Athena Andreadis is a melting pot of sorts. Born in London, raised in Thessaloniki and currently living in Los Angeles, the critically-acclaimed musician calls her homeland a “magical” place.
Andreadis’ first album debuted 10 years ago and has since lead to a robust music career.
From albums produced in the UK, US and Greece, to collaborations with fellow acclaimed artists and an invitation to join the voting assembly for the Grammys, Andreadis said her success comes from years of dedicated hard work and trusting her instincts. Ready For The Sun, released early last year, has drawn positive feedback as her first US record.
Although fans of her music appear worldwide, Andreadis said she remembers her childhood in Greece with particular fondness.
“Growing up in Greece was wonderful and very inspiring,” Andreadis said. “I could see Mount Olympus from my window.”
The musician said she draws much inspiration from her homeland and its “magical” quality.
“There’s something really magical I feel about that land,” Andreadis said. “You know the sunshine, the islands, the food… a lot of poets and writers have written about the lights of Greece and how clearly you can see there and the energy.”
For centuries, Greece has been at the heart of innovation and art. That art may come in many forms, whether they are in philosophy, architecture, or music. Andreadis said she is inspired by poetry and beauty in nature. She said that the Greek heritage is one that has not only had a huge influence on her but on modern day society.
“It’s worth checking out our heritage because it’s a huge influence,” Andreadis said. “What I embraced and realized, especially after I left, is our poets and our writers. It’s our culture. So to go and read these people, some of the greats, is really important and I try as much as I can to go back.”
Her music has referenced ancient Greek mythology and elements of the land. Greek instruments and rhythms also appear in different songs and albums.
“You can probably hear the Greek influence but it’s subtle because I’ve spent half my life abroad and half my life in Greece,” she said. “I am a combination of both cultures and that comes through in music.”
Andreadis said that her cultural diversity comes from years spent in both the UK and Greece. This mixture of countries, cultures and languages has created some unique musical productions.
“There was an interesting moment creatively when I tried to combine my Greek and English roots in a very direct way in a song called ‘Inside Out’ in my very first record Breathe With Me. I used a zeibekiko rhythm against an English melody and track,” Andreadis said. “That was very funny because my band was from the UK and my producer was Greek and I kind of brought the two together to see what would happen if worlds collided.”
Earlier in Andreadis’ career she was approached by a British TV company to produce a documentary film about her life and career. After following her tour and career, she made sure the feature, “Athena: My Music”, included her time in Greece.
“I said, well if you want to make a documentary about me you have to come to Greece where it started,” she said.
However, Andreadis added that the Greece she experienced while growing up has since changed.
“There was kind of an innocence (in Greece)] when I was growing up. There wasn’t much crime. It was a very different time,” she said. “It’s still a beautiful place. I love going there and recharging. There’s nothing like the Greek islands (and) the Greek seas. I have to go back every summer.”
Although her passion in music started as early as five years old, Andreadis said her parents encouraged her to pursue a more stable career in college. However, after getting a business degree, she decided to finally follow her dreams and pursue a music career.
“Sometimes we get confused (on) what is our authentic voice and what is what we’re supposed to do and we’ll often buy into things that we’re supposed to do and it might not be the (right) thing for us,” Andreadis said. “We are all such amazing beings with a unique gift.”
While her parents may not have initially supported her venture into the music world, Andreadis said that after seeing her ambition and commitment they became huge supporters.
“For many years I didn’t have the emotional support, the financial support from my family, but eventually when they saw I was really serious about it… they really embraced it,” she said.
Andreadis said that what is most important in pursuing your passion is finding your authentic voice and pursuing your trade with persistence and hard work.
“I can speak firsthand for having followed my dream, it’s not an easy path. You have to be very determined, very dedicated, very clear why you’re doing it,” Andreadis said. “I really believe that we can achieve or fulfill our life’s purpose if we really want it… we all have something very precious to offer this world.”
Listen to Athena Andreadis
Video from Greek album: bit.ly/AthenaAndreadis
Link to Athena Andreadis website: athenaandreadis.com
Stream/buy Athena Andreadis music: radi.al/athenaandreadis
SPOTLIGHT PHOTO (top): Athena Andreadis at Joshua Tree in the desert of California, where she attended a meditation retreat and decided to move from London to LA.
Email the author: Elizabeth Tzagournis