Marinella (Μαρινέλλα) is one of Greece’s most popular singers of all time, with her successful career spanning several decades.
Born on May 20, 1938, in Thessaloniki, Marinella is often considered a singer of folk songs, however, her range is quite broad and has included a variety of musical styles including traditional, laika, pop, blues, and jazz. Marinella is characterised as “The Great Lady of Song” in Greece, where she is highly regarded and well respected.
She was born Kyriaki Papadopoulou and released her first song in 1957, “Nitsa Elenitsa” (“Little Helen”). Her early career was marked by her collaboration with singer Stelios Kazantzidis.
She is the fourth and last child of a large family, which despite its poverty, was rich in love and had a passion for the arts. The whole family gathered around the table and sang, while her father tried to teach children the steps of the waltz and the tango.
From the age of four, she sang on the radio broadcast in “Pediki Ora” (Children’s Hour) and later did ads for shops such as “Melka” in Thessaloniki, earning her first pocket money. Marinella participated in many performances of children’s theatre.
The legendary artist was the first Greek singer to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, placing eleventh with the song “Krasi, Thalassa Kai T’ Agori Mou” (“A little wine, a little sea and my man”).
She also performed in several Greek musicals, both as singer and actress.
Her popularity rose in the 70’s and 80’s, with a string of successful albums and live shows. She developed a new standard for shows in the Greek night clubs, introducing costumes, dancing, and special lighting effects. Many of today’s popular Greek singers have modelled their shows on Marinella’s shows of the 80’s.
In 1998, Marinella performed in the Megaron Music Hall of Athens, performing her older hits to great acclaim. In 2003, she collaborated with George Dalaras. They performed concerts in Athens and Thessaloniki as well as abroad. The tour was titled “Mazi” (“Together”) and the released CD from these performances reached platinum status.
In 2004, she released a brand new album with new songs by Nikos Antypas and Lina Nikolakopoulou. In the same year, she performed at the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics.
In 2005, Marinella released a new album titled Tipota Den Ginete Tyhea, composed by famous Greek composer and lyricist Giorgos Theofanous. The album reached gold status and includes duets with famous Greek singers, such as Antonis Remos, Glykeria and Kostas Makedonas.
In 2006, 2 new compilations of Marinella were officially released, the first titled Sti Skini, containing older live recordings and the second one titled Ta Logia Ine Peritta – 50 Chronia Tragoudi, which is a complete 8 CD boxset with Marinella’s greatest hits from the beginning of her career till her collaboration with Kostas Hatzis at “Recital”.
Marinella returned to nightlife by performing live with Antonis Remos in the winter season of 2007-2008 at Athinon Arena. It was a much-anticipated show in Greece, especially given that Marinella had not appeared in any music club for 10 years. Her great quality of voice and the strength of her performances turned this live show to the most successful one for that year in Athens. At the same time, Minos EMI and Sony BMG Greece jointly released a double album titled “Marinella – Antonis Remos LIVE” with recordings from these live shows, which has already reached platinum status for sales.
On a personal note, Marinella married Stelios Kazantzidis on 7 May 1964 and they toured together in Germany and the United States. They divorced in September 1966. Marinella then began a solo career and eventually in 1974 married singer Tolis Voskopoulos. This second marriage also ended in divorce in 1981.
One thing is for sure, she is loved by generations of Greeks worldwide.