It doesn’t take long to realise why Kalomira Sarantis became Greece’s number one sweetheart back in 2004, after appearing on Fame Story 2 and taking out the popular Greek singing show with her winning performances each week.
The gorgeous pop star’s genuine nature and humble upbringing, not to mention her absolute passion and love of singing and entertaining, helped her to go on to release six albums, one of which went Gold, along with three singles and in 2008 she was voted by the people of Greece to represent them in the Eurovision Song Contest, where she won third place.
Her song, "Secret Combination," hit number one in countries all over the world and Kalomira has also worked on television and radio shows in both Greece and America.
Now at the age of 31, Kalomira is happily married and a proud mum of 3- year- old twin boys Nikos and Demetris and also expecting a baby girl in July.
Kalomira spoke exclusively to GCT about her passion for pop music, her time on Fame Story, and she also tells us about her love of Greece, Greek traditions, plus shares some tips on motherhood.
The entire Greek population, not only in Greece but all over the world fell in love with you on Fame Story, can you tell us what is your secret to being such a warm, friendly and genuine person?
That is a very sweet thing to say and I really appreciate the kind words. I feel very grateful for all of these years and am extremely appreciative of the massive support people have given me throughout this time. I don't take a moment for granted. I feel like whatever you do in life it's important to be yourself. Don't be afraid to be yourself and to be original. We all have it in us and when we let it shine from the inside, it shines from the outside too.
What did you love most about your time on Fame Story 2?
Everything. I was in love with every moment. The only time it got really tough for me was the last week, when I felt it was time to leave the home. It was almost a little suffocating but this was honestly only the last week in there. Other than that, it was heaven. I loved the rehearsals, live shows, the other team mates on the show, our kitchen and our rooms- I loved it all. It was just a magical period for me and the first time I had ever left my home in New York.
When you started the show did you have a feeling you might win?
I honestly went with the full intention of making an album. My goal was to somehow leave the show with a record deal. I knew the amazing voices and competition that surrounded me; I wasn't looking to win. I just wanted to stay in the game as long as I could, in order to leave with a record deal. I was absolutely humbled, shocked and grateful for the win, which has done so much for me and I have the people to thank for that.
Have you always had a passion for singing, music and entertainment?
Yes, I have always been OBSESSED! I was constantly singing throughout my house, at my parent’s restaurant, at the mall, karaoke places; I just couldn't stop. I would watch live shows and study my favourite artists over and over again. I would practice constantly and cry at night out of frustration because I wanted it so bad.
What genre of music do you enjoy singing most?
I appreciate all types of music- honestly from pop, R&B, country, dance and rap but my personal favourite is pop music. I love music that is popular and that's playing on the radio because when you perform songs people know, it’s so much fun. I love when they sing along with you and become part of the show.
You have achieved so much already in your career, what has been the highlight?
I feel there are a few that meant so much to me. Of course Fame Story was the first and that completely changed my life. The second was having the huge privilege of singing at the Irodio (theatre in Athens) with the huge and greatly respected artist Dionysis Savvopoulos; it was a two-night event that was so special to me. And of course the third would be Eurovision, which was a dream come true and I am beyond grateful for that experience. It was an absolute honour to represent Greece and I wish we could have made a full home run but I am beyond happy for third place; that experience is forever engraved in my heart.
Who are some of your all-time favourite singers both Greek and non-Greek?
Wow, there are too many. Greek singers- I love them all. From Nana Mouskouri, Marinella, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Alkistis Protopsaltis, Despina Vandi, Kaiti Garbi, Anna Vissi, Remos, Mitropanos, Pantelidis, Terzis, Petrelis, Rouvas, Kokkinou and more; I know I'm like naming them all but I have worked or met many of them and I have become a big fan on and off the stage. As for English artists, I love me some Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Timberlake (love his new song out now), Adele, of course queen B, Rihanna; I love everything pop and popular on the radio right now.
What did you like most about spending time in Greece?
I loved the beautiful weather, the great coffees, and of course the Thalassa (beach).
Have you always had a connection to your Greek heritage?
Yes, always. We used to go to Greece every summer as children but when my parents opened their restaurant we stopped going for a while. I always loved visiting the village and seeing my grandparents. They were special times that stay in your childhood memories forever.
Did you grow up in an area with a close Greek community?
Yes, we did but I feel I am closer to the Greek community now as an adult than I was when I was a child. We live right down the street from our local Greek church and I love it. I love them and I love that my children go to school there.
What part of the Greek culture and lifestyle do you identify with most?
I really enjoy the traditions we have. I know they may be old fashioned for some people and even though I even sometimes make fun of my Mum for following them, deep down I enjoy them and follow them too. I love our Greek holidays and going to church and I remember growing up my Mum would always play Greek church music in the house. We have such a beautiful and rich culture in so many ways.
You are now a Mum of beautiful twin boys and a baby girl on the way. Can you tell us how motherhood has changed you and what you love most about being a Mum?
It has made me more in love than I ever thought I could possibly be. I didn't know what true love was until I had my children; not to say I don't love my husband of course. My husband and I always talk about the love we have for our kids and how intense it is. I feel my children make me a better person because I want to truly be a good example for them. I want to practice what I preach. I love the little things about being a mum- like the kisses or when they finally say the new Greek word you have been drilling over and over to them. Of course it has its moments when it's completely overwhelming but the rewards are so worth it.
Any tips for parents with twins?
Get as much help as you can! It was so hard the first year and I swear I’m not exaggerating. We were first-time parents and they were twins, born premature so we had to come home with monitors- it was very difficult. Now though, it is much easier because they play with each other all day.
What is your best piece of advice for a first time mum?
Don't overwhelm yourself and don't get consumed by everyone's opinion. Always be open to listening but in the end, do what feels right for you and your baby. There is no "right" way, there is "your" way with a lot of love. Don't forget to enjoy all the moments, even the stressful ones because they really do grow up so fast; also take as many pictures and videos as you can.
What Greek traditions & values would you and your husband like to pass on to your children?
As many as we can. I love the Greek tradition of passing the grandparents name on to the children, which we did with the boys’ names or the holiday traditions like Easter and Christmas. Our name day celebrations, so many to list.
You have already travelled to Greece with your boys, do you plan on going again after your baby girl is born?
I would definitely like to go next summer. Travelling, in general, has its moments but I feel like if you are really prepared and organised, it all works out. Plus, the kids absolutely love Greece and I want them to love Greece the way we adore it.
What parts of Greece do you love most?
That's a hard question. Greece has too many beautiful islands to just name one. We are from the Peloponnisos area and it’s gorgeous but in general, there are too many parts of Greece that are so breathtaking. One of the most beautiful places on earth by far.
We know you also enjoy cooking and sharing recipes on your blog. Can you tell us what is your favourite Greek food?
I love, love, love the good old chicken and potatoes in the oven or lamb and potatoes in the oven, it’s delicious. Of course, I love spinach pie too.
Lastly, you have your hands full for now but do you plan on recording any new albums in the near future?
Yes of course but I like to take things chapter by chapter and for these few months, I’m focused on my little girl on the way.