Here at I’m Music Magazine, we like to shine the spotlight on new,up and coming artists who are unsigned and out there battling in the musical trenches to make their dreams a reality. We’d like to shine that spotlight on a young Greek born, UK based singer by the name of Hellena. She’s a beautiful young lady with a head strong, determined attitude and a powerful set of pipes that will surprise some people. She released her self-titled debut EP in 2010 and then took a leap of faith and moved to the UK to further her career in music. Since then, she’s released two successful singles and found her fan base of devoted fans, nicknamed “Hellraisers”, expanded around the world. She is in the process of finishing up her new album and we think she’s an artists on the rise to keep your eyes an dears on. We sat down with Hellena recently and did a brief Q&A session with her to find out more about her background, where she came from, where she’s going and just how she got to be so damn awesome. So, check out our talk and remember where you read about her first when she’s up there accepting her Grammy Award one day in the not too distant future.
What was it about music that you connected with and knew this was what you wanted to do?
Héllena: Music is like magic to me; many artists go through a huge internal transformation on stage. Music can heal you, it can transcend you on another level and I think that did the trick for me. I felt a euphoria that I had never felt before while listening to music; it felt like a dream. I told myself that I would love to be doing that! The decision wasn’t a conscious one back then though. It took years to realize that this is exactly what I want to do in life.
Who are some of the artists who have influenced you along your journey?
Well, Amy Winehouse, Lacuna Coil, Etta James, Beethoven, but honestly there are so many. I’ve been listening to so many different kinds of music and many bands and artists have shaped my style of music.
Do you have any other family members who are musicians?
Yes, my grandfather was a good musician although he never made it his profession and my great grandfather was a musician too.
I read that you packed up your bags and moved to the UK in 2011 to pursue music. Was that a scary thing for you to do?
I know how it sounds; changing countries sounds scary, but it really wasn’t. I always wanted to go abroad for some reason, so I did it when the opportunity came to me. It became a scary thought when I started looking for a job about two weeks after I arrived in London without really speaking English well. Yeah, for few months I was feeling kind of lost but it was alright because you come out of it stronger, you know.
You’ve actually been over here to the US before and played at SXSW in Austin Texas in 2013. How did that happen and what was that like for you?
Stereo Mike, who is a famous rapper in Greece, was invited to play and I went with him because he needed me to do vocals on his songs. Mike is also my producer and the bass player in my band by the way. It was an amazing experience. I stayed there for a week and it was surreal; I loved it!
You put out your self-titled EP in 2010 and you’re currently working on a new album called ‘Body and Soul.’ I know you’ve released one single from it called “Dream Big” and are working on another one called “A Little Too Late.” Can you give us an update on how that’s coming along?
“A Little Too Late” is almost ready, but I haven’t set a release date for it yet. People who support me on Patreon have already listened to the song and the feedback has been overwhelming; I cannot wait to release it very soon!!
Can you tell us a little bit more about your Patreon page? I’m familiar with Kickstarter, Indiego and Pledgemusic, but I don’t know much about this one.
Patreon is like Kickstarter and the rest you mentioned, but it’s ongoing. It’s an amazing way for people to support you for what you do and they can start with pledging just $1. Also, they get beautiful rewards in return and, I have to admit, it’s the best thing that’s happened to me. I love my Patrons and they make me a better artist everyday because I have to create something new with value every month and I thank them for giving me this opportunity. Here is the link by the way: www.patreon.com/hellena
What would you say has been the toughest part of your journey so far?
I’d say that trying to make a living from music has been most challenging, but I am getting there and I’m sure I will make that my reality very soon.
Do you have a specific dream duet or collaboration that you would love to see happen?
I would love to collaborate with Amy Winehouse if she was still alive; I’m in awe of her voice and talent. Also, collaborating with Lacuna Coil would be a dream come true since they’re my favorite band.
Other than music, do you have any other passions in life such as sports or movies?
Who doesn’t like going to the movies? I like gymnastics, pole dancing and swimming, but I never to seem to have time for sports. I really need to start going to the gym very soon now that you have reminded me (laughs). I also like reading and I started doing a new thing lately. I was always sleeping while a movie was on my computer and now I turn the computer off and I’m trying to read a bit before sleeping. I’m trying hard to make this a new good habit of mine, so wish me luck!
If I was standing in a music store and I had your CD in one hand and another band’s CD in my other hand, how would you convince me to buy yours? What would you tell me about yourself that would make me choose yours?
Good question! To be honest my “sales” pitch isn’t really strong. I would just be myself and I would tell you what the music is about and stories behind it if you wanted to know. I would also probably ask you to buy both albums (laughs)!
What’s coming up for Hellena? What are your upcoming plans?
I start gigging again with my band really soon and the shows are going to be quite regular from September onwards and I can’t wait! I also want to release more new music very soon and book a tour. Last, but not least, I hope to find the right manager for me which is one of the hardest things but needs to be done. Growing my community on Patreon is also in my plans since making a living only through making art is essential in order to be an artist 24/7.
Photos are courtesy of Tim Ward.
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