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Despina Vandi
Δέσποινα Βανδή

Vandi performing at the BOOM club in Thessaloniki in 2007.
Background information
Birth name Despina Malea
Born July 22, 1969 (1969-07-22) (age 40)
Stuttgart-Tübingen, West Germany
Origin Greece
Genres Contemporary laika, laika, pop, dance
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1994–present
Labels Minos EMI (1994-2001),
Heaven Music (2001-2009),
Escondida Music (2004-present),
The Spicy Effect (2009-present)

Despina Vandi (Greek: Δέσποινα Βανδή) (born Despina Malea, July 22, 1969) is a Greek singer famous mainly in Greece and Cyprus, with some international success as well. Vandi began a musical career in 1994 after signing with Minos EMI. She released two albums with little success before beginning an exclusive collaboration with composer Phoebus and striking commercial success with her third album Deka Endoles. The collaboration with Phoebus became one of the most successful in Greek music history and her next three albums Profities (1999), Gia (2001), and Stin Avli Tou Paradeisou (2004) gained multi-platinum statuses, becoming amongst the most successful albums of their respective decades. The success of Gia helped Vandi to break into neighboring markets and she subsequently released a couple of English-language singles in a brief attempt at breaking into the international market. After taking a break from music, Vandi returned in 2007 with her album 10 Hronia Mazi, celebrating her ten-year collaboration with Phoebus. As of 2009, Vandi has sold over 1 million records in Greece. [1]


Personal life

Although born in Germany, Vandi's family was from Kavala, Greece, where she and her family moved when she was six years old. As a result, she did not learn German, unlike the rest of her family. She has one older brother and an older sister. Living in a lower middle-class family her dream was to become either an actress or a singer but she always knew that she should have something more solid as a background so she went on to study psychology, philosophy, and education at the University of Thessaloniki. At the start of her singing, Despina changed her last name to Vandi, to hide that she was singing from her parents.

Despina Vandi is married to Demis Nikolaidis, ex-international soccer player and former president of AEK soccer club. She has a five-year old daughter named Melina and a son named Giorgos, born in August 2007.

A Discovery Channel documentary entitled Europe's Richest People estimated Vandi and Demis Nikolaidis's combined fortune to be in excess of 30 million euros in 2009.

On August 18, 2008[2], Vandi was in a car accident on Kifissias Avenue in Kifissia, Greece. The car she was in, driven by her chauffeur, slipped on an oil slick that leaked from a tanker truck causing the car to crash into the truck ahead of her. After drivers helped pull her out of the vehicle, she was transported by ambulance to the general hospital in Athens and then moved to a private clinic.[3] Vandi only suffered a cut to her head and got stitches.[4] After the accident, Greek media called it a "miracle" that Vandi only had minor injuries as her Porsche Cayenne was totaled beyond recognition.[5]

1994–1996: Early years

Despina Vandi's first album was released in 1994 under the Minos EMI label, titled Gela Mou (Smile at Me). This album was distinguished by her duet To Adieksodo (No Way Out) written by Vassilis Karras, with Giannis Parios, a very popular singer at the time.

In 1996, Despina Vandi released her next album, Esena Perimeno (You're The One I'm Waiting For). Hits on this album include Esena Perimeno, Den Pethainei I Agapi, and Efiges songs written by her friend and now musical director Tony Kontaxakis.

1997–1999: Popularity established

The cover of Despina's 1999 release, Profities.

1997 proved to be a big year for Despina Vandi as she teamed up with popular songwriter Phoebus. Phoebus wrote the songs of Vandi's next album, Deka Entoles (Ten Commandments), which was awarded 2× platinum status in Greece. Despina Vandi's partnership with Phoebus would turn out to be a very successful one, and they celebrated their 10-year partnership with the release of 10 Hronia Mazi (10 Years Together). With the success of "Deka Entoles" Despina Vandi quickly became popular in the Greek music industry with a string of hits and popular appearances.

Later that year, Despina experimented with acting. She was asked to play a guest star role in the hit television show "Dio Xeni" (Two Strangers). Despina accepted the role and made her first appearance on television. She played a singer of a local small city, who was able to change the sexuality of the main gay character. She managed to gain good reviews for her acting talent.[citation needed]

Despina's next album Profities (Prophecies) was released in 1999 and was certified gold the day of its release. It eventually became a three times-platinum album in Greece. Later that year Despina gave her first sold-out solo concert at the concert hall of Lycabettus with 7,000 people in attendance.

2000–2002: Further success

In 2000, Despina Vandi released the single Ipofero (I Suffer). The single went 6x platinum and was awarded as being the most successful single of all time in Greece, by Richard Branson of Virgin.[6][7]

Despina Vandi and Phoebus decided to sign with Heaven Music, a new break-out record label in 2001 owned by the Athena Group. Despina's next album Gia (2001), meaning "Hi" was a double album including 21 new songs. The album went 4x platinum in only 11 days. Today, the album is one of the best selling album of all time and the best selling album for the last 20 years in Greece according to the DVD "Guide of the Greek discography" which was released by Petros Dragoumanos and take its sources from the charts of IFPI. Many of the songs on the album became hits not only Greece, but also in neighboring countries such as Cyprus, Turkey and Lebanon. Shortly after, Vandi gave a free concert in Thessaloniki drawing in a reported 62,000 people.

At the 2002 World Music Awards, Vandi was awarded as the World's "Best Selling Greek Artist".[8] It was the first time that this award was given to a Greek artist who actually lived and worked in Greece. For her acceptance speech, Vandi said "Above all though, I would like to thank my Greek fans around the world. I dedicate this award to all the Greeks who have supported me with their love all these years and it is because of them that I find myself here at this moment."

Following the success of Gia, Despina released a CD single titled "Ante Gia" (Goodbye) in 2002, with the title track being a remix of "Gia". The single also included three new tracks and another remix, and achieved double platinum status. Gia and "Ante Gia" were then compiled and re-released as "Gia & Ante Gia: Collector's Edition", along with four previously unreleased remixes.

2003: International exposure

The cover of the 5x platinum release, Gia.

With Gia having gone multi platinum in the Greek market, some of the songs broke out into the international market in neighboring countries. Seeing potential in an international career, she embarked on one in 2003.

Her first three international singles, "Gia" (2003), "Opa Opa" (2004) and "Come Along Now" (2005) entered the charts around the world. Her first internationally distributed albums are named after the songs "Gia" and "Come Along Now". "Gia" and "Opa Opa" have both charted on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Dance Airplay charts, with Gia reaching number 1 on the latter. All three singles reached #1 on the Australian charts.

She made an appearance on the hit international show Top of the Pops where she performed her song "Gia" as she was included in some of that week's best-selling popular music artists.

Her work has been remixed by celebrated global DJs and producers, such as Armand Van Helden, Milk & Sugar, Nick Skitz, Roger Sanchez, Junior Vasquez, Pete Tong, Bass Bumpers, DJ Gregory, Level K, XTM, Minimal Chic and Highpass amongst others.

Her albums Gia and Opa Opa have been Records of The Week on BBC Radio 1's dance shows. Despina Vandi has also won many international awards.

At the end of August (2004) Despina performed live at the Beatstock Festival in New York.

2004–2007: Stin Avli Tou Paradeisou and "Kalanta"

Despina's next studio album was released at the end of 2004, titled Stin Avli Tou Paradisou (In The Garden of Paradise). It reached double platinum status in 2005, the album was repackaged as a special edition and included 5 new songs, including a duet with Giorgos Mazonakis.[9] Katiana Balanika guest starts in one of the music videos for the album. The special edition was released in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. In Turkey the album reached to the Turkish charts until number 2 and the biggest Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News named Despina Vandi as the Queen of Greek Pop.[10]

In July 2006, Despina gave a concert in the theater of Lycabettus in Athens singing many of her popular songs.

Despina Vandi released the CD single "Kalanta" (Carols) in Greece on November 22, 2006, which reached double platinum status after two weeks from the release of the CD single.[11] The videoclip of "Kalanta" was released on December 19, soon followed by the video of her next hit single, "Mehri Mai Mina" (Till The Month Of May).

Vandi performed her last show at the Rex Music Theater on February 18, 2007 and it marked an end to her singing there for the past seven years. Due to her pregnancy, Vandi did not plan any summer concerts for 2007, and on 21 August 2007, she gave birth to a healthy boy, her second child after Melina.

2007–2009: 10 Hronia Mazi and Iparhi Zoi

Vandi performing at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut as part of her 2009 five venue North American tour.

On October 10, 2007 (10/10) Vandi released her new single "Thelo" (I Want) simultaneously on all radio stations and TV stations across Greece at 10 AM.[12][13] It marked her 10-year anniversary of collaborating with Phoebus. The song reached the top of the Nielsen's Radio Airplay chart for Greece for six consecutive weeks.[14] The second radio single from the album and the title track "10 Hronia Mazi" (10 Years Together) was released on November 16, 2007.[15] The song is a rock ballad about the 10-year collaboration with Phoebus and charted on the airplay charts.

The album 10 Hronia Mazi was released December 6, 2007 on three discs featuring fifteen new songs.[16] The first disc features eight new pop and rock songs and two remixes, while the second disc features seven new laika songs and three remixes. The third disc is a "bonus" and features some of the best songs from Vandi and Phoebus with new mixes as a thank you to their fans. The album achieved platinum certification on the first week, but it should be noted that this included preorders.

On March 6, 2008, Vandi released the third single from 10 Hronia Mazi, titled "Agapi" (Love), along with a video to promote it.[17] The single was on the MAD TV Charts for six weeks with one week at number one. On April 24, 2008, Vandi released the fourth single from 10 Hronia Mazi titled "Fantasou Apla". The video was filmed at the same time as "Agapi".

Vandi was featured on the gold-certified album Sehnsucht by German electronica act Schiller, which was released in early 2008, providing vocals for the song "Destiny", composed by Phoebus. She performed the track with Schiller on June 17, 2008 at the MAD Video Music Awards 2008, where she won the category of "Best Female Artist" and also performed "I Gi Ki I Selini".[18] Her live appearance in the MAD Video Music Awards 2008 was included in the live edition of Sehnsucht (Desire).

On June 24, 2008, following the MAD Video Music Awards, the album was repackaged with the title 10 Hronia Mazi: It's Destiny as one disc. The repackaged version includes the song "Destiny" by Schiller featuring Despina Vandi. The one-disc repackaged version features all the songs from the original first and second discs, excluding all the remixes (with the exception of "Ta Lefta (Remix)"). Two more songs were released as singles, "I Gi Ki I Selini" and "Tha Thela"; the music video for "I Gi Ki Selini" was her performance at the MAD Awards, while the video for "Tha Thela" was the live performance of the song at the Love Radio party which took place on May 12, 2008.

Vandi has become involved in the Global One music project. She attended a recording session in Beijing with Chinese pop start Wei-Wei and Brazilian samba singer Daniela Mercury, while also attending the project's first official press conference.[19] However, Vandi's name is currently not listed as a confirmed performer on the project's website. The project's ambitious goal, driven by successful international record producer Rob Hoffman, is to have one artist representing their country record common Global One songs in their native language, as well as in the English language, in efforts to pool together as many languages and cultures as possible to promote their artistry on a global level.[20]

Near the end of 2008, Vandi began touring out of Greece for the album. On October 10, 11 and 12 she performed three sold-out concerts in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide and then from May 15–24, 2009, she sang a five venue tour of the United States and Canada.[21].

In 2009, Despina Vandi did not appear in any nightclub in Athens or Thessaloniki, but preferred to rest after a long appearance in nightclubs. But consider a good opportunity to perform charity concerts in Cyprus. The concerts gave Vandi the platinum award of the album 10 Hronia Mazi in Cyprus after the platinum award of the album in Greece. Following these concerts in Cyprus, Vandi is ready to make big concerts in the U.S.A. and Canada [22]. Following the announcement for the tour of Despina in America comes the announcement from her official site for the collaboration of Despina with Goin' Through for a lengthy tour throughout Greece [23]. Despina also has close agreement with the city council of Kalamaria to conduct a concert in the stadium of Apollon Kalamaria. Revenues intended for the obligations of the football team. On June 16, Vandi makes comeback, after a year of abstinence, with the song Iparhi Zoi a pop-rock song with a charity character [24]. Music and lyrics of the song is from her partner for years Phoebus. On June 24 in the Mad Video Music Awards 2009 Despina presented her new song entitled Iparhi Zoi. On June 29, Despina gave the opening concert for the Long Hot Summer Tour with a concert in Thessaloniki, which was sold-out. After 32 sold-out concerts the tour sold 150,000 tickets.[25] With this tour Vandi broke the record for pre-sale tickets to the concert in the Olympia pre-selling 3,000 tickets. [26]

Following the departure of songwriter and collaborator Phoebus from Heaven Music, Vandi officially announced on November 2, 2009, that she, too, has chosen to leave Heaven Music. She is now signed to the record label founded by Phoebus, called "The Spicy Effect."[27]

On December 11, Despina came back in nightlife. She appears in Politia club in Thessaloniki with Goin' Through. The next day, on December 12, the label she was previously signed to, Heaven Music, released the compilation "Despina Vandi - Greatest Hits 2001-2009", which includes major successes. The album is released in two versions: the standard version (1 CD) with 16 songs and a deluxe edition (2 CDs and 1 DVD) with 32 songs and 27 video clips.[28]

2010: The come back

After her successful appearances in Thessaloniki, Despina Vandi is ready to return to the nightlife of Athens. It is an important moment for her and her fans, after having spent two years absence from the Athenian nightlife. Despina is going to appear at Thalassa and with her it's going to appear 48 ores the group that participated in the The X Factor . The appearences are going to begin on 3 April and the program is planned to last until summer. [29] Vandi is going to appear on 14 March at Chart Show, the show of Alpha TV channel. Also Vandi is going to sing live her new song only for the listeners who will win VIP invitations from the Dromos 89.8 FM radio. Also the listeners who will have the chance to listen the new song is going to participate at the video clip of the song. [30] The new song is going to released on 22 March in all the radios of Greece and is the first sound from the upcoming album by Despina Vandi which will be released before the summer. [31]



  1. ^ "Despina-Phoebus Ten Year Anniversary" (in Greek). ANT1. 2007-12. 
  2. ^ "Greek singer Despina Vandi injured in car crash". FOCUS Information Agency. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  3. ^ "Η Δέσποινα Βανδή τραυματίστηκε σε τροχαίο ατύχημα...". 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  4. ^ "Το Ατύχημα της Δέσποινας" (in Greek). 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  5. ^ Starida, Pouli (2008-08-19). "Θρίλερ με τη Βανδή!" (in Greek). Espresso Newspaper. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  6. ^ "Βανδή-Branson στο Λονδίνο". (Greek) MAD TV, May 29, 2001. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  7. ^ "O Branson τίμησε τη Βανδή!". (Greek) MAD TV, May 23, 2001. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  8. ^ "Δέσποινα Βανδή". (Greek) Retrieved on April 15, 2008.
  9. ^ "4 νέα τραγούδια από τη Δέσποινα και το Φοίβο σε μια ειδική έκδοση".,3702,123168,00.html.  Heaven Music. Retrieved on January 20, 2008
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Το Νο1 τραγούδι της ελληνικής δισκογραφίας για 5 εβδομάδες".,3702,170110,00.html. (Greek) Heaven Music. Retrieved on January 20, 2008
  13. ^ "10 / 10 στις 10:00". (Greek) MAD TV, October 8, 2007. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  14. ^ Nielsen Greece Top 20. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
  15. ^ "ΔΕΣΠΟΙΝΑ ΒΑΝΔΗ - ΦΟΙΒΟΣ - "ΔΕΚΑ ΧΡΟΝΙΑ ΜΑΖΙ" - ΚΥΚΛΟΦΟΡΕΙ ΤΕΛΗ ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ".,3702,169773,00.html. (Greek) Heaven Music. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  16. ^ "6 Δεκεμβρίου η Δέσποινα". (Greek) MAD TV, December 3, 2007. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  17. ^ "Δέσποινα Βανδή - Αγάπη: photo report". (Greek) MAD TV, March 6, 2008. Retrieved on April 4, 2008.
  18. ^ "Winners". (Greek) MAD TV, June 17, 2008. Retrieved on July 18, 2008.
  19. ^ Global One Music News
  20. ^ Global One Music About Us
  21. ^ Staff (2009-04-09). "Τον Μαϊο η Δέσποινα Βανδή θα κάνει πέντε συναυλίες στην Αμερική...." (in Greek). Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Βανδή - Heaven: Τέλος!" (in Greek). MAD TV. 2009-11-02.!. Retrieved 2009-11-03. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^

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