Georgia Kefala: From Frontwoman Of BLE To Greek Parliamentarian

Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis

(IG: @vassiliosvitsilogiannnis)

Georgia Kefala, renowned singer and charismatic lead vocalist of the band “BLE,” has seamlessly transitioned from the music stage to the political arena. Celebrated for her dynamic performances and powerful voice, Kefala has captivated audiences both in Greece and internationally. Recently, she embarked on a new journey, channeling her passion for social issues and advocacy by being elected as a Member of the Greek Parliament. Her election marks a significant milestone, reflecting her dedication to public service and her commitment to bringing positive change to her community through her new role in the legislature.

Let’s go back to your childhood years for a moment. Do you remember the first time you sang?

Until very recently, I had a tape where I sang along with my father. I must have been three years old. My father had a very nice voice, and I believe his voice went unnoticed. He could have been an excellent singer of the new wave genre. But, you know, one wasn’t allowed to express their desires; the customs were different. But I remember being little and singing together on that tape a song by Haris Alexiou. That was the first time I heard my voice recorded. But after that, I remember singing constantly. Once, around the age of 10, I sang at camp, then at school, and then I gradually delved deeper. I never thought of singing as a professional pursuit; I did it more for the joy of it. Some tried to implant the idea of singing in my mind, and in the end, they succeeded.

What is the origin of your theatrical expressiveness when you sing? You have an openness of soul, evident from your body, showing that you open yourself to the world, perfectly conveying both the song and your truth.

I like what you said about me conveying both the song and my truth to the world. This is apparent from body posture and body language, but I think it has to do with how completely synchronized you are with the song at that moment. And imagine, the artist’s voice and what they feel to convey to the audience is like a beam of light that must be penetrating. If you synchronize the body with this emotion, it’s truly magical. However, there’s not just one level of emotion; emotions have many layers. It’s the performer who decides which level of emotion to give and creates a perspective in the song. Initially, we must allow our bodies to speak without the mind giving commands on how to move, so it can protect us from being exposed. However, this also limits you, and often the magic is lost. People like me should be liberated and not confined because they lose a piece of their interpretation, which is the most important element of an artist.

What is “BLE” band for you, how would you describe it in three words, and what made you accept to become the main vocalist of the band?

The three words that come to mind are outgoing, melodic, and melancholic. For me, the “BLE” band truly opened a window into Greek music. I’ll talk about the first album they released with Theodosia Tsatsou, also an exceptional vocalist, “O Dromos Tis Enohis” in 1996. Until then, I felt a deadlock in Greek rock, but with the “BLE” band, I felt that success was on its way. In Greek rock, we didn’t have good voices that sang rock successfully; we had composers and lyricists who simply interpreted their songs very well. There wasn’t a voice that had studied how to sing Greek lyrics in rock music. The “BLE” band suddenly came and changed the game. When the “BLE” band split because the vocalist left, they had to release the second album immediately, and when I was offered the opportunity, I accepted immediately. Of course, many told me, “What are you doing? What will you do? It’s very difficult.” When I joined the band, I didn’t try to imitate or mimic the previous vocalist. I added my own elements and my own positive energy. When someone leaves, it’s not to be replaced; they leave to take the next step, and you come to present a different image.

Which song do you believe is the quintessential symbol of the “BLE” band?

I think it’s “To Fovamai” (“I’m Afraid”). It might be at the top, but many other songs have left their mark, like “Oi Enohes” (“The Guilt”), “Ton Idio To Theo” (“The Same God”), and “To Pianw Fotia” (“I’m On Fire”). They all play on the same level. These are contrasting songs, but that’s how our band is. And I am a personality that’s all about extremes.

What other collaborations have you had before the “BLE” band, but also with the band that you’ve joined?

Before the “BLE” band, I had very interesting collaborations, such as with Mimis Plessas, and Giannis Vardis, a significant chapter for me is Marinella, Stefanos Korkolis, Kostas Tournas, and many other artists of that time, but also those who can still be found on stage and creating until today. I am fortunate to have been next to these great artists. Today’s singers don’t have this opportunity. With the “BLE” band today, we’ve had many collaborations, all of which are exceptional. The most recent one is with Evrydiki. But we’ve collaborated with Lakis Papadopoulos, Nikos Ziyolas, and the beloved Andriana Babali. Also, I can say that we’ve collaborated with “Xylina Spathia” and “Trypes” bands. All these were wonderful collaborations and experiences.

Do you mind that many focus on your appearance and the way you dress on stage and don’t focus on the songs and their performance?

It doesn’t bother me because I believe that a large part of the audience sees what we do as love and that I am someone who tries to be free. And usually, people who appreciate this. Now, if my stylistic choices are provocative, I don’t think about it. I can’t think about what I’ll wear on stage because every day I feel differently and want to express that. It’s a form of dialogue with the audience. We shouldn’t fear the difference. Although society today lives with fear, it’s a big social scourge that we must reduce, and with our presence, we must speak and express what we believe.

During the hours when you’re not singing, do you spend time with your children? If your children told you that they wanted to follow your musical path, how would you react?

Whether I wanted it or not, my children followed it. Because I believe I have passed on to them the love and comfort that music offers, and I believe they consider it a natural extension of themselves. My eldest son has enrolled in the Kapodistrian University, in the Department of Musicology. This is what he wanted since he was young. Music is part of our lives. It’s a way of expression. In the past, we all used to sing and dance. Man sang first and then spoke.

Do you believe that social media helps an artist? Is there an issue of quality in presenting an artist’s work, and is it ephemeral and not based on quality but on recognition?

The issue of quality is something that one cannot disregard. But then the internet is a big trap; I can say that it can create hastiness. Because someone doesn’t have money, they can quickly create views for their song or songs. There needs to be proper production in creating the video clip. In the past, it was serious to release an album, and all attention was focused on the artist’s work. In the past, it was difficult to release an album. In contrast, today it’s very easy to release an album because it’s done online, but the world’s attention is not so great. At the same time, many songs come out, and people forget the previous songs after a short period and listen to the next songs that have been released.

What was it that attracted you and made you decide to get involved in politics? What made you join Zoi Konstantopoulou’s political movement? What were the problems she faced in Parliament?

Zoi Konstantopoulou was and remains an inspiration. For me, at that particular period of my life, I needed to break some established manners and patterns that I had created myself or my environment, and Zoi was my beacon. I saw a woman struggling heroically and alone. Not getting disappointed and continuing. That inspired me. I wanted to change things, even though we have been trained to think that we cannot do many things. We cannot change the current scene, our lives, or society. They tell us this thing and we believe it. Yet I wanted to make an effort to speak up, express myself, and change things. We live completely exposed and unprotected in a state where laws cannot be enforced due to bad governance and complexity, but even if the authorities cannot communicate with each other, they cannot be effective. When I realized this, I felt that I should go through this process and do something. I really don’t care about my fame, but whether I can achieve my goal. I don’t want to make a career in politics, but I want to bring some emotional intelligence into Parliament because I believe that politics needs people with emotional intelligence to be able to handle social issues. We need to build our lives on new standards and think about how things should be in the future.

What are your current and future plans?

We have started collaborating with Evrydiki, an outstanding artist and voice. We also released a Christmas song in 2023 and we continue with very beautiful collaborations and we will continue with some more collaborations that we can announce along the way.

Photo Credit by Kiki Hadjigeorgiou

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