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- Despina Malea
- Stuttgart-Tübingen Germany
- Great Eyes Brunette
- Too Skinny
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 current President of AEK soccer club. She has a four year old daughter named Melina and has recently given birth to her first son in late August.
Despina Vandi 1994-1996: Early years
Despina Vandi's first album was released in 1994 under the Minos EMI label. The album's name was Gela Mou which translates to "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, meaning "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.
Despina Vandi 1997-1999: Popularity established
1997 proved to be a big year for Despina Vandi as she teamed up with popular songwriter Phivos. Phivos wrote the songs of Despina Vandi's next album, Deka Entoles (Ten Commandments). This album was awarded platinum status in Greece. Despina Vandi's partnership with Phoebus would turn out to be a very successful one for many years to come. 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 Xenoi" (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. After that she received many proposals for both TV, Cinema and Musical, but has turned them down to focus on music.
Despina's next album Profities (Prophecies) was released in 1999 and was certified gold the day of its release. It eventually became a triple 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.
Despina Vandi 2000-2002: Further success
In 2000, Despina Vandi released the single Ipofero (I suffer). The single went six-times platinum and was awarded as being the most successful single of all time in Greece, by Richard Branson of Virgin.
Despina Vandi and Phoebus decided to sign with Heaven Music, a new break-out record label in 2001 owned by the Athena Group (the largest media group in Greece). 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. Many of the songs on the album became hits not only Greece, but also in neighboring countries such as 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". It was the first time that this award was given to Greek artist who actually lived and worked in Greece. For her acceptance speech, Despina 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."
Despina Vandi 2003: International career
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 Dance chart, with Gia reaching number 1.
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.
Despina Vandi 2004-2006: Stin Avli Tou Paradisou
Despina's next studio album was released at the end of 2004, titled Stin Avli Tou Paradisou. It reached double platinum status and in 2005, the album was repackaged as a special edition and included 5 new songs including a duet with Giorgos Mazonakis. 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 in Turkey.
Despina gave a very successful concert in the theater of Lycabettus in Athens at the end of July 2006 singing many of her popular songs.
Despina Vandi 2006-Present: Kalanta and 10 Hronia Mazi
Despina Vandi released the CD single "Kalanta" (Carols) in Greece on November 22, 2006, which went double platinum. The videoclip of "Kalanta" was released on December 19 and soon the video of her next hit single, "Mehri Mai Mina" (Till May Month) was made.
Vandi performed her last show ever at the Rex Music Theater on February 18 and it will mark and end to 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. The cover of the platinum release, "10 Hronia Mazi". The cover of the platinum release, "10 Hronia Mazi".
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. It also marked her 10 year anniversary of collaborating with Phoebus. The song reached the top of the Nielsen's Radio Airplay chart for Greece for 5 straight weeks.
On November 16, 2007, Vandi released her second radio single from the new album called "10 Hronia Mazi" (10 Years Together), the title song of the album. The song is a rock ballad about the 10 year collaboration with Phoebus which charted on the airplay charts.
The album 10 Hronia Mazi was released December 6, 2007 and is a triple CD featuring 15 new songs. The first CD features 8 new pop and rock songs, while the second CD features 7 new Laika songs. The third CD 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.
Vandi worked on the new album "Sehnsucht" (Longing) by German band Schiller which was released in early 2008, performing the song "Destiny".
On March 6, 2008, Vandi released the third single from 10 Hronia Mazi, titled "Agapi" (Love), along with a video to promote it. The song quickly gained popularity. The single was on the MAD TV platinum Charts for 5 weeks with one week at first. On April 24, 2008, Vandi released the fourth and final single from 10 Hronia Mazi named "Fantasou Apla". The video was filmed at the same time as "Agapi".
Despina Vandi Philanthropy
Despina has shown a great sensitivity for people in need especially for children. During the period ranging from 2000 to 2006 she has given more than 5 huge benefit concerts and managed to raise nearly 1,000,000 euros for charitable purposes. She was awarded by Mariana Vardinogianni (President of the Child and Family Foundation and Ambassador of Good Will in UNESCO) for all her work.