelli, Andreas Johnson, Björn Kjellman, Hanna Hedlund, Oskar Bly, Jessica Andersson and Magnus Johansson.
Paparizou made her theatrical debut on the musical "Nine" at Pantheon Music Theatre as 'Saraghina'.
Paparizou recorded her new song in November 2015. "Misi Kardia" is written by Chris Mazz, Andy Nicolas & Yiannis Doxas and it was exclusively released on 89,8 Dromos FM. The music video was released on 15 February, along with the official release of the song. On 20 March 2016 Paparizou performed in "Dromos Superstar Voices" at BOX Athens with special host the Greek band "Melisses".
On 25 March 2016 it was officially announced that the song "Pou Pige Tosi Agapi", previous released on her album Iparhi Logos would be a part of the soundtrack album for the American comedy film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2".
From 26 April up to 6 May 2016, she was the commentator in the Swedish TV show "Inför Eurovision Song Contest" along with Oscar Zia, Njol Badjie and Wiktoria Johansson. Paparizou performed as a special guest star in the "Euroclub" and in the "Eurovision Village" during the Eurovision Song Contest week.
After 3 years of absence at the annual MAD Video Music Awards, Paparizou returned on the VMA's stage, performing her brand new single "Fiesta", which was officially released on 4 July and You Are the Only One along with Sergey Lazarev. Paparizou also performed at the semi-final of The X Factor Greece on 1 July, supporting the duo Stereo Soul.
In Summer 2016, Paparizou toured in Greece along with Mironas Stratis and Isaias Matiaba. In September 2016 Paparizou joined "My Way" show in Sweden with Claes Malmberg and Jan Malmsjö.
On 2 November 2016 it was officially announced that Paparizou will be one of the coaches at the third season of The Voice of Greece. The show premiered on Skai TV on November 16.
The single "Agkaliase Me" was sent to the radios on December 9, 2016. On April 28, Paparizou released "Haide", her first ever collaboration with Phoebus. Afterwards, released a digital EP "Extended Summer 2017" which included six tracks alongside the number one hit by her and Anastasios Rammos "An Me Dis Na Kleo'. The music video released in October.
In mid 2017, Paparizou toured Greece and Cyprus along with Despina Vandi in 16 cities in total. Later that year she was back as coach at the fourth season of The Voice in Greece. In December she released her sixth Greek album titled Ouranio Toxo, which was issued by Minos EMI/Universal.
Paparizou has said that her parents had no musical background and the only person in her family who sang was her paternal grandmother, who inspired Paparizou to sing. Paparizou's first musical experiences were with international music—predominantly musical; her musical roots are in traditional Greek music such as laiko and rebetiko because she was exposed to the music of Vassilis Tsitsanis, Markos Vamvakaris, Stelios Kazantzidis, Mimis Plaisas, and Giannis Spanos. As a child, Paparizou considered those genres to be distant and old-fashioned, and associated them with her summer holidays in Greece. In her teenage years, she listened to a broad range of music, including R&B and soul. Her biggest musical influences were female pop singers, including Madonna, Céline Dion, Tina Turner and Janet Jackson. Later, she was influenced by her frequent collaborator Paschalis Terzis, who taught her to improve her technical vocal skills. Paparizou has also stated that she was a big fan of the Eurovision Song Contest for years before she first participated in 2001.
During her solo career, Paparizou has changed her musical style from laiko, to pop and rock-inspired styles on a whim. Some critics attribute this to a lack of personal style and following trends for commercial success rather than as an artistic expression. Paparizou has been known to follow the trends of international female pop stars; music critics have compared songs like "The Light in Our Soul" to Celine Dion, "Let's Get Wild" to Anastacia, "Gigolo" and "Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)" to Shakira, "Somebody's Burning (Put the Fire Out)" to Beyoncé Knowles, and "Dancing Without Music" to Kylie Minogue c. Aphrodite (2010).
Similar to Antique's work, all of Paparizou's albums have included cover versions and translations. Following Antique's blending of traditional Greek music with Nordic disco sounds, Paparizou's debut solo album Protereotita focused on pop sounds and laiko, and the songs were directed towards the club market. Giorgos Mastorakis of Music Corner stated that despite the image change, the album was similar to those of Antique, being described as "pop moments (with keen laiko ... 'garnish')". The album featured songs from both Greek and Swedish writers, which according to Mastorakis, led to the album's sound varying. The stylistically interesting songs from the album includes the title track, which followed an R&B style, while the song "Katse Kala" was described as having an "original sound."
Following her Eurovision win, Paparizou's popularity increased and she was often promoted as a pop singer by the media. In his review of the Euro Edition of Protereotita, Pavlos Zervas of Music Corner was impressed with the album and said that its contemporary style could potentially be an international hit, supporting the singer more so in English-language recordings. In his review of Iparhi Logos, Zervas said that apart from Sakis Rouvas—Greece's pop performer—Paparizou was the only artist supporting the pop/dance genre so well in Greece. He also said that anything that she chose to sing would become a hit. He used Paparizou to illustrate that big name producers like Giorgos Theofanous and Phoebus are not needed to create hits. Zervas said that the numerous covers were the album's strong point, while "Gigolo" was characterized by "witty" lyrics in an overall pattern that followed her hit "Mambo!" and previous hits. He said that the album's laiko material contradicted the pop songs and made her overall sound less focused.
Paparizou's second English-language album The Game of Love was anticipated by Greek consumers and featured a similar sound to Iparhi Logos; over half of the album's material was taken from the latter album. Zervas also reviewed this album, saying that it contained many different styles such as dance, hip hop, slow jams and Latin, following a typical recipe of American music. Zervas said that international female pop singers did not have much above Paparizou, and that the album's success would depend solely upon promotion efforts, although internationally affiliated record companies were less impressed. Zervas' impression was that while he believed in the material's potential, he thought that if Paparizou continued her current trends and performance style at laiko nightclubs, her ambitions for an international career would come to a disappointment.
For Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, her fourth album, Paparizou minimized the laiko influences and changed to a pop/rock sound and image in contrast to her previous albums. Evianna Nikoleri of Music Corner said that the album was carefully crafted and had a good, European-like production. For Giro Apo T' Oneiro, Paparizou worked with the same group she had two years before, with small changes. She toned down the image she had created with her previous album; while many of the songs have rock influences and some songs include dance-pop and pop-folk, electronic and lounge music elements, with an overall pop theme.
Paparizou has written two tracks on all of her studio albums except Iparhi Logos; she also wrote the lyrics of the Antique song "Why?". These writing ventures were mostly collaborations with at least one other songwriter. She contributed lyrics to "Treli Kardia" (Protereotita), "Carpe Diem" and "Teardrops" (The Game of Love), and "Mathe Prota N'agapas" (Vrisko To Logo Na Zo), while she made her first musical contributions to Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, "Den Tha 'Mai 'Do" and "Filarakia" (Giro Apo T' Oneiro)—her first solo writing credit.
Paparizou has the vocal range of mezzo-soprano; from her Antique years until 2005, she performed in a vocal range of C4 to B♭6. Her vocal timbre has been described as "deep, sensual", "dramatic" and "metallic". Critics have frequently debated over whether laïko or pop material best suits her voice; while some found her equal in both genres, Greek critics tended to prefer her pop and dance repertoire and often that in English. This was partially caused by expectations arising from Paparizou's Swedish upbringing and Eurovision win. Also, having been raised abroad, her accent in English was different than that of a native Greek speaker. Native listeners of Western music contradicted this view; Swedish critic Dan Backman of Svenska Dagbladet said that Paparizou was no exception to the rule that musical artists sound better in their native languages, describing her vocal performances as "expressive" in Greek and "bland" in English. He also consistently selected her pure laïko songs, such as "Stin Kardia Mou Mono Thlipsi", "I Zoi Sou Zari", "M'angaliazei To Skotadi" and "O,ti Axizi Ine I Stigmes", as suiting her voice best; he said it may possess "the right dramatic nerve" for the style.
A writer for Nitro was skeptical of Paparizou's musical ability, writing in a piece titled "If the World Was Fair" that her image and the aid of backing vocalists should be recognized as playing a significant role for Paparizou. Pavlos Zervas of Music Corner wrote favourably of her voice; he said that on the Euro Edition EP, it was "adaptable" and "pliable" to the necessities of each of the songs, from the ballads to the uptempo ones. Critic Georgia Laimou of Eleftheros Typos disagreed with Zervas. Laimou found her deliveries monotonous and possessing no nuances between songs and styles. She also said that Paparizou's limited range meant she had to repeat a similar set of notes. Paparizou's tendency to strain her voice through oversinging—specifically shouting—which grew worse with age has been a common complaint. Laimou said that particularly after her Eurovision victory, Paparizou sang with a new-found confidence and force. Circa 2008, critics noticed an improvement in her voice and said that the album Vrisko To Logo Na Zo contained her best vocal performance.
Compared to her previous simplistic tunes, Vrisko To Logo Na Zo presented Paparizou with more challenging material. However, as the difficulty of the songs progressed, her excessive shouting became noticeable as a result of having to push her voice further because of insufficient volume and high notes. Although most critics agree that her "vigorous" interpretations reduce the quality of her songs, on occasion her style has served to augment the entertainment factor. Kalamaris, who said her 2008 and 2010 albums were very dull and mediocre, wrote that Paparizou was "able to give life to even the most boring tracks with her delivery".
During her career with Antique, Paparizou had a simplistic look with a lack of styling, representing a young girl; after going solo she made a transition into a more feminine and sexualized style. Paparizou was known for wearing revealing clothes, which was a contrast from her "good girl" image. Her signature look was hot pants, showcasing her legs as her most prominent physical feature. She also wore mini-dresses and five-inch high heels. To promote her album Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, Paparizou adopted a rock-inspired image, appearing aggressive in dark tones of clothing and make-up. The look was completed with multiple piercings, including her ears, tongue and most notably her nostril, on which she wore a wire chain connected to her ear piercing.
Evianna Nikoleri said that Paparizou was following the concurrent trend of pop/laiko female singers promoting a rock image—a trend she credited to Despina Vandi. Makis Kalamaris of Avopolis also said Paparizou's new image was for mainstream success rather than artistic expression, and added that Paparizou—knowing her limitations—was slowly easing into it rather than suddenly presenting a rock persona. Kalamaris also said that Paparizou was probably the only Greek female singer able to imitate the trends of international females without singing in skiladiko clubs and cloning herself into Madonna, which made her stand out against the concurrent mainstream scene. Paparizou's make-up artist Giannis Marketakis stated that Paparizou always gives input to her look and fashion, and closely follows fashion trends. Paparizou said that she avoids extremes in her fashion choices. In The Game of Love, Paparizou gives credit to her stylist Al Giga for making her love fashion and herself, while she also acknowledges Roberto Cavalli—who has provided most of her wardrobe since Eurovision 2005—for his input.
Paparizou established a public image described as that of the "Greek every-girl" or the "girl next door", making her an icon for teenage girls. Her songs have become a staple for young people during auditions at reality music shows such as Greek Idol, and she has inspired younger artists such as Idol runner-up Nicole Paparistodimou. Paparizou became known for the way she approached the media; she has been known to apologize in her interviews, laugh throughout, and "embodies the good girl and not the femme fatale, she wants to be likeable" and projects a n image of "child-woman" rather than that of a diva, staying family-friendly. During her role as a television personality, Paparizou became known for frequent outbursts of cackling laughter.
Paparizou has spoken candidly to reporters about her personal life, plastic surgery, and weight. She has been referred to as an "anti-star"; A biography of Paparizou on Alpha TV's Kafes Me Tin Eleni stated that her appeal was not her voice, her songs or her body, but that she represents the qualities and limitations of the average person. Paparizou has said that she likes to present herself in moderation; she ranked her star power in the Greek star system as moderate, the level she finds appropriate for artists. She also said she believed her public image would never be able to overcome that of the girl next door in the eyes of the Greek public. E! Entertainment Television described her as "sultry," ranking her at number 16 on their 25 Sexiest Women and 25 Sexiest Pop Divas of 2008, making her one of only two Greek celebrities—along with Kostas Martakis—to be featured on one of the network's lists. In 2009, she underwent breast augmentation at the age of 26 after wishing to do so since she was 18—the first Greek celebrity to admit having done so.
Paparizou performed as the main act at the artistic portion of the Athens Pride 2010 LGBT event. She has had promotional deals with Skechers, Nokia Greece, Organics Hair Care and Ivi, and through record label association has promoted Sony Ericsson in both Greece and Sweden, TIM Hellas, Vivodi, and Coca-Cola. Ivi reportedly selected her to be the face of its "Fersou Fisika" (act natural) campaign because she represented qualities such as freshness, naturalness, authenticity, goodwill and humor.
In 2008, Paparizou—who was known for her slim figure—was scrutinized for gaining during the 2007–08 season when she took a break from performing. Paparizou said she had gained 10 kilograms (22 lb); however she had already lost 7 kilograms (15 lb). She had previously stated that she gains at least that amount every time she goes on a break and that she could possibly gain up to 15 kilograms (33 lb). In 2006, she said she was dissatisfied with discriminative ideals towards both men and women, and threatened to gain weight the following year. This was followed by another weight gain in 2009. As the media became more concerned with her weight, Paparizou expressed her disapproval of this, stating "I am a singer, not a model." Paparizou also faced scrutiny for her weight during the Eurovision 2001, where media reported that she had anorexia nervosa. Paparizou said that for her appearance in the contest, she had lost too much weight, which had dropped to 51 kilograms (112 lb).
On 14 March 2010, Alpha TV ranked Paparizou as the 14th most-certified female artist in the history of Greece's recording industry on a list titled the "30 Most Popular Greek Female Singers of the Past 50 Years," with seven Platinum records and four Gold records. Paparizou was the youngest artist on the list, the only one under 30 and the only one to emerge in the 2000s (decade) in her solo career.a In 2010, Forbes listed her as the 21st most powerful and influential celebrity in Greece, and the fourth highest ranked singer. She is regarded as the most successful female pop singer of the second half of the 2000s (decade).
Paparizou at one point during her youth followed Buddhism, but eventually began following the Greek Orthodox Christianity because she believes it suits her better. She has been involved in a long term relationship with fellow Swedish-born Greek Toni Mavridis, to whom she was introduced by a friend of her sister at a restaurant when she was 17, while Mavridis is 11 years her senior. Mavridis became an impresario for Antique and has written songs on all of Paparizou's solo albums. He also serves as her manager. Mavridis had known Paparizou for a month before their relationship began; she left her parents' home to live with him in Stockholm. The two had a traditional Greek engagement celebration with their relatives on 24 December 2000, and have been engaged since. Paparizou has said that Mavridis has never officially proposed to her and that she would prefer that he does this in the Western tradition of going down on one knee. Mavridis suggested getting married in Las Vegas, while Paparizou has also already chosen a koumbara (bridesmaid).
On many occasions, Paparizou has talked about starting a family with Mavridis; in Celebrity, Paparizou said "I believe that family is the most natural thing, the thing I want in my life. And what is my preference? To not have kids so I can continue my career? One day it will end. I cannot be on stage everyday, like I am now at 25". In Nitro she said, "No (Mavridis is not my first relationship), but I think he is my last. He is the person I want to have kids with. I think he is the best father they could have. If I don't have kids with him, then I will adopt." In the August 2010 issue of Life & Style, Paparizou said that she would like to have a child within the next two years.
In 2011 Paparizou took a break from the Greek music scene and returned to Sweden alone. It was reported that she and Mavridis had been separated for nearly three months and were in the process of splitting their shared wealth and selling their home. On 29 June 2011, Mavridis confirmed that he and Paparizou had ended their twelve-year relationship. Paparizou moved out of their home, while Mavridis stayed. Reportedly, he has requested half of their shared wealth and assets, which apart from their Glyfada home, included a second home in Chalkidiki, property in Sweden, a Ferrari and joint bank accounts; their estate was valued at between €6 million and €7 million. Mavridis' argument was that as her manager he put the same amount of effort into the accumulation of assets as he arranged and was present at all of her affairs. The couple could not agree on the financial issues and have involved their lawyers with a possibility of letting the courts decide. Paparizou and Mavridis settled their disagreements out of court and their Glyfada home was placed on sale for €650,000—€350,000 less than their purchase price. A portion of the money was due to be used pay off their existing debts while the remainder would be divided evenly between the two.
On 25 December 2008, Paparizou's father died suddenly from a heart attack during the family's Christmas Day celebrations in Backa, Gothenburg. Paparizou stopped her performances at Iera Odos to be with family in Sweden before resuming her show. She later said she believed that her father would have lived if the ambulance been prompt, blaming medical incompetency. According to medical authorities the ambulance could not enter the area without police protection because it was considered a 'no-go area'. She has been suffering from depression since, citing it as the second occurrence since she was a teenager.
In October 2012, Paparizou started dating the civil engineer Andreas Kapsalis. They got married secretly in Sweden in mid 2015.
• Protereotita (2004)
• My Number One (2005)
• Iparhi Logos (2006)
• The Game of Love (2006)
• Vrisko To Logo Na Zo (2008)
• Giro Apo T' Oneiro (2010)
• Ti Ora Tha Vgoume? (2013)
• One Life (2014)
• Ouranio Toxo (2017)
Sources: Last.fm, Wikipedia
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