Artist Name: Athina
Song Title: Stay
Release Date: September 2018
Athina – Stay
Brief us on how to impress fans during a live performance.
I think going into your own space and not being afraid to lose control over the situation is something that I value a lot. And it is something that is essential for me when I perform. I often go off stage and perform among the audience, making eye contact for just a second. That can be very intense but in the same way beautiful, sharing the moment with the audience.
List the names of your biggest supporters.
My biggest supporters would definitely be my mom. She’s always told me that I would make a fantastic musician or an actor. Even back when I wanted to become a psychologist she just knew and that I am very grateful for. But I also have a lot of fellow female musician supporters. I am the creator of a Danish festival called Fem Eye that seeks equal gender representation in the music industry. And through that, I have a strong network of women supporting women which means a lot to me.
Explain what has motivated you so far in your music career.
There’s nothing like pain really. When I am in pain emotionally or physically the only thing I can do is to write songs. And I am a strong believer in happiness and being able to live my life in such a way that makes me feel happy and fulfilled. And that is what music brings into my life. It’s not that life can’t be hard on you, but I just don’t know how to fake it really. And therefore my job and way of living must be a place where there is room for that. So that’s my biggest motivation to be able to express myself honestly in what I do.
Discuss your experience as an artist.
It’s hard man! It’s fun man! It’s all worth it man! It’s funny because I didn’t use to see myself as an artist at all, but now I finally realized that that’s exactly what I am. My way of looking at things and exploring the darks things and dark sides. Not that you cannot do that if you’re not an artist. But I get high on creating stuff. For example, if I am crying with mascara on and it’s running down my cheeks I can almost go outside of myself and my body and observe how beautiful the movement of my mascara and tears is. And if something is extraordinarily beautiful or meaningful I would film it or take pictures of it and use it in a music video or something else. So I guess I sometimes feel a bit weird and in my own head/world a lot. But I don’t mind that at all. That’s who I am and I am grateful to be doing what I love the most.
Tell us the biggest mistake you have ever made in your music career.
My biggest mistake I’ve ever done is saying no to things. I have said no to a lot of things believing that I wasn’t good enough and that people wouldn’t find what I did interesting. So not believing in myself and therefore also having people make important decisions for me has probably been my biggest mistake. But you learn from all of it, so I don’t regret a single thing.
Discuss the story behind the song.
“Stay” was written over a couple of months and is about trust and the ability to trust the unknown future. I was going through a rough period at that time and something needed to happen for me to feel better again and there was a story in me that needed to end or at least change for me to finish the song. I needed to let go of old patterns in me and trust that in time I would find the feeling of being myself again. And that is exactly what “Stay” is all about. The video was produced with the same mantra. I went to Athens with nothing but an old camera and an iPhone. While exploring my roots in the old part of Athens and the Aegean Sea; I and a friend filmed it and that became the music video for “Stay”. The process of doing the video became a mirror of exactly what the song is all about without me knowing it. Letting go of all control and trusting that something beautiful and meaningful would come out of the shooting we did. And I think we succeeded with that.
Tell us how to fund a music project.
Use what you have and what you are good at. Exchange services. For example, I have been a background singer for some years for other singers and didn’t get paid. In that way when I needed backing vocals I would always have someone doing the same for me. That is really the way that I have been doing all of my work. Exchanging favors.
Discuss your opinion on the safety of fans during shows and live performances.
I mean safety is an important thing at shows. In Denmark, we had a huge accident at the Roskilde festival during a Pearl Jam concert where 9 people got killed. And also I don’t like big crowds where I cannot get away from … So I’m definitely a bit on the safe side when it comes to that.
Tell us the greatest piece of advice someone has given you as an artist.
Follow your intuition and your gut. That way you will never end up in a situation that wasn’t meant for you. People will tell you a lot of things and have a lot to comment on your music, but only listen to the ones that resonate with you in some way.
Tell us what you will improve or change in your music.
Hmm… Earlier on I was writing my song to a beat. Doing the toplines and writing the music. But now I write a song on my piano alone. And I find that to be a more honest and direct way to create and compose. I will be continuing with that and improve my piano skills.
Discuss vocal training and how you protect your vocal.
I didn’t really have vocals training like a lot of other singers. I taught myself how to sing since I was a little girl. But the way I take good care of my voice is to be good to myself. I don’t smoke nor drink and when I am in noisy crowds I don’t talk too much because we have a tendency to use our voice wrongly when we need to raise it a lot. And also I do Pilates every day which helps with the muscles that you use for singing.
Discuss your best mood during a performance.
I feel that when I am in a bad place personally and the performance becomes more real and intense. But my music is also in the melancholic end of the scale, but yeah… The more nervous I am before the better the concert actually.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
ATHINA means Athens in Greek and was also a Greek goddess – The daughter of Zeus. I am half Greek and my Greek family lives in Athens so I see Athens as my second home. I go there very often to write music and to get inspired by the vibe of the city. It’s kind of passionate and chaotic and I really like that. That’s also kinda how I would describe myself I guess. The artistic side of me feels more Greek than Danish and that is why my artist name had to be a Greek one. So, therefore: ATHINA.
List your best artists with reasons.
Nick Cave, is my favorite. He is so dark and so himself. Nobody can write like him, sing like him, perform like him. He is like a cat; you can never truly have him. When you think he is your (when he is performing) he lashes out. It creates suspense that is SO admirable. Because you’re always left with a feeling of wanting more.
The National – The lyrics and Matt’s voice and the compositions of the song and, I mean just everything. The National has inspired a lot and they still do. Every element is just exactly right and it couldn’t have been done any other way.
Moses Sumney I just recently discovered him, but WOW. He is just so talented, his voice and his lyrics. I really felt wow that is exactly how I would have said it or done it. And all of his artwork too – I am a big fan of his music and entire image.
Discuss your existence as an artist.
That’s a hard one… I really work towards my own existence I feel. Or that is what keeps me going, that I am very stubborn in wanting to have a place to belong. To be able to live off what I do and love. Because there is nothing else that I can do and be happy with.
Tell us the greatest problem you think is facing society and the solution.
To be afraid of the unknown, that is really what I think is the greatest problem. Being afraid of people that live differently from the way we live. Or being afraid of people that look different or even being afraid of new things and change. I mean a lot of the climate problem could be solved if we were willing to look and think in a different way and change our everyday habits. So being open towards change and knowing that that is how life is, we evolve, nothing to do about it other than embrace it and let it be for the greater good.
Discuss your songwriting and recording.
In my songwriting, I examine myself in some ways. I have a constant need for independence in my life. But I still can’t survive without depending on others. And I think that I am trying to get the two sides of me to meet in my songs. The music is my way of doing that I guess. Imagine sitting in a bus looking out the window with music in your ears. Suddenly people on the streets seem to be either moving with the beat or doing other things.
Music is my way of putting the things that I experience into perspective. So what you hear is what I see in myself and around me merge together.