“When on stage I’m one and they are 2,000. This is energy. Do you understand how many kilometres of energy 2,000 people have inside their souls?! 4,000 eyes. Everyone has a pain in their heart, happiness, and energy. With their eyes they show me, and they give me.”
Since Giorgos Sabanis, one of the most loved and famous Greek artists of his generation, first hit the music scene 13 years ago, he hasn’t stop surprising the music industry and his fans with his passionate music, angelic voice that touches your heart and charismatic personality both on and off the stage.
Giorgos has been singing since the young age of seven and started his first band ‘Fasma’ when he was a thirteen-year-old school boy. The band wrote and performed their own songs, including one of Helena Paparizou’s famous songs ‘To Fili Tis Zois’.
Reflecting back to his younger school years Giorgos explains how his passion and power behind his performances developed.
“When I was in school there were 2-3 kids, they had a guitar and they were surrounded by girls. The kids didn’t like them. When I sang at school there were about 200 kids around me listening, I was like the singer of the school. There were also a lot of other kids that played only for their close friends. The people are the power of the singer.”
His favourite singers growing up and still to this day are Giorgos Dalaras and Haris Alexiou.
Not only is Giorgos a talented songwriter and singer, but he was also born an athlete. His father was a top track and field athlete, which is why he decided to take up athletics and participate in the sport, so he can be like his dad. What he didn’t realise, was that in as little as 3 months after he started to train and compete, he would come first at the Greek Championships, showcasing his natural talent and ability for the sport. His passion and talent for athletics led him to represent Greece at various levels in athletic competitions and championships all around the world.
At the height of his athletic career, Giorgos was training to compete as a track and field athlete at the Summer Olympic Games in 2004, to be held in his home country, Greece.
During the lead up to the Games, Giorgos was faced with a dilemma, to participate in the opening ceremony as a Greek Athlete or as an artist.
Unfortunately, in May (3 months before the games) he broke his foot after an accident at home, and as a result, he was unable to run at the Olympic Games as a 21-year-old runner. This didn’t stop Giorgos, who was still determined to participate in the opening ceremony in any way he could. He recalls calling up the director of the Olympic Games at that time, Dimitris Papaioannou and telling him that a surgeon was going to fix his foot, and he will train and strengthen it, so he could still participate in the ceremony, in any way possible. At first Dimitris was hesitant as they needed someone to run around the entire track, in the third lane that was 500 metres in less than 2 minutes, carrying a flag that was 2.5kg.
“They needed a runner not a model. They could place a model, a very handsome Greek man but no model could hold a 2.5kg flag and run 500m in 1min and 40secs. I was doing 400m in 48secs. I belonged to the Greek team and it was very easy for me to do that. I literally didn’t have to run. But it was impossible for a model. Two weeks later Dimitris called me, and he said that he cannot find anybody, and he is going to wait for me. My physiotherapist fixed the fracture in the metatarsus of my foot in 15 days, therefore I started training for the ceremony not long after. I fractured my foot on the 11th May and on 10th of June I was ready. My foot was a bit weak, but I was at my best for running. I did it as an Olympic Games runner not as an athlete of the Greek Olympic team. I was very lucky because this was the only way I could take part in the Olympic games,” Giorgos continued.
Since then, athletics has taken a pause in Giorgos’ life, as he decided to pursue his other natural talents, singing, song writing and performing.
When one listens to Giorgos’ voice, they can feel a deep connection to the words and at that moment, the whole world pauses as the music takes over your heart and mind.
The inspiration for his songs he notes, is a gift from God. “Nobody knows where it begins and where it stops. Sometimes they say that you have a muse inside of you, a girl or a goddess who comes to your brain and gives you music, no-body knows…. When you do something to me, I usually write a song. It’s my way to explain the things inside my mind and to explain the things to my friends. So simple. When I am in love with a woman and I want to tell her how I feel, I prefer not to talk. I can leave a song on the table. For some it’s romantic, for others it’s silly because they cannot understand it…The feeling has intelligence. That feeling has mind. As a person, the first thing I know for myself is that I have a high level of sentimental, emotional intelligence so I can write music, or I can write lyrics, or I can perform, or I can be the guy who can listen to your problem, understand and tell you what you have to do.”
In October 2007, Sabanis recorded his first CD single ‘Kapou Allou’ and in March 2008, he released his first album titled ‘Haramata’. Just over a year later after the success of his first album, he released his second one titled ‘Meres Pou De Sou Eipa S’ Agapo’ and made his first live appearances with Peggy Zina. He notes that if his followers didn’t buy his first album and support him the way they did, he wouldn’t have recorded a second album. Three years later in March 2011 he released his third album ‘Mistirio Treno’, fourth album ‘Den Eimai Iroas’ in 2012, fifth album ‘Mono Ex Epafis’ in 2014, sixth album ‘Logia Pou Kaine’ in 2016 and his latest album ‘Paraxena Demeni’ in April 2019.
As a singer, it is easy to be just a performer on stage singing to the crowd to entertain, make memories and to have some fun. For Giorgos, being in front of a crowd of 3,000 people, is more than just being a performer on stage performing for six hours. It is about pouring his heart and soul into the microphone, connecting and feeding from the energy and passion in the crowd, making them feel like they are part of the show. “The crowd is my soul. If I feel they are not with me they don’t see me, I’ll stop singing. Twice in my life I left my stage. It’s impossible for me to do it. You are the Protagonist. If you don’t like me, I go. The crowd, the guys that are under the stage are the soul of the life. I give them the energy to show me what they got. The crowd thinks it’s the opposite thing, they think that I show them what I’ve got. I give them what they give me.”
“I take your energy. You give me love and I give you love back…You make me feel like home…”
As a talented singer and songwriter Giorgos has won numerous awards and attained many musical achievements. In 2013 at the MAD Video Music Awards, he won the award for “Best Video Clip Pop/Rock” with the song ‘Ora Miden’ and again won the same award in 2016 for his song ‘Prin Peis S’Agapo’. Not to mention his sixth album ‘Logia Pou Kaine’ in 2016 was certified four times platinum with 50,000 copies sold.
He has also written songs for Nikos Oikonomopoulos, Despina Vandi, Katy Garbi, Giorgos Mazonakis, Antonis Remos, Natassa Theodoridou and Melina Aslanidou, just to name a few artists.
It took Giorgos a combined total of two days to write his latest album ‘Paraxena Demeni’ that contains 11 very distinct songs, with all the music written by Giorgos himself and lyrics by Eleana Vrahali, his close friend and lyricist. He notes that he reads the lyrics and thinks of how he could sing them and fixes the melodies. On the first day he wrote 5 songs, two from melodies he had written two years ago and three that he made with Eleana at her house. The other 5 were created during a holiday in Kythira which he brought his guitar along to. “One day I stayed at home with my guitar looking at the sea and I made 5 melodies. And this day I sent the melodies to Eleana. She answered me back ‘I like them all’. One month later she sent me the lyrics for the melodies. I then went to my producer and played him the songs and he told me ‘Wow I like them’…Together with the other 5 we had 10 and one more ‘Skia Sti Gi’, a song written for the animals and the Volunteer Action of Veterinarians of Greece one year before. So, we finished it in two days. It’s not good or bad. It happened. Sometimes I need two years…. This time it was too easy, like most of the times,” he stated.
“Music exists in our lives since we were born. You know that a baby in order to fall asleep they put their head on their mother’s chest in order to hear her heartbeat. Think what music can do to you- When you are sad you listen to a song. When you want to decide about something in your life or when you are angry with your parents because they don’t understand you, then you listen to a song with Jim Morrison and the Doors or ACDC… Music helps. It’s for the soul. Even at funerals some people sing. It doesn’t matter if they are Catholic, Orthodox or Muslim, music exists when you are born and when you die. It’s for your soul.”
The popular artist doesn’t just love listening to Greek music, but also the songs of American musician Chris Cornell, who was best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. Whatever he released, Giorgos stated that he has gone out and brought it all. “I could hear it on YouTube without any money or find it as a download. But it’s Chris Cornell and I love him, so I pay to have his music. I like Rolling Stones very much, but I don’t buy everything from them. I buy only the good things, the things I like most, because they are not my favourite band. They are just one band I like a lot. I brought 10 albums, but I don’t have the new album of Mick Jagger… It’s a matter of taste. You only buy every record if they are your favourite singer and you don’t care if it’s good or bad. You buy it because you love it. I’m a fanatic for Haris Alexiou. The first day her record is out, I buy it and go home. I also love Freddie Mercury so I have every album of Queen.”
Despite all the achievements in his life from on the athletic track and behind the microphone on stage, Giorgos hasn’t let all the fame get to his head and that he is still just an everyday normal person, like you and I. With a cheeky grin, he admitted that despite his many musical talents, he isn’t a practical person. “I can’t do simple things. I can do difficult ones, but I cannot do simple ones… I can talk to you about your problems in your life, if you have a problem at work and give you advice, I can comfort you after a loss, but it’s impossible for me to deal with what is the best tomatoes to buy from the supermarket. This can drive me crazy. Take any one to go. I don’t have a problem with shopping. If we go shopping for clothes I find it artistic because the things you wear is something artistic. It’s aesthetic and aesthetic to me is everything. In music aesthetic is in everything. The clothes you wear, how you behave, how you eat, how you talk to a woman or to a man, everything is a matter of aesthetic…I simply want to say that if someone is dealing with things that are more serious to them, they might not be good at simple things. We cannot all be good at everything. You may be good at something and you are not good at others. You choose where you are going to focus…Just imagine I’m in Athens, going from studio to studio, one day with Antonis Remos, one day with Natassa Theodoridou, one day for my songs, one day with Giorgos Dalaras, or one day with Giorgos Mazonakis and the other days in the studio playing with my band and trying to fix my music, so when I have time I’m too boring.”
His dream place to perform was in Australia and now he is so excited that he has done it! While he was down under he also had the chance to visit the aquarium and see sharks, a fish that is not commonly found in the waters of Greece. Since there are 118 different kinds of sharks in Australia, he didn’t dare to swim or go surfing because he didn’t want “to be the food for anyone. I’ve seen the sharks in the aquarium. They are the bad guys. Impossible for the sharks to be the good guys. Have you seen Finding Nemo? The shark was trying to be the good guy, but he is not.”
From the stage, Giorgos really loves seeing the crowd enjoy themselves as he receives their energy. During his recent performances in Australia, he remembers that people came on stage to hug him and ask for photos like they were his friends. “I couldn’t believe it that there were people coming on the stage asking to have photos with me. A lot of people do not like this. I don’t believe that people love you and you are not happy with this. That’s crazy. How can people tell you I love you, you are God, give me a photo for my daughter and you say ‘No’. I cannot understand this… Because I sing for the people.”
GCT followers can see Giorgos perform live at Έναστρον for the winter bouzoukia season (Pireos 188, Tavros 177 78, Greece) with Katy Garbi, who will be his guest in the program.
Audiences can expect to hear their favourite tunes including ‘Min Anisicheis’, ‘Poion Agapas’, ‘Prin Peis S ‘Agapo’, ‘Mi Milas’, ‘Mono Esi’, ‘Paraxena Demenoi’, ‘Alaxe Ta Ola’ and ‘Logia Pou Kaine’, amongst other hits as you dance the night away.
Trust us, seeing him perform will leave you with everlasting memories!