Kostas Martakis: It All Began At A Very Young Age

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Kostas Martakis, born on May 25, 1984, is a multi-talented Greek artist known for his singing, modelling, television hosting, and acting career. He gained widespread recognition in 2006 after his appearance on the Greek talent show ‘Dream Show’, aired by Alpha TV. Following his success on the show, he signed a contract with Sony BMG Greece and released his first CD-single titled "Panda Mazi" (Always Together). His debut studio album, 'Anatropi' (Reversal), released in June 2007, received positive reviews and earned him the "Best New Artist" award at the MAD Video Music Awards 2007.

Martakis further showcased his talents on an international stage, representing Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest national finals in 2008 and 2014. He also participated in the New Wave Festival 2007 in Latvia, where he secured second place and won first place by the public vote.

In addition to his music career, Martakis ventured into other entertainment fields. He competed in the second season of ‘Greece's Dancing with the Stars’ in 2011, finishing as the runner-up. He also engaged in modelling work, played basketball in the Greek professional leagues, and even majored in computer technologies at the American College of Greece.

Throughout his career, Martakis has released several singles and albums, collaborated with other artists, and expanded his fan base both in Greece and internationally. His diverse talents and charismatic presence continue to captivate audiences, making him a prominent figure in the Greek entertainment industry.

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When was the first time you felt the need to express yourself through music?

It all began at a very young age when my mother caught me singing "secretly" at home. Even then, my musical inclination leaned towards rock, influenced by my mother and the music I had been exposed to. The first song she heard me sing was in Greek! This led to me receiving my first karaoke machine at home and I started performing and singing in front of people. So, what can I say? 'Near dawn, a passion suddenly began'! (‘Xymeromata’ song, 'Dawn' in English).

How did your music career start after participating in the talent show 'Dream Show' in 2006?

I believe it would be appropriate to provide a comprehensive overview of my entire journey before, during, and after the show. Prior to my participation in the 'Dream Show,' I had attended the Fame Studio, where my teachers encouraged me to apply for ‘Fame Story’ talent show. I went through several auditions, but unfortunately, I was eliminated just before entering the competition! I cannot fully express the disappointment I felt in words. It was a difficult moment.

At that point, I decided that perhaps it wasn't meant to be and considered moving on from that chapter of my life. However, one day my friend Kostas called me and informed me that he had registered for the ‘Dream Show’ audition but couldn't make it. He suggested that I take his place and give it a try. Armed with only his name as information, I decided to audition, and to my surprise, a few hours later, I received the news that I was selected to be part of the show. They welcomed me with great enthusiasm!

During the show, I had the honour of receiving praise from people who were previously unknown to me. One of the most memorable moments, which continues to resonate with me to this day, was when Natalia Germanou, whom I deeply admire, described me as an audiovisual spectacle. As the competition progressed, I faced various challenges and eventually had to leave. However, during a TV break, Ilias Psinakis proposed that he take over my management, and I gladly accepted! That's how it all began.

I cannot say if everything felt like a dream or if it all came easily, but one thing is for sure: fate seemed to be on my side, and perhaps it desired this path for me even more than I did!

Tell us a few words about your first album "Always Together" (Panta Mazi). What were your influences and how was the audience's response?

In my debut album 'Always Together' (Panta Mazi), I embarked on a musical journey influenced by various factors. As a young and inexperienced artist, I found myself confronted with new rules and approaches in the world of music. It was a significant transition for me. Suddenly, I had a record contract, managers, and a team of esteemed professionals from the Greek music industry whom I deeply respect and appreciate even to this day. Giannis Doxas, Dimitris Germenitis, Dimitris Kontopoulos, Giannis Christodoulopoulos, Eleana Vrahali, and Kostantis Spyropoulos joined me in creating the entire creative aspect of my first album, despite my initial fear and inexperience.

The album featured my first four songs: 'I Urgently Want a Holiday' (Thelo Epigontos Diakopes), 'So Applaud Her' (Gia Ayto Hirokrotiste Tin), 'Always Together' (Panta Mazi), and 'Yes' (Ne). Each song had its own style, some leaning towards pop while others embraced a more folkloric sound. However, they all shared a common thread that resonated with people, and their support and love for these songs continue to this day. Ultimately, it is the audience's response and connection that truly matters in our line of work.

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How did you feel when you released your first full-length album "Reversal" (Anatropi) in June 2007?

'Reversal' (Anatropi) was a culmination of emotions, sounds, and a manifestation of my personal desires. With this album, I was able to fulfil many of my dreams. Collaborating with influential figures in the music industry, whom I now consider my friends, allowed us to pave a new path for my pop persona at that time. We presented folkloric narratives in a way that resonated with people's preferences. It may have required some compromise on my part, as I embraced the most popular music of the time, but it was a compromise that I appreciated.

Can you discuss the evolution of your music over the years?

Like all artists, my music has evolved alongside my experiences and emotions during different periods of my life. I have explored and embraced various genres, including pop songs, light folk songs, ballads, and more. Each genre I have delved into represents a profound urge within me to express a truth that emanates from my core. Over the years, I believe I have successfully evolved as an artist, channeling the emotions of my heart and expressing them with immense love through my music, which remains my greatest passion.

What do you feel when you achieve another goal? Satisfaction or anticipation for the next one?

One of the mistakes I still make in my life is that I never have only one goal (laughs). So, when I achieve one, I still have many more to accomplish, either to feel satisfaction or a sense of purpose. I always strive for the best, even during dark times in my life or in the art I serve.

What was your most memorable moment during a collaboration with another singer? Do you think collaborations with other singers affect your creative process?

The greatest privilege we humans have is that we are social beings, so cooperation is part of our nature. Therefore, I enjoy and learn from all my collaborations! I learn what is right or wrong, what is good or bad, and I set my boundaries to ensure that I stay true to myself. Once everything is balanced, creation becomes inevitable.

Tell us about the album "Borders" (Senora) released in 2016 and the audience’s reaction.

"Borders" was a real challenge for me and Kyriakos Papadopoulos, who composed all the songs on the album! We attempted, and I'd like to believe that we succeeded, in bringing together the West and the East. Until then, my music had been more influenced by Italian styles, while Kyriakos had, and still has, a more seductive and oriental approach. Together, we created some of the most significant songs of my career, such as "Always You Will Live" and "I Will Leave," with lyrics by Natalia Germanou.

"So, loneliness hurts doubly when you experience it with someone." So, anyone who hasn't experienced this hasn't truly loved, and I was going through all of this at that time!

How was your experience participating in the album "Christmas Magic" in 2021 with top Greek actors and singers?

Since 2021, we were in a strange phase, just like the whole world. We were sitting idly at home when the proposal came from a colleague. Initially, I hesitated to accept it right away! I didn't know if I should leave my home and go to the studio, but on the other hand, I thought, "Why not?" After much contemplation, I went to the studio, and instead of recording just one song, we recorded two. If I'm not mistaken, the songs or the entire album were nominated for a Grammy in the category of foreign language religious songs!

How did you feel when you were listed as one of the sexiest men in the world by E! Entertainment in 2008?

To be honest, I don't quite recall how I felt or much about it! It was a whirlwind period for me at that time! The only vivid memory I have is how 'classic' it all appears when I look back at the videos on MAD TV. Every time I watch them, I find myself reproaching and judging my past self because I was timid and scared!

What is your next musical challenge, and what can we expect from you in the future?

Living in the present, I cannot make any promises about the future (laughs). However, I am currently working on exciting projects with my new label Minos EMI / Universal. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy everything we are preparing as much as the team and I do! I would like to express my gratitude to three unwavering supporters: Margarita Matsa, Kiki Tsolka, and Nektarios Kokkinos! Furthermore, you can expect a variety of exciting developments starting from September onward!

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Photo Credits: Trifonas Nakis

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