Maria Kalomira Saranti, known professionally as Kalomira, was born in West Hempstead, New York on Long Island. She is a Greek-American singer, songwriter, actress and television personality.
Kalomira first came to prominence in 2004, after winning the Greek Talent Show ‘Fame Story’.
At the end of 2007, Heaven Music chose Kalomira to be their contestant representing Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, where she came first in the semi-final and third behind Russia and Ukraine in the final.
Kalomira has released four studio albums, hosted various television shows including Proinos Cafes, Pio Poly Tin Kyriaki, Big In Japan, Get The Job and was a backstage presenter in the popular Rising Star reality series.
When did you start singing your first notes?
I started singing at a very young age. I absolutely loved it. I remember my first actual show was in kindergarten and I had a lead singing part and it felt so easy and natural.
What is music for you and how does that affect your emotions?
Music for me is so many things…it’s a form of expression, it’s fun, entertaining, and at times also very healing.
Life brings good and bad times, how do you interpret all of those through music?
I can’t explain it in words, you just express it through your singing and stage performance. In the way, you might sing a note with a certain expression or when you do a live performance sometimes it’s getting completely lost in the music and at that moment everyone is connecting with you. You’re having a conversation with the audience while singing.
How did you feel being on the Eurovision stage and what happened after that night? Did your singing career skyrocket?
Eurovision’s stage is the most exhilarating experience in an artist’s life. The energy is at an all-time high level with people from all over the world coming together to celebrate music, different cultures, and artists. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced. The night of the final, I was so happy and sad to be honest. Mixed emotions because we were so close to first place and when it finished my first reaction was, “no, let’s do it again…it can’t be over”. After the first night though I woke up refreshed and so proud of what my team and I achieved. It was a wonderful group effort and having the love and support from your country and then from fans all over the world is priceless. I am very grateful for that moment in time.
Would you participate in the Eurovision Song Contest again?
Yes, I would and I recorded a song for it that I am saving just in case the opportunity ever presents itself.
Do you believe you were given many opportunities in singing and did you grasp them?
I feel I grasped as many as I could. I do feel sometimes there might not even be an open door of opportunity and you just have to start banging on different doors to get the opportunity to happen itself. You need to bound the door so hard it will swing right open. Don’t wait for the magic…go and make it happen and don’t be afraid to go for what you want. We are all worthy of living the life of our dreams. Everything we have and need is already inside us.
What kind of singer would you classify yourself as?
Definitely pop genre with colours of r&b.
What is your creative process like?
I like to start from a place of having fun and not overthinking. When I am in the studio and working on new music, I like to write songs that make me jump up from my seat the first moment I hear a beat. It’s like my soul is taking over. Usually the words then just flow out. I also do love experimenting though with different sounds and ideas. I can get bored very easily and like to push myself out of my comfort zone. I think it also makes it interesting for the listener to hear something from me that they wouldn’t expect. It keeps everything fun.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
In Greece, there are so many amazing female artists. I gravitate towards the women a lot because two women on stage together doing their thing is so empowering to me. It’s difficult to choose just one but if I had to pick one I would say Helena Paparizou.
Why do you choose to live in the States rather than in Greece?
This was a very difficult decision to make because I love Greece and have lived there for 6 years singing and living my dreams. The moment I had children I felt the guilt that all mothers feel (constant guilt for things is real) in moving my children to Greece away from all their grandparents, cousins, aunts, etc. To me, family is the most important and I want them to be especially close to my parents and my husband’s parents because they learn so much from having them around. They learn how to honour their elders, how to respect and learn from them and so much more. I felt that is priceless and I didn’t feel right not giving them that. I do travel back and forth constantly to Greece; the family and I are always in Greece for the summer because it’s so important for them to love and be proud of their country…it is their home and their heritage.
Are you on any new projects at the moment? Can you disclose anything?
I have recorded new music and am in discussions about when to release it. I am very excited about the new music I am working on. I collaborated with amazing and talented producers from all genres of music and it was such a learning experience writing with them. I can’t say more than that but you will find out soon enough.
How important is family to you? How do you balance music and family?
Family is everything to me. I always say that “If I fail in my career, I will be sad but will get over it. If I fail in my family, I will never forgive myself.” My family is my life and raising my children to be strong, confident, kind hearted humans is the number one priority to me.
What does a typical day look like?
I keep a tight schedule for myself because it makes the day flow so much easier and I like to keep busy. I pre-plan my day by the minute usually. A sample typical day for me is this:
6:00-7:00 – Workout
7:15 – Breakfast/lunches prepare for all
8:25 – Walk kids to school
9:00-10:30 – Tennis
11:00 – Shower/lunch
12:00 – Emails/work-related stuff/ to-do lists
2:00 – Prep dinner and get kids’ snacks ready
3:20 – Pick up kids for school
3:45 – Kids eat their snacks (I usually bake for them a spanakopita and have it ready with some fruit and a fresh-squeezed carrot juice I prepare from the morning).
4:00-5:00 – Swimming lessons for kids (sometimes it’s tutor or tennis…we try to keep them busy and active throughout the day).
5:45 – Kids shower and homework and snack for kids
7:30 – Dinner
8:15 – Clean up the kitchen
8:30 – We all watch the nightly news together. (We fast forward any parts that may be too much for them but it’s great because they ask us a lot of questions)
9:15 – Brush teeth and bedtime (I usually read them two chapters from a book and then lights out).
This is very detailed but lately, these are my days. Now, if I have a promotion for an upcoming song, then things are much different. It changes with the demands of the day and seasons. I also love cooking…it’s a huge passion of mine so I am in the kitchen for a lot of the day but I really enjoy it. (Not the cleaning up part but the cooking for sure).
I always like to ask people about their life mantras. What’s yours?
Be Kind. Be Open. Be Love.
Read also: Domna Kountouri: A Fame Story