Tina Trakou is a Greek singer who has performed a variety of songs as well as participated in a number of television series and theatrical performances.
The singer has also founded GIVE LIFE (Greek: ΒΗΜΑ ΖΩΗΣ) - a foundation that supports children with disabilities - and through her art, singing and music helps fellow humans not only financially but also psychologically.
The foundation, with its own continuous effort and resources, organises thematic concerts, which it produces to support children and their families through redemptive contact with music and the audience.
What are some of your childhood memories?
Childhood memories are what follow us and define us as people and personalities in part. So, my childhood was filled with a lot of love and family support, with many people around me and many family gatherings, mainly on holidays but also full of music. I think I was born to create music, to deal with notes... I remember the first years at the Attica Conservatory, the joy and anticipation for the time of the lesson, my fingers looking to touch the keys of the accordion, which was a little older than me but that was the beautiful thing. An effort made for what you love.
What fascinated you about music and inspired you to start singing? Is singing for you a way of expressing yourself?
Ah!! Music is magic. It is communication, it defines you as a person and makes you special. I knew that I want to express myself through music, that I want to communicate through music, and that I did it better than words. Words often have a roughness, an attack, an expression that does not always correspond to our thoughts and what we want to say. But music makes everything smooth, sculpted and without rough edges. This pushed me to my occupation mainly... Of course, in the second year, I discovered how nice it is to be able to entertain people, take second thoughts and offer them psychotherapy through music. Many times, I whisper melodies that relax, energise and renew me. Singing is the ultimate way of expressing all of our emotions.
What are your feelings while you are singing?
Depends on the moment. The place where I sing, the emotional state of mind and how I feel charged. But I play a role while I'm singing. I am the heroine of what I interpret, someone else who thinks with the words of the lyricist and feels with the notes of the composer. I'm happy, I'm in pain. I feel rejection, acceptance, I am the object of desire or detached to love. It's a kind of little theatre every moment I sing.
What are the collaborations you remember most vividly?
I have lived many beautiful moments at different music halls with different artists. My collaboration with Mando, a person who always had a good word to say and a reason to support me, was a beautiful experience.
How did you meet your husband Dionysis Panagopoulos?
Now the spicy part begins. We were united by fate and a policeman who took my license plates. As a genuine Greek woman, I looked for someone to help me get them back because I was working outside Athens. My Dionysis was in the key position. I begged a little, promised that I would be careful where I parked, he believed me and fell in love with me. And everything came smoothly in my life, a dream I would say but nothing is offered in life, even love wants you to be ready to enjoy its greatness. And I was at the right time to dedicate my whole life to a man who became a friend, lover, partner, husband and the biggest hit of my life.
Your support for our fellow human beings and people with disabilities is well known. What are the actions of your foundation GIVE LIFE?
The foundation is that part that makes me always remember that we should be thankful to God mainly for the health we have. The foundation counts six years of establishment, in which we have gone through rough times. From the change of its name to the people who managed it, because as you understand such foundations hide traps for the cunning. At the moment it is in its purest and most serious form, having in its potential people who do not need to receive but need to offer both materially and emotionally. We now support 120 families with disabled children and with cancer, organising events to raise money to help with the course of treatments, the remuneration of doctors, the acquisition of transportation and the daily needs that arise in people with health problems (physical and mental). Our goal is to become an active core for social support actions for children, their families and social roles that directly affect everyday life (e.g. teachers). Children with disabilities have the right to socialise like all of us. We must collectively strengthen their abilities, support them, but in no way pity them. Our belief is that we should treat them as equal members of our society and not neglect and marginalise them.
The integration, access, rights, socialisation and support of children with disabilities is the basis for thinking differently, to make a step into life.
At the same time, my personal album was released, a song titled “Don't Be Sorry” of lyrics and composition by Nikos Papadopoulos, the video was visualised by my friend and excellent director Tassos Alatzas with the participation of children with disabilities in order to strengthen their abilities to be active members of society, so they can work and demonstrate talents and express themselves.
Have you realized your dreams? What are your future plans?
Dreams never stop, especially for a person who claims to be an artist. I am happy because I have accomplished a lot, full of beautiful things, plans that have been implemented and are evolving along the way until today. I go after and cherish beautiful collaborations, follow my heart and create songs that reach the listeners, certainly not through the established tactics of the big radios, but through my live performances that start shortly after Easter along with a 6-member orchestra and nice fellow singers in a course of beautiful songs, set-up performances and tributes to composers we love to sing their songs. We will tour all over Greece, but mainly based in Athens. Part of ticket sales will financially support the foundation and the children with disabilities and cancer. Let's not forget that we all are potentially in their shoes.