Greek Australian Mariah Keramianaki was surprised by Australian Idol judge Kyle Sandilands, who made the trip to regional NSW town of Crookwell to see her. The popular radio show host and Australian Idol judge, said he had heard of the singer and listened to her independant album and believed she was worth making the long journey to pay her a personal visit!
Arriving at her parents takeaway shop where Mariah was working, Sandilands burst in like a tornado surprising the hopeful. He had heard the singer's parents held her back from auditioining, requiring her services at their long-running takeway shop instead. In true Sandilands fashion, fuelled by passion in his beliefs, believed the singer was worthy of an audition and if she couldn't make the trip to Sydney, he'd make the trip to Crookwell to audition her.
An improptu audition jumping on the counter, Mariah gave a performance for Sandilands and the shop's customers of 'Proud Mary', scoring her a Golden Ticket to the top 50 of Australian Idol 2023.
Watch audition here: https://vt.tiktok.com/ZS8mMQyvq/
Mariah Keramianaki is a singer/songwriter of Greek-Cretan decent who was born and bred in a small country town called Crookwell in NSW, Australia. There she grew up amongst her family’s owned café business they’ve run for over 40 years, where Mariah essentially was taught the elements that serve as a solid foundation for a strong work ethic from an early age.
Whilst juggling work Mariah still applied herself to her passions of playing the piano, singing and writing her own original material. Her love and dedication to working on her craft and developing her musical skills, has taken her on a journey of pursuit to creating new ideas; consistently challenging herself and nurturing her growth as an artist. That level of grind paid off when she accepted a development deal with Oceanic Records (Old Binda Road Studios) where she has been recording and releasing both her original tracks and cover songs.
To date the multi-talented artist who goes by the (stage name) of Mariah K, has released a Christmas album ‘Have a Mariah Christmas’ and singles ‘No Living’, ‘Angel’ and the recently released Greek-inspired track titled ‘ELADA’, all originals by Mariah K.
‘ELADA’ is Mariah’s first piece of multilingual work (and hopefully not her last) incorporating Greek and features Australia’s leading bouzouki player, Tommy Tsonis.
‘ELADA’ has already been played on a radio station in Crete which has only fuelled Mariah’s fire and desire to produce more songs in her native language, honouring her homeland and roots.
GCT got the exclusive from Mariah K to learn more about the singer/songwriter, from her Greek-Cretan background, her music and talent, collaboration with Tommy Tsonis and her future aspirations.
How old are you?
How long have you been singing/songwriting?
Singing since around the age of 13 and started writing songs at the age of 18/19.
What inspired you to write this song?
I always wanted to write a song about my second home ‘Greece’. The country means a lot to me and although I don’t get to visit often, when I listen to this song it makes me feel like I’m there with my family. So Greece definitely was my inspiration writing this song.
Was there a reason you spelt Ellada as ELADA?
Originally I was going to spell it as ‘Elatha’ so it sounded like ‘Ellada’ when pronounced but I thought that was too common, so I wanted to write it as ‘Elada’ to help it stand out and make it sound more modern and easier for people to say.
Tell us about your Cretan background, if it had any influence on you/your life/your music?
Both of my parents families are from Spilia, Crete, so I definitely have a Cretan background and in my soul. Both of my grandmothers are from the same island, which is really special and they are both musically inclined, they would sing all the time. My father’s mother would write poems and sing them in the village, she had a beautiful very low husky voice. My mother’s mother has a beautiful head voice register, which is in a much higher range, I was always listening to her singing in the kitchen during my holiday visits. So I have to believe that’s where that influence came from - listening to them singing from the heart, that’s exactly how I sing - straight from the heart; I definitely believe I am a reflection of them.
What was it like collaborating with Tommy Tsonis on your song?
Honestly, a dream come true! I’ve been following Tommy for a long time on social media and it was always a dream to meet him and possibly get to play a song with him. So I was over the moon when I got the call that he was going to be on the track!
You sing in English, any future plans to sing in Greek?
Definitely have thought about singing in Greek in future. I definitely want to write a song in Greek someday!
Explain in your words what this song is about?
This song is a representation of my culture and my love for the country, Greece. It’s about my second home, my family, what I love about the country, how the country makes me feel. The beautiful people, the atmosphere; all those points are integrated in the song.
What vision did you have for this song, where would you like to see it go or take your music career to?
The main vision is for this song to be heard around the world, but especially in Greece! I definitely think Greece would love it. Australian Greeks would love it and I think even the song in general is very catchy and has a warm vibe that brings people together. For my career in general, I’m not sure where it could take me but I feel as though this song does have potential to take me somewhere further on my career path as a musician. It’s just finding the right audience.
What’s been your greatest achievement or performance or song to date? (whichever relates more to you)
There’s definitely been many achievements with my musical journey. Definitely would have to say recording ‘ELADA’ with Tommy Tsonis (dream come true) and not even just that but being signed to a development deal with an independent record label. I never thought I’d be going to a studio at my age and be given the chance to share my music and bring my stories to life.
Do you write all your own music and lyrics? Tell us about that process.
Yes, I write all the lyrics and the basic music progression such as piano chords. (I play piano by the way) so I write my songs that way, just the very basic structure of what I want the song to be like, then I work with Steve Lindsay (owner of Oceanic Records and Old Binda Road recording studio) where he helps me record/mix/ add instruments where necessary and perfect the song.
How did it come about having your song played on a radio station in Crete?
I had the help of my cousin who lives in Chania, Crete. He was giving me different names of radio stations, to which then I would message on social media basically saying I’ve recently recorded and song called ‘ELADA’ and it’s about Greece, etc. Was very lucky enough for the radio presenter to reply and say that he liked the song and will feature it on his radio station show!
You mentioned visiting Greece and staying in Crete with family, when and what did that experience leave you feeling with/ how did it impact you?
I have, I’ve only been once when I was only 8 years old at the time. Even though I was so young, I still remember going as if it was yesterday; the beautiful beaches, atmosphere, the food, the friendly people, it was honestly something special. I remember being with my grandmother (who’s no longer with us) she adored me and I remember just cherishing every single second with her whilst I was there. The same with my other family members (aunties/uncles/cousins) even though I don’t see them I can feel their love from the other side of the world. Even though I only experienced Greece once, the impact was unreal.
Lastly, what’s your ultimate goal/dream/bigger picture for Mariah K?
The ultimate goal is to share my music with the world and share my story, love and passion for music. Every song I write has a message, a purpose and I want others to be able to relate to them as well in their own ways. Hopefully one day even be able to perform my songs in concert around the world, connecting with fans and listening to them sing my songs in the crowd. That would be a dream come true!
Listen to ELADA here-
ELADA is available on all music platforms - Apple music, iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.