The Story Of Marina Satti, Greece's Representative To Eurovision

Marina Satti

Who is the girl with roots in Sudan who preferred to go unnoticed as a child and wanted to be a flight attendant but became the most exciting representative of Greece in Eurovision in a long time?

Since its premiere on March 7, "Zari", the song by Marina Satti that will represent Greece in this year's 68th Eurovision Song Contest (May 7, 9 & 11 in Malmö, Sweden), has achieved over 3 million views on YouTube. However, the undeniable virality, which has already placed our country's participation in the top ten by betting company predictions, is probably not something that surprises or fascinates Marina Satti. Not because she is an esthete, over the top, snob or overconfident, but because, according to how she has chosen to interpret things in her life and art, an artist's success and worth are not measured by the number of likes and views.

However, since "Zari" was introduced to the public, the 37-year-old performer managed to provoke extremely derogatory and correspondingly fiery reviews.

Just last week, Mavrikios Mavrikiou called the track "confused, chaotic, thrash and kitsch".

Satti, who is not used to seeing herself on covers, pop-ups, and trending topics on social media platforms, knew what she was getting into. She had previously been offered to represent Greece in the competition but felt that this year was the right time.

Marina Satti

"Zari" is not one of the approximately 200 songs submitted to ERT this year to be sung by Satti. However, it comprises many of them since she and her collaborators extracted elements from various pieces to create the "Zari."

On the evening of May 11, we will know whether the European public will perceive it as an innovative amalgam or judge it as a confused jumble.

Satti herself believes that "Zari" fulfils to a significant extent the intention she had in mind. That is, how she envisioned representing Greece in the biggest and most popular live music show in the world - Eurovision.

The lonely child

Anyone who has read or watched Marina Satti's interviews would notice that, apart from everything else, the song also famously reflects her worldview.

It is not just the fact that she is a mix of cultures (her doctor father is Sudanese and her mother is Greek), but her unwavering belief that differences are what ultimately bring people together, acting as a glue between them. She sometimes felt this.

Marina Satti

During her childhood, which she spent in Heraklion, Crete, the now popular singer did not want to stand out from the other children.

She preferred to go unnoticed. That's why she was hurt when she heard her ballet classmates call her "chocolate" because of her dark skin or the times she received derogatory comments because she wore glasses or braces.

However, she insists to this day that she did not hear the harshest comments as a child but as an adult and recognisable singer. Now, though, she doesn't take anything personally.

For Satti, music was child's play—she first started learning it with a harmonium and a tubercle found in her parents' home. After finishing school, she came to Athens to study Architecture.

During her student years, she realised that her organic relationship with music since childhood was not just a parallel alternative path but her path in life.

Marina Satti

But again, she was slow to decide to follow the path. She acted in plays and musicals—some remember her in the revival of Nikos Karvelas' "Demones"—and transitioned from television to the series "Steps" on ANT1. She came very close to identifying herself as an actress until he reconsidered and changed course.

During a break from her professional obligations, she thought that perhaps the ideal career path for her would be to become a flight attendant, satisfying her innate curiosity, her need to know people and cultures - she still remembers the summers she spent in Sudan -, but also her tendency to explore that she had from a young age.

In 2016, she had even done her paperwork and was about to enter a flight attendant training period when a cover of the traditional song "Tha spaso koupes" (I Will Break Cups) was released on the Internet.

The appeal and success forced her to postpone - probably forever - her then plan for a life at 35,000 feet in the sky.

"Suddenly, I was asked to do concerts and present other projects with the polyphonic group I had at the time, so music started to enter my mind on a professional level. I remember they said to me, 'You're a singer...' and I answered: 'Am I really a singer?'"

Music studies

Yes, Satti insisted on questioning herself in her first professional steps in music. Even though she had spent three years in 2009 at the great Berklee College of Music School with a scholarship, it was a significant experience since she mingled with musicians worldwide, was fascinated by the traditions and roots of different places, and formed her own artistic identity there.

Returning to Greece, she was determined to immerse herself in the Greek tradition without guilt, proposing her musical hybrid, which crystallised famously in "Mantissa."

It is possible that with this particular song - in her own music and lyrics by Michalis Kouinelis - her name became known, but instead of cashing in on her success in chatty interviews and smug photoshoots, she chose to return to her shell.

And to address a question to herself, which she insists on asking him often densely, it is not always easy to answer, "What do I have to say?".

As she said, there was also a practical issue since she had yet to write any other songs to be released.

Marina Satti

So she devoted herself to creating and rehearsing the 150-piece all-female ensemble Chores, focusing on gigs abroad—she's performed from the US to Russia and France to New Zealand—and searching for the next musician—her project.

For the album "Yenna", her first personal album, which was released in 2022, Satti worked for two and a half years. She was not exclusively locked in a studio; she listened to traditional music, travelled around Greece, and observed and participated in festivals.

Honesty and work

The time and effort the performer and creator put in—birth without pain, as she notes, does not exist—were repaid in the best way. Through her debut album, Satti achieved something her colleagues had been striving for for years. It acquired its own very distinct and undeniably interesting identity.

Two years later, Marina Satti is going to Eurovision - once the statement alone would have seemed like an oxymoron, today she embodies the most interesting Greek entry in years.

READ MORE: Silia Kapsis – Liar | Cyprus | Official Music Video.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024