Gigolo (Elena Paparizou song)

Elena Paparizou

Elena Paparizou (Έλενα Παπαρίζου; born January 31, 1982) is a Greek singer, born and raised in Sweden. She is best known for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 for Greece with the song "My Number One".


Early life

Elena Paparizou was born on January 31, 1982 in Borås, Västergötland, Sweden, to Greek immigrant parents Georgios and Efrosini Paparizou and was raised in Örgryte, Gothenburg. Her father is from Volos and mother is from Karditsa. She has a sister Rita and brother Dinos. As a child, she did not hang out with many Swedish kids. As a kid, she also reportorially had a breathing problem which she still suffers from today. Paparizou told Greek magazine, NITRO, that she remembers being rushed to the hospital and felt like she had left her body at least 2 times when she was younger. Still today, she says she sometimes loses her breath while on stage and carries an inhaler.

Paparizou's artistic talents and eagerness to excel became apparent very early, and she was soon involved in singing, dancing and acting-training in combination with her academic studies at school. At age 7, she started learning Piano, ballet, and traditional dances. By age 13, Elena realized she wanted to be a singer, and decided to prepare for it. Her first experiences were with Greek music at her Greek School. At the age of 14, Elena started her first band called "Soul Funkomatic" along with 3 Latin American kids. The group only played hip-hop music, and saved up money to record songs. Two years later by age 16, the band broke up and Elena was offered various proposals, but her mother said she was too young to leave home. In 1998, 13 of her close friends died in a fire at a hip-hop party at a nightclub in Gothenburg that she had begged her mother to go to but was denied. After losing her friends, Paparizou decided to abandon singing, and she started classes at the Art Performing School where she studied theater, acting, television, and directing. In 1999, some DJ friends of her brother asked her to make a demo of "Opa Opa". Elena told them that the lyrics are for a man, so she asked to sing it with childhood friend Nikos Panagiotidis.



Paparizou, determined to succeed and fulfill her dreams of being an entertainer, joined childhood friend and fellow Greek-Swede Nikos Panagiotidis, at the age of seventeen, to form Antique. The duo quickly signed their first record deal, with Swedish record label Bonnier. Their debut single, "Opa Opa", became a huge hit, reaching number one on the single charts and achieving gold status following its release in August 1999. The band's subsequent fame and success, strongly associated with the international promotion of Greek culture, led to them being selected as Greece's representatives for the Eurovision Song Contest 2001 in Copenhagen. The band reached third place with the song, "(I Would) Die for You". Although equalled by Sakis Rouvas' entry "Shake It" in 2004, it was Greece's highest place in the contest until Elena won the contest as a solo artist in 2005.

Antique's success in the Eurovision Song Contest led to them recording several multi-platinum albums, playing a European tour, and collaborating with many other artists, such as Katy Garbi and Slavi Trifonov. Paparizou has admitted that Greek music had been something of an acquired taste for her, saying that the name 'Antique' was probably a reflection of her childhood impression of it being something rather distant and old-fashioned; something that she only really associated with her summer holidays in Greece. Following her success with Antique, Elena decided to pursue a solo career.

Solo career

2003-2004: Protereotita

Despite the group's success, Antique broke up in 2003 on good terms as the band had run its natural course, and Paparizou set about going solo. She signed a solo recording contract with Sony Music Greece and released her first solo single "Anapantites Klisis", a song written especially for her by singer/songwriter Christos Dantis. The three song CD single also featured "Brosta Ston Kathrefti" and "Treli Kardia. Sales were strong and it received gold certification in Greece. It was later re-recorded in English as "I Don't Want You Here Anymore".

During the winter of 2003-2004, Paparizou appeared alongside one of Greece's biggest male singers, Antonis Remos, at the Studio Pireos nightclub. In spring 2004, she released her first solo record, Protereotita from which "Antithesis", "Anamnisis", "Katse Kala", and "Stin Kardia Mou Mono Thlipsi" became hit singles. The album achieved double platinum in Greece after the huge success in Eurovision Song Contest.

Her success brought her to the Fever nightclub for the winter season 2004-2005 alongside Sakis Rouvas.

2005: Eurovision

Because of her popularity in Greece, where she ended up spending more and more time, Paparizou was approached to represent the country for a second time in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. She performed My Number One, Let's Get Wild, and OK on the Greek national final, with My Number One winning the televote. There was also a song called The Light in Our Soul, but it was later disqualified due to it being released prior to the contest, thus breaking the rules. The song went onto win the final contest (with backing vocals provided by Cypriot former Eurovision-participant Alex Panayi), and brought the contest to Greece for 2006 for the first time in the contest's history.

Paparizou re-released her first album Protereotita in Greece, with a second CD containing her Eurovision entrants, and English versions to previous songs, such as I Don't Want You Here Anymore, Antithesis, OK, and If You Believe Me as well as a ballad version of (Ehis Kero na Mou Feris) Louloudia. The 10 track CD was also available separately for those who already owned her debut album. A 16-track compilation of the Eurovision entrants and songs from her debut album was released in many parts of Europe such as Scandinavia, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Slovenia, the Netherlands and Turkey under the title, My Number One.

In the summer and fall of 2005, Paparizou toured in Australia and North America with Greek artist Nikos Kourkoulis, selling out many venues. She was also named the official ambassador of the Greek Ministry of Tourism, and My Number One was used as backing music to their international television advert.

In the fall of 2005, Elena went to studios and recorded a new CD single called Mambo!. The single included Mambo as a Greek and English version, Panta Se Perimena, and Asteria. The CD single stayed on the Greek charts at number 1 for 10 weeks, including Christmas week, and reached platinum status. The track was also released in Sweden in April 2006 and became gold selling more than 25,000 copies, following a succession of hit singles there taken from the album, My Number One. Paparizou's debut album was re-issued for a third time in Greece to contain a third CD (in addition to the actual album and the Eurovision disc), containing both English and Greek versions of "Mambo!" and three other new Greek songs.

2006: Iparhi Logos & The Game of Love

At the end of 2005, Paparizou went back to studio to work on her second Greek language album and her first official English language album. The album has been released in Greece, Cyprus, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Sweden and Turkey.

Paparizou's second album in Greek, Iparhi Logos, was released in Greece on April 12, 2006. Prior to the release, Paparizou sang the title track at the Arion Music Awards. The album consists of two discs, the first featuring 12 brand new tracks, including Mambo! and Panta Se Perimena and the second featuring four new tracks, nine live tracks from her Mad Secret Concert, and a remix of the title track. The video for that single, Iparhi Logos, aired on the day the album was released. Gigolo was later released as the third single from the album, and fared well on Greek radios. The album Iparhi Logos went to #1 and reached platinum status in Greece.

On May 20, 2006, Elena graced the stage of Eurovision once more, to open the contest with My Number One as the opening act. She later sang Mambo!, and then presented the award to the winners Lordi. During a press interview there, she said that people should expect to hear a lot of Mambo! and Gigolo in English over the summer, as she tries to pursue her international career. Paparizou has already released Mambo! in Sweden on a two track CD single peaking at number 5 on the charts. Sweden is the first of many countries in which Paparizou will be releasing Mambo!. The other countries in which Elena Paparizou plans to release Mambo! are: Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Turkey, and Spain. Other records companies in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, China, United States, Canada, South Africa, and Australia will also promote the song. The Scandinavian promotion of the song will be from Bonnier Music. To gear up for the worldwide release of Mambo!, Elena has filmed a new video targeted for a more international audience.

Across Europe, Mambo! is starting to be heard and seen; the video has premiered in France and is now showing in Poland and Romania. The song has peaked at number 1 on the RmF radio show for a successful two weeks and also peaked at number 1 on Polish Radio Kolor for many weeks. In Belgium, Mambo! has peaked at number 18. In Sweden, Mambo! has peaked at 5. The single is due to be released in more countries in Europe shortly but no official release date for the single has been confirmed. Mambo! is slowly making its way up the European airplay charts as the song is played in more countries. The promo of Mambo! was released in the UK and was released on 13th November by UK record company AATW (All Around The World). A remix of Mambo! was included on the new (and extremenly successful) Dancemania CD which was released in the United Kingdom on 4th September. However, the single failed to make any impact on the UK Charts, entering for one week at number 185. On the APC All Time 1000 Tracks in Europe, Mambo! came in at 351, having spent a total of 37 weeks on the chart.

On 22 August, My Number One was released in the United States by Moda Records. The CD single contains 10 mixes and the radio edit. Mambo! will be released there later on in the year along with remixes.

Elena's solo debut international album The Game of Love, was released in some parts of Europe and in South Africa in late 2006. The album contains six songs from her Greek album Iparhi Logos translated into English. There are a further 6 new songs, and the song Heroes. Heroes, which was the official song for the 2006 European Championships in Athletics held in Gothenburg, Sweden in August, and was released in Sweden and Finland shortly after. There will be a bonus song in Greek on the CD titled "O, Ti Axizi Einai I Stigmes (Le Bonheur)''. The bonus song is originally by Manou Hadjidaki, and was a big hit in France in 1962.

The song The Game of Love has gained critical success, striking great interest from Greek pop music critic, Benita Ong. Gigolo was the second single to be released from the album after Mambo!. The video for the song premiered in Greece in mixed Greek and English, and there may be a fully English version of the video followed for other markets.

2007: Iparhi Logos: Platinum Edition

On January 21, 2007, Paparizou was awarded with a "European Border Breaker Award" at the MIDEM Festival in Cannes, France. She was one of the ten new artists who received the awards which were created by the European Union in 2003 and are given every year to ten artists who manage to have success with their first album abroad. Paparizou won the award for her success with her first solo album Proteraiotita: Euro-Edition.

In spring 2007, Paparizou recorded three tracks for the soundtrack to the Greek television series Mazi Sou, including the theme song to the series. A video was made for the track "Mazi Sou" which became a hit in Greece, with the track has spent several weeks atop the Greek radio airplay chart. Another radio single, "Min Fevgeis", was released to radios on April 23.

In May 2007, Elena Paparizou re-released her album Iparhi Logos as _Platinum_Edition with the seven track CD Single "Fos" including the hit "Mazi Sou". Paparizou released "Fos" as a separate CD Single four days before the re-packaging. "Fos", went straight to number one in Greece following its release, making it Paparizou's fourth number one hit there.. The CD Single was certified gold in its 12th week charting at number 2.

On June 19 2007, Paparizou attended the Cyprus Music Awards where she was nominated for two awards: "Best Female Singer", and "Album of the Year" with Iparhi Logos, though she did not win either. A few days later, Paparizou attended the 2007 Mad Video Music Awards held on June 25, 2007 where she was nominated for five awards. They included "Best Pop Video" ("Gigolo"), "Best Female Video" ("Gigolo"), "Video of the Year" ("Gigolo"), "Artist of the Year", and "Best outfit in a Video" ("An Eihes Erthi Pio Noris". She won the two awards for the "Best Female Video" and the one for the "Best outfit in a Video". Paparizou participated in the show singing the song "Let the Sunshine In" and later sung her song "Min Fevgeis".

Elena released the song "3 is a magic number" in Sweden as part of a Swedish television advertisement for a mobile phone company. The song was originally a hit from Blind Melon back in 1996. The song immediately entered the charts in Sweden and stayed there for five weeks peaking at number 18.

In Fall 2007, Elena released a new song titled "To Fili Tis Zois" in Greece as the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. The song stayed at number one position on iTunes Greece for many weeks. It also reached number 1 on the official Nielsen Greece Top 20 Chart" for Radio Airplay. The song was a big hit on Greek radios, and became one of the most listened songs of 2007. Elena has also recorded a duet with popular TV presenter Nikos Aliagas for his album "Nikos Aliagas & Friends : Rendez-Vous" released in Greece which was certified gold. The song is called "I Zillia Monaksia" a cover of the Pascal Obispo's hit " L' envie D' Aimer".

In early 2007, Paparizou had singed a contract to be the new face of Nokia Greece. For the promotion, Paparizou released the song "Ola Einai Mousiki" as part of their new advertising campaign for 2008. In January 2008, along with Sony BMG Greece, she teamed up with retailer Plaisio and released a special edition MP4 player called "MP4 Total Helena" (2GB) by Turbo-X. The MP4 player comes with a special "Best of" complication with 12 songs and five music videos only available with the purchase of the MP4 player.

2008: Vrisko To Logo Na Zo

In early 2008, Paparizou started work on her Greek album Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, which was released on June 12 2008. The first single from her album, "Porta Gia Ton Ourano", was released on April 8 2008 to radio stations all over the Greece, while the second single "I Kardia Sou Petra" was released as a radio single on June 2 2008. The album received the gold certification only one week after its release and Paparizou was awarded the gold disc on June 25 2008. On 7 July 2008 the album debuted at No.1 on the Greek Album Chart where it remained for 11 weeks. In July, she started a summer tour in the large cities of Greece to promote the album and in an interview with Santorini FM, Paparizou announced that the tour would be shown on Alpha TV in December 2008. After almost two months, it was announced on 1 September 2008 that the album was certified Platinum, and Elena received the platinum award in a certification party on 16 September 2008. "Pirotehnimata" was also confirmed as the third single from Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, and a video is going to be filmed mid-September. It is believed that the video will be a remix of the original track.

In July, Paparizou also cooperated once again with retailer Plaisio and released a special edition MP4 player called "TH4" MP4 (2.4", 4GB) by Turbo-X. The MP4 player comes with Elena's new album, 2 bonus video clips and 1 backstage video only available with the purchase of the MP4 player.

Paparizou was nominated for six awards for the 2008 Mad Video Music Awards. The song "To Fili Tis Zois" was nominated in four categories: "Best Pop Video" , "Most Played Artist" , "Artist of the Year", and "Best Video by a Female Artist". The song "Mazi sou" and the song "Zilia Monaksia" Feat. Nikos Aliagas are nominated in the categories "Most Played Artist" and "Best Duet" respectively. Finally she won two awards the "Best Pop Video" and "Artist of the Year".

Paparizou was featured on the soundtrack for Arn- Riket vid vägens slut where she sings two songs in Swedish: "Allt jag vill" and "Genom krig och kärlek". The soundtrack was released on August 27 2008.

Current projects

  • Elena is doing a tour around Greece starting in July 2008 for promotion of the new album with Manos Pirovolakis.
  • Elena will be releasing a new English language album in Spring 2009.

Personal life

Elena has been involved in a long term relationship with fellow Swedish-born Greek Toni Mavridis. They met at a Greek restaurant in Sweden at age 19, when a friend of her sisters introduced them. Toni is a song writer, and has written songs on all of Elena's solo albums.

Elena and Toni recently bought a house together in the Athens suburb of Glyfada. Greek media has suggested that Elena is pregnant and that the two are ready to get married many times, but it has all turned out false. Elena also frequently calls Toni her husband, and his parent her in-laws, stirring up rumors, though the two aren't married yet and have not settled on a date. She has also already picked out a 'koumbara' (an important part of the Orthodox wedding, almost like a maid of honor), which is her good friend Roxani. On many occasions, Elena has commented on starting a family with Toni. When asked about family in Greek magazine "Celebrity", Elena was quoted as saying "I believe that family is the most natural thing, the thing I want in my life. And what is my preference? To not have kids so I can continue my career? One day it will end. I can not be on stage everyday, like I am now at 25." In May 2008 in Greek Magazine "Nitro", Elena was asked if Toni was her first relationship, to which Paparizou was quoted as saying "No, but I think it is my last. He is the person I want to have kids with. I think he is the best father they could have. If I don't have kids with him, then I will adopt."


Fashion Sense

In her dedication note in The Game of Love, she gives credit to Al Giga, her image maker, for making her love fashion and, even more, herself. She also thanks Roberto Cavalli for his input. The silver sandal on the elder chair in her Game of Love photo shot is from him. It says his name on the label, though one needs good eyes to read it. She is the winner of the award for "Best Outfit in a (Music)Video" from MAD TV Awards 2007.


Elena speaks fluent Greek, Swedish, and English, and has also studied French and Spanish. She has mentioned that her dream would be to make a song with lyrics comprised of words in every language in the world. A great example is her hit single "Heroes" which contains words in three different languages. In an interview on Orange fm 93.2 Elena said that she has started studying Persian and Finnish.

'Elena' versus 'Helena'

The correct spelling of her first name is a subject of confusion. In Greek, there used to be an accent called a spiritus asper accent to indicate the 'h' sound (just as the 'h' in 'Helena'). This was abolished centuries years ago, and the Greek name 'Έλενα' was already pronounced 'Elena' at the time of Elena Paparizou's birth. The spelling with the spiritus asper however was maintained in a system known as polytonic orthography which, having no vocal significance, finally ceased to be used 30 years ago.

Elena Paparizou on the other hand, was born in Sweden where the name's version 'Helena' exists, and one could presume with little uncertainty that many Swedes transliterated her name as 'Helena'. That is to say, Paparizou's name is Elena, but has been misspelled 'Helena'. Even though many Swedes misspell it, her official name has been registered by Swedish authorities as 'Elena', which has also been used by her and previously by media in Sweden.

Her name has always been spelt 'Elena' during her career in Greece, but in Sweden, and in all countries except Greece as her second appearance in Eurovision (in 2005) approached, the spelling 'Helena' grew more common, and the songstress herself admitted in a Swedish interview that she chose to spell her name with an 'H' for Eurovision and on her 2005 album for people in other countries not to confuse her name with other common names such as 'Jelena' or 'Chelena'. Her official website is, and the 'h' appears on all official releases outside of Greece. The singer, however, has made it known that her name is correctly written as 'Elena', and this is how she prefers to be known. The 'H' is only used on international releases.


Greek-language studio albums

English-language studio albums



External links


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