Sakis Rouvas

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Post  PeterCrouch on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:38 pm

Anastasios "Sakis" Rouvas (Greek: Αναστάσιος "Σάκης" Ρουβάς, pronounced [ˈsakis ruˈvas]; born January 5, 1972), often referred to mononymously as Sakis, is a Greek musician, actor, television presenter, model, businessman, and former pole vaulter who is one of the most commercially successful entertainers of all time in Greece and Cyprus. Beginning a career as a member of the national athletics team, Rouvas commenced a musical career in 1991 after signing with PolyGram and winning the Thessaloniki Song Festival.

In the early 1990s Rouvas became a dominant figure in Greek music, gaining a mass fanbase and being cited as a phenomenon, a first for Greece. He became one of Greece's first pop performers; widely recognized as the genre's main performer to this day, he was credited with breaking cultural barriers and aiding in the popularization of Western music genres. Rouvas also became a singularity for transforming live performance into an artform with the utilization of physically complex choreography and costumes, as well as gaining notoriety for his sexualized image. Rouvas became one of the most marketable artists by effectively trademarking his name, while he and manager Elias Psinakis became amongst the most notable partnerships in Greek history. In the mid-1990s Rouvas' increasing popularity was coupled with strong criticisms of both professional choices and personal struggles, which damaged his public image and lead to a brief relatively unsuccessful period with a departure from music; after five commercially successful albums he moved to Minos EMI and returned to prominence in 1998 and into the new millennium. Having been a notable artist in the Balkans for years, Rouvas embarked on multiple projects abroad and represented his country in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 and 2009 and presented the 2006 contest, while also venturing into film, television, and business.

A notable humanitarian and philanthropist, Rouvas has been recognized for the support of multiple charitable causes. Amongst his achievements include multiple recognized awards –including a World Music Award– number-one albums and singles that have all achieved certifications of gold or higher, and the sales of an estimated two million records as of 2008, making him one of Greece's best-selling music artists. His distinct musical and performance style has influenced other artists, while his contributions to music along with a publicized personal life have made him a prominent part of popular culture for nearly two decades.

Life and career

Early life and athletic career (1972–1990)

Sakis Rouvas was born on January 5, 1972 in the village of Mandoukion, near Corfu City on the Greek island of Corfu, the eldest son of Konstantinos "Kostas" Rouvas, an ambulance driver, and Anna-Maria Panaretou, a retail worker at the Duty Free shop at the local airport. He has one brother fully-related by blood, Tolis, three years his junior, while he has a total of three brothers overall.[2] His talents were revealed from a young age; at age four, his athletic abilities began to show. Both his parents had some background in theater, and at age ten, Rouvas starred in his first major theatrical production An I Karharies Itan Anthropi (If sharks were people), which quickly sold out in local theaters in Corfu. His much older co-stars were impressed at his talent and they labeled him "The Miracle Child".[3] Soon after, Rouvas discovered his second great love after athletics: music. He soon learned to play guitar by himself and was inspired by international music and artists such as Elvis Presley.[2]

In 1984, his parents were divorced, and due to strained relationships between the two, Rouvas and his brother Tolis were forced to move to the village of Potamos, whereby they were raised by their paternal grandmother, Elpiniki, and grandfather, Anastasis (Tatsis), who is Rouvas's namesake. His father soon remarried, and Rouvas had to do a variety of jobs in order to support his younger brothers and his mother.[2] From early childhood Rouvas began to hate school and suffered especially in reading and writing. Due to working in the daytime, Rouvas went to school at nights, where his mother, whom had never graduated high school, also attended.

At age sixteen, he went through the first turning point in his career after being accepted as a member of the Greek national gymnastics team. His scores were consistently high and he won numerous national awards; on average he was able to vault 4.17 metres. However, Rouvas still held onto his love of music. He decided to leave acting, and soon started to do performances at local clubs and hotels. He became a member of the Corfu Band. The first time he sang in front of a public audience was at the night of his graduation where he performed his rendition of all of the hits of Elvis and The Beatles.[4]

After graduating, he started working at hotels and night clubs as a singer. At one of these venues, To Ekati, future manager Elias Psinakis would see him perform for the first time, however, they never spoke. Unfortunately, there were too many problematic situations in his life in Corfu and at the age of 18, he left his native island and moved to Patras alone in hope of a better future.

Early commercial success (1991–93)

Upon going to Patras, Rouvas continued to look for performance opportunities, until he met Dakis, a popular Greek artist of the era, who was the first person to help him professionally.[citation needed] He moved to Athens, and after being given much advice by Dakis, in 1991, Rouvas made his first professional appearance at the Show Centre in Athens, singing a popular Michael Jackson song that gave him the freedom to show both his vocal style as well as stage performance. It was there where he was discovered by executives of the PolyGram record label, who signed him to his first recording contract immediately after the performance.[5] After first moving to Athens Rouvas lived with an English woman whom he had known since he was in Corfu. Their relationship ended after Psinakis became his manager and his goals became more oriented towards his career. The media later reported extensively on Rouvas' personal life over the years, speculating on relationships with model Zeta Logotheti, Sofi Kantarou, who was a Corfu local bar manager whom he had known from years earlier, and later singer Elli Kokkinou.[3]A few months later, Rouvas' made his first official début at the Thessaloniki Song Festival. At the competition, Rouvas lost the title for "Best Vocals" to another upcoming artist Giorgos Alkaios by only one point, but ultimately won the competition after he won first place for "Best Composition" with the song "Par'ta" (Take them) with music by Nikos Terzis and lyrics by Giorgos Pavrianos.During the moment that all of the competitors were called on stage there was a brief earthquake.

Rouvas released his debut album titled Sakis Rouvas the day after the festival; it reached number one on the Greek Albums Chart. "Par'ta" ("Take them") became a number one radio hit,while the second single "1992" also became very popular. Following the popularity of the album, media attention arose around his fanatic fans, usually teenage girls, who would go crazy over him.

In September 1992, Rouvas released his sophomore album titled Min Andistekese (Don’t resist), which was also fully composed by Nikos Terzis. The album quickly shot up on the charts[citation needed], and helped establish him as a top performer in the Greek music industry.

In October 1993, Rouvas released his third studio album titled Gia Sena (For you) with music by Alexis Papadimitriou and lyrics primarily by Eleni Giannatsoulia, as well as Evi Droutsa. The album became Rouvas third consecutive gold album in a time span of only two years.[citation needed] The single "Kane Me" (Make me) became a big radio hit, while the next singles "To Xero Eisai Moni" (I know you are alone), and "Xehase To" (Forget it) also gained airplay.

Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas, military service, and Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola (1994–96)

In the winter of 1994, Rouvas collaborated with famous singer-songwriter and record producer Nikos Karvelas for the production of his fourth studio album Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas (Blood, sweat, and tears) which was his first album to be certified platinum.[citation needed] The songs "Ela Mou" (Come to me) and "Xana" (Again) became huge radio hits, which he is still known by today, and have become a staple at all of his concerts.[6] The collaboration with Karvelas, one of the most successful and iconic producers of the past two decades with the young artist resulted in mixed reaction by the media. When asked why he had chosen to collaborate with Rouvas, Karvelas simply gave a controversial response, stating that "Sakis is the only star, out of a generation which produces dull artists."[9]

Rouvas became more recluse and private about his personal life,[7] When he was called to do his military service in 1994, Rouvas had originally asked for a delay as it coincided with the scheduled release of his highly anticipated album Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas, although his request for a delay was denied.[10][7][3] Although other artists had also delayed their service for career reasons, Rouvas' case became a central news story at the time.[3] It was initially thought that the artist did not want to pull back from the spotlight during a time when his career was soaring, although Rouvas himself had claimed his inability to fulfill his service due to previous psychological trauma that resulted in him suffering from severe agoraphobia.[7]<[10][3] His claims were widely disbelieved: some media commented that agoraphobia was a strange condition for an entertainer,[7] while critics of Rouvas accused him of desertion.[7][10] Rouvas was then taken to the psychiatric hospital of Penteli for psychiatric evaluation, and while alone in his room, Rouvas attempted suicide.[7][10][3] After the initial widespread media coverage of the attempted suicide subsided, Rouvas was forced to fulfill his military service with a psychiatrist present on the scene, both to medicate him and make sure he would not cause harm to himself.[7][3] For his military service, Rouvas was forced to remove his earring and cut his signature long hair, something that is featured in the beginning of the video for "Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas". Rouvas was also constantly taunted by paparazzi who would sneak into the military campus to photograph and film him for constant television reports. Psinakis blamed Rouvas' psychiatrist for things that occurred in the military, claiming that he was secretly pouring psychotropic drugs into Rouvas' alcoholic beverages because of a previous quarrel.

A few months later in 1996, Rouvas released his fifth studio album Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola (Now the difficult times begin) which went gold.[citation needed] Since his previous album was a big success, Rouvas once again collaborated with Nikos Karvelas with the help of lyricist Natalia Germanou.[clarification needed] For the winter season, Rouvas performed live with Anna Vissi at club Chaos in Athens.[citation needed] In the same year, a fan club for him, "SRFC", was founded, which from its start went on to be the largest fan club in Greece.[4] In 1997, he was featured on Anna Vissi's hit album Travma (Trauma), in the duet "Se Thelo, Me Theleis" (I want you, You want me) also composed by Nikos Karvelas.
Career break, Minos EMI, Kati Apo Mena, and 21os Akatallilos (1997–2000)

On May 19, 1997 he performed on stage with Turkish singer Burak Kut at a bi-national concert on the Green Line in Cyprus as a step in the reconciliation of the country with an audience of over 6,000 people.[citation needed] For this, he was awarded the International Abdi Ipekçi Prize for understanding and co-operation.[11] Rouvas had come into collaboration with Kut the previous year when they recorded a duet together in mixed Greek and Turkish called "Birgün/Otan", a cover of the original "Someday", for the soundtrack of the Greek-language dubbing of The Hunchback of Notre Dame titled I Panagia Ton Parision, where Rouvas made his film début voicing the role of Quasimodo.[citation needed]

Following his album success with PolyGram Greece, Rouvas switched labels and signed with Minos EMI.[4] In December 1998, Rouvas released his sixth studio album Kati Apo Mena (Something from me).[5] The album was composed by Giorgos Theofanous and became a hit, going gold in its first week; the album later reached platinum certification. The song "Den Ehi Sidera I Kardia Sou" (Your heart does not have metal rails) became a massive hit, and even today it remains one of his most popular songs. For promotion of the album, Rouvas performed live at one of the biggest record stores in Greece, the Virgin Megastore in Athens, where thousands of fans created a traffic jam in the center of Athens. For the winter season 1999-2000, Rouvas sang at club Bio Bio in Athens, and performed with Katy Garbi in Thessaloniki in the spring.

In March 2000, Rouvas released his seventh studio album 21os Akatallilos (21+ X-Rated).[13] The album reached 2× platinum status, and reached number one on the charts.[citation needed] On October 25, 2000, Rouvas began appearances with Antonis Remos, and Peggy Zina at club Apollonas for the winter season.That same year, Rouvas was asked by Pepsi to be their spokesperson for their new Greek summer campaign, a first for a Greek singer. The collaboration with Pepsi continued in 2001 with a television advertisement airing in May 2001 and a Sold-out tour of seven large Greek cities called the 'Pepsi Tour 2001.
In the summer of 2000, Rouvas, Psinakis and a number of other celebrities went on vacation in Mykonos on a yacht that they were borrowing from a local physician.[citation needed] They were subsequently accused of drug possession, as the yacht was filled with various expensive narcotics. The situation received huge publicity and triggered speculations of whether Rouvas possibly had a drug addiction. The doctor who owned the yacht later admitted that the narcotics belonged to him, however, all of the men were taken into questioning.[citation needed] Wanting to avoid going to court, Rouvas paid bail and did not give importance to the situation. This incident would become one of the most infamous situations in Rouvas' career, as thousands of t-shirts were printed with the popular slogan at the time "Imoun ki ego sto kotero!" ("I was on the yacht too!").

Ola Kala, international exposure, and To Hrono Stamatao (2001–04)

In 2001, Rouvas' collaborated with music producer and songwriter Desmond Child and Phoebus for the CD single "Disco Girl". The single became a hit in Greece, and went platinum.[17] The CD single was also later released in France with an English version of the song penned by Andreas Carlsson. At the start of the winter season, Rouvas sang with Despina Vandi at club Rex, which continued until spring 2002.

In March 2002, Rouvas won the award for "Pop Singer of the Year" at the first annual Arion Awards for the CD single "Disco Girl". At the awards, he sang the single "Ola Kala" (Everything is fine) for the first time. Then in June 2002, Rouvas released his eighth studio album Ola Kala. Rouvas once again collaborated with Desmond Child and Phoebus for the album, along with other Greek songwriters Natalia Germanou and Vangelis Konstantinidis. Ola Kala was produced by France Universal Music division. The album became an instant hit in Greece going gold in eleven days, and platinum in four months.[citation needed] It settled at 2x Platinum later on.[citation needed] The following month after the Greek release, Universal Music released Ola Kala in many international markets in Europe, Middle East and Asia.[citation needed] In September 2002, Rouvas' third Pepsi commercial aired.

Around this era Rouvas made one of his personal relationships public for the first time with Rebecca Wang, an heiress who lived in London, England of Taiwanese origin, whose brother was an acquaintance of Psinakis.[citation needed] Their relationship lasted for nearly two years until they split in 2004. During this relationship Rouvas was reunited with super model Katia Zygouli, whom he had met once prior at an awards ceremony,[citation needed] during the filming of Rouvas' first television advertisement for Vodafone Greece[citation needed] where Zygouli played his girlfriend who became jealous after seeing him pose in a photo with a female fan. They became fully public about their relationship in 2005 after Rouvas' split with Wang and began living together at Rouvas' home in Neo Voutza.

In July 2003, Rouvas furthered his international collaboration under ULM[citation needed] by releasing the CD cover single and music video "Dis lui" in France, originally sung by Mike Brant as a French adaptation of the 1975 Morris Albert song "Feelings". "Dis Lui", as well as a cover of "Feelings", were also added to the international 2003 re-release of Ola Kala.

In April 2003, Rouvas appeared with Antonis Remos together on stage with the evening's honoree, Nana Mouskouri at the Arion Awards. The same year, Rouvas signed a deal with Vodafone Greece to be their spokesperson.[citation needed] For the summer, Rouvas went on tour around Greece,[citation needed] ending with a big concert at Lycabetus on October 11, 2003.

In December 2003, Rouvas released his ninth studio album To Hrono Stamatao (I Stop Time).[citation needed] Songs from the album quickly gained radio airplay[clarification needed], while in the same month, Rouvas started appearances at club Fever with Giorgos Tsalikis for the winter season.[21] A Greek language version of "Feelings" titled "Pes Tis" was released as a single off To Hrono Stamatao and featured the same video as its French and English language international counterparts.

Eurovision Song Contest (2004)
Main article: Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004

Rouvas speaking at a press conference after the Eurovision 2004 Semi-Final. Also featured are F.Y.R. Macedonia's Toše Proeski and Cyprus' Lisa Andreas.

The Greek entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, "Shake It" became one of Rouvas' most successful songs.
In March 2004, Hellenic Radio and Television announced that Rouvas would represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004[22] after a long selection process through the reality show EuroStar had failed.[citation needed] Originally, the winner of the show was to represent the country for that year with composer Nikos Terzis producing the song entry, however, the broadcaster decided to cancel these plans after Rouvas exhibited interest in representing the country.[citation needed] In mid-march, the song entry "Shake It" composed by Nikos Terzis with lyrics by Nektarios Tyrakis, premiered on Greek radios. The song has been described as possessing strong Mediterranean influences which differ from Rouvas' typically western production style.[23] At the end of March, Rouvas performed "Shake It" for the first time live at the third annual Arion Music Awards.[citation needed] At the awards, he also won the award for "Best Pop Singer" for the album To Hrono Stamatao.[24] In mid-April, "Shake It" was released as a CD single and Rouvas began a large promotional tour around Europe for the contest.[25] His album To Hrono Stamatao was also repackaged with the "Shake It" CD single as a bonus. The song peaked at number one on the Greek Airplay charts for many weeks, while it continued to have popularity on the Top 50 Singles chart, remaining at number one for nine consecutive weeks[26] and finally achieving 4x Platinum status[8] and becoming the best selling single of the year and one of the most successful of all time.

Rouvas representing Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 in Istanbul on May 15, 2004.

Rouvas was considered the favorite to win the final contest.[27] On May 12, 2004, Rouvas took part in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final, performing 10th out of 22 in the running order. He passed the semi-final, and on May 15, 2004, he performed 16th out of 24 in the Final. For the stage show, Rouvas had two female dancers with him, and three backing vocalists, whom were the winner of EuroStar and the other two finalists. Fokas Evangelinos, Rouvas' long time choreographer, did the choreography for the stage show.[citation needed] "Shake It" achieved third place in the final.[6] Rouvas generated the greatest interest in the contest from the Greek public in its entire duration, with viewing ratings of 86.7% of the public tuned in, the highest ratings in Greek television history up until that point.[28]

In June 2004, Rouvas performed at the first MAD Video Music Awards where he sang "Shake It".[29] At the awards, he won the award for "Sexiest Appearance" for his music video "Pes Tis" (Tell her).[6] Later, on July 7, Rouvas held a joint concert in Istanbul with Turkish artist and Eurovision Song Contest 2003 winner Sertab Erener in yet another attempt at keeping peace between the two nations.[30] In August, Rouvas appeared carrying the Olympic torch through Panathinaiko Stadium[31] and also performed at the closing ceremony for the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he was lowered on to the stage from the air and sang traditional Greek songs.[4][32]

In fall 2004, Rouvas did a duet with the Russian pop singer Philip Kirkorov of his hit "Se Thelo San Trelos" (I want you like crazy)[citation needed], originally on the album 21os Akatallilos. The single became a radio hit in Russia, reaching number 20 on the Russian Airplay Chart, and a music video was filmed shortly after in Saint Petersburg.[4] Following that, in October 2004, Rouvas was a special guest star at three concerts with Nana Mouskouri, two of which took place in Berlin, Germany, and the other at the Athens Megaro Mousikis.[citation needed] Two months later in December, Rouvas began performances with Giorgos Mazonakis at club Fever for the winter season, with Elena Paparizou as his opening act.[citation needed]
S'eho Erotefthi, Eurovision, and Iparhi Agapi Edo (2005–06)

On April 5, 2005, Rouvas won the award for "CD Single with the Highest Sales of 2004" for "Shake It" at the fourth Arion Music Awards.[citation needed] Rouvas also appeared on stage dancing the tango.[4] The next day, April 6, Rouvas released his tenth studio album S'eho Erotefthi (I'm in love with you) which went platinum in five months, and settled at 3× platinum.[33] With the help of Vodafone Greece as the main sponsors, release parties for the CD were held in Heraklion, Corfu, Thessaloniki, and Athens all on the same day. The songs "S'Eho Erotefti", "Hilia Milia" (Thousands of Miles), "Mila Tis" (Talk to her), "Na M'Agapas" (Love me), and "Cairo" all became radio hits.[6] That same year, Rouvas also won the "World Music Awards" for "Best selling Greek artist" of 2004.[34]

For the winter season of 2005-2006, Rouvas decided to take a break and moved to Los Angeles.[35] On February 14, 2006, he held a concert for Valentine's Day for his fans where he sang some of his popular ballads.[36] The concert was recorded and videotaped, with the main sponsors of the concert being Vodafone Greece and radio station Rythmos 94.9.[4] The live performance was later released as a CD/DVD in April 2006 titled Live Ballads, Rouvas' first live CD/DVD.[36] The CD featured two new studio tracks, "Horis Kardia" (Without a heart) and an English version of "S'Eho Eroteftei" titled "I'm in Love with You".[36]

On April 3, 2006, Rouvas sang "Horis Kardia" (Without a Heart) at the Arion Music Awards, where he also won the award for "Best Pop Album" and "Best Pop Singer" for the album "S'Eho Eroteftei".[37] In the same month, Rouvas renewed his contract with Vodafone Greece[citation needed], while production company Village Roadshow Productions Greece announced that Rouvas will star in their upcoming film.[citation needed]

In May 2006, the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 was held in Athens, Greece since Greece won it the year before.[citation needed] Rouvas was asked by ERT to host with Maria Menounos the semi-final and final in English, Greek and French.[38] At the semi-finals, Rouvas opened the show by singing Katrina and the Waves' song "Love Shine a Light" with Maria Menounos.[citation needed] For the voting intermission, Rouvas performed his song "I'm in Love With You".[39]

On June 14, 2006, Rouvas performed "Agapa Me" (Love me) and "Na M'Agapas" (You should love me) at the third MAD Video Music Awards.[40] Rouvas also won the awards for "Best Video by a Male Artist" for "Na M'Agapas" and "Best Dressed Artist in a Video" for "Mila Tis".[citation needed] That same month, Rouvas also dubbed the Greek version of the Disney movie Cars where he voiced the starring role of Lightning McQueen[citation needed], while on November 13, he began filming his feature film debut Alter Ego.[41]

On December 6, 2006, Rouvas released his eleventh studio album titled Iparhi Agapi Edo (There is love here).[citation needed] The songs "Ego Travo Zori" (I'm having a hard time) and "18 (Iprahi Agapi Edo)" became radio hits,[citation needed] while the song "Ola Gyro Sou Gyrizoun" (Everything revolves around you) composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos became a mega dance hit on Greek radios, and one of the most listened songs of 2007.[citation needed] All three of the songs peaked at number one on the airplay chart.[citation needed] One of the songs, "Mikros Titanikos (Se Latrevo)" (Little Titanic (I adore you)) was written especially for Rouvas by Greece's most successful singer Yiannis Parios, while his son Haris Varthakouris composed the music. The song eventually was released and became a hit[citation needed], being used also to promote Rouvas' live album. The album Iparhi Agapi Edo debuted at number one, and reached 2× platinum.[4]
Alter Ego and This Is My Live (2007)

In March, Rouvas started performances at club Boom in Thessaloniki with Despina Vandi.[42] At the end of April, Rouvas held a big concert in Syntagma Square as part of Vodafone Greece's promotional campaign.[citation needed] On May 10, 2007, the film Alter Ego by Village Roadshow Productions starring Rouvas as Stefanos, the frontman of the rock group Alter Ego, premiered in theatres across Greece.[6] At a budget of €2 million, it was the most expensive productions of all time in Greece,[41][43] but received only moderate success considering its production costs; over 200,000 theatre tickets were sold, which for a typical film is considered a success in the Greek film industry.[citation needed] Rouvas later explained that while the sales were descent, he himself was disappointed with the film's ticket sales and expected much more from the Greek audience.[citation needed] Nevertheless, Rouvas garnered critical acclaim for his acting skills.[44] The film dealt with the themes of young musicians living the rock and roll lifestyle and drug abuse having to face their inner fears and cope with the loss of a loved one.[41] The soundtrack of the film was recorded by the cast and Rouvas, while the theme song to the movie "Zise Ti Zoi" ("Live Life") by Rouvas became a radio hit, reaching the top 10 of the charts.[45] On June 29, 2008, Alter Ego was screened in Los Angeles at a Greek festival.[46] On October 29, Rouvas was awarded his sixth Arion for "Best Pop Song" for "Ola Gyro Sou Gyrizoun", while being nominated for a further five awards, although he was not present at the actual ceremony.[47]

Following the 2007 Greek forest fires, Rouvas returned to Greece to raise money for the victims and embarked on a charity tour.[citation needed] On July 20, he performed in Ptolemaida, Kozani as part of the Expedition for Environment Act Now![48] He also appeared on ANT1 answering phone call donations during a live telethon.[citation needed] On September 10, 2007 he gave a concert at Lycabetus as part of a OPAP's campaign for voluntary blood donations; the tour raised a staggering amount for the victims overall.[citation needed] The concert was also recorded, and released as a CD/DVD on December 12, 2007 titled This Is My Live.[49] In the spring of 2008, Rouvas went on tour with Antonis Remos to Australia and North America.[citation needed]
X Factor, fatherhood, Irthes, Eurovision, and Duress (2008–present)
Main article: Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2009

Rouvas performing at club STARZ in Athens in December 2008.

On May 19, 2008, Rouvas started singing with Peggy Zina at club Politia in Thessaloniki.[citation needed] A month later on June 17, Rouvas performed a new song composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos titled "+ Se Thelo" (And I want you) at the MAD Video Music Awards 2008 as the opening act for the show.[citation needed] His performance was dubbed as the best of the night by the Greek media[citation needed] as it included heavy choreography and elaborate lighting, as well as an overall Japanese inspired theme.[citation needed] The same night he won the award for "Male Artist of the Year" amongst three other nominees.[citation needed] In July 2008, the song was released as a digital single and as a radio promo and became a dance hit.[citation needed] It reached number one on the Greek airplay charts where it remained for 10 weeks, becoming one of the biggest hits of the summer.[citation needed] An official music video using footage from the video music awards was released at the end of the year.[50]

In July 2008 it was announced that Rouvas would be the host for the first season of the Greek version of The X Factor.[51] which would coincide with his performances with the Maggira sisters in a musical show at club STARZ, for the 2008-09 winter season.[52] On December 4, 2008, Rouvas premiered his winter season shows with the Maggira Sisters at club STARZ.[53][54] Rouvas premiered as the presenter on ANT1 on October 24, 2008,[55] On October 25, 2008, Rouvas was Greece's representative in the OGAE Song Contest that was held in Zaragoza, Spain with the hit "Stous 31 Dromous," claiming the third place with 130 points, placing only behind Croatia and United Kingdom.[56]

As of 2007 media reported that Rouvas and Zygouli's relationship was heading for an end as Rouvas had allegedly begun a relationship with model Vanessa Hessler,[3] However, the two later reunited and public announced Zygouli's pregnancy and on November 2, 2008, she gave birth to the couple's first child, a baby girl, who they baptized Anastasia, after her father's real name, on October 18, 2009. The birth of their baby was significant news in Greece and was widely covered by news outlets. The media also emphasized the fact that in their first appearance coming out of the hospital, Rouvas was the one holding the baby.[57][58] In an interview with Eleonora Meleti on Star Channel, Rouvas stated that marriage is not in his plans with Zygouli because even though he understands it is something that has been learned within society, he believes that they are happy enough as they are at the moment.[59] On November 20, 2008, Rouvas released the song he wrote for his daughter, "Irthes" (You arrived).[60] On December 3, 2008, Rouvas released his 12th studio album titled Irthes, written primarily by Dimitris Kontopoulos.[citation needed]

Rouvas had stated in an interview on Nitro Radio in June that he would like to represent Greece in 2009 and on July 15, 2008, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) confirmed that Rouvas would once again be Greece's participant in the Eurovision Song Contest[61] and that Dimitris Kontopoulos will be the composer of the song.[62]

Rouvas on May 10, 2009.

Rouvas performed his three candidate songs at the Greek National Final on February 18, where "This Is Our Night" was the runaway winner with both the jury and the viewers, winning 81% of the vote.[63] The song subsequently debuted at number one on the Greek iTunes chart,[64] while Rouvas officially kicked off his promo tour throughout Europe.[65] While in Russia for his promotional tour, Rouvas gave a large performance at the Kremlin for the celebration of International Woman's Day along with other artists such as 2008 Eurovision entrant Ani Lorak.[citation needed] In the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, Rouvas finished 7th.[citation needed]

On March 27th, Rouvas was appointed by the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and President of ELPIDA (HOPE) Charity Foundation Mrs Marianna Vardinoyannis, as ‘Messenger of Hope’ transferring “the message of love and true giving, in order to motivate and contribute as more as possible, to make the children’s future brighter”, as he mentioned in the Press Conference held at the Foundation’s Children Hostel, showing once more his social conscience.[66]

Rouvas had previously talked about a film he has made in the United States that is due to be released in theaters in early 2009. Rouvas revealed that the film is a haunting psychological thriller that stars Martin Donovan and that the directors and producers of it have also collaborated with actors such as Jennifer Lopez in the films Enough and The Cell, but kept the rest of the information a secret.[67] Rouvas made his Hollywood film debut in the English-language psychological thriller Duress. The film was screened at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival in June 2009.[citation needed] The film will be released theatrically in Greece by Greek mainstream distributor Hollywood Entertainment.[citation needed] It is expected to be released on DVD in the United States.[68]

On July 1, Rouvas performed a sold out concert in support of the environment at the ancienct ruins of Kallimarmaro Stadium in front of an audience of 50,000 people[citation needed], by far the highest attendance ever at the stadium.[citation needed] During the concert—organized by the National Youth Council—Rouvas paid tribute to one of his biggest musical influences, the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson whom had died a few days prior and dedicated the songs "Billie Jean" and the environment-oriented "Earth Song" to Jackson after giving a speech to the public describing Jackson's significance as an entertainer.[69] Rouvas then announced that he would embark on a 10 city summer tour and would announce the dates in the following days.[70]

In October 2009, Rouvas returned as host for the second season of the Greek The X Factor.[71] His first Hollywood film Duress was screened at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival in June.[citation needed] The film will be released theatrically in Greece by Greek mainstream distributor Hollywood Entertainment.[citation needed] It is expected to be released on DVD in the United States.[72]Rouvas is also currently filming his second Greek film, Apla Erotevmeni, where he plays a gigolo.[citation needed] On November 20, Rouvas released his newest single "Spase Ton Hrono".[citation needed] Rouvas has also started filming and producing the Greek film Apla Erotevmeni where he plays the role of a gigolo,[citation needed] as well as having begun work on a new English-language album.[73]

Rouvas' musical roots lie in rock music and as child and young adult he followed mainly the international music scene.[citation needed] Elvis Presley became his biggest musical idol, while he also came to like the music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss, and Queen.[citation needed] Similarities between Presley and Rouvas have been noted by critics; during his STARZ performances, the Maggira Sisters' opening sketch was based on the joke that Presley had become concerned that a popular Greek musician was immitating him.[74] Rouvas also covered Presley's "Suspicious Minds" for his film and soundtrack project Alter Ego. Admittedly a huge fan of Presley, he stated that what he found most impressive about him as a child was "the way that he sang, that he danced, that he felt what he interpreted and what I believed that his audience felt when they heard him".[75] Later on, pop, R&B, and funk influences became more prominent[citation needed] and Michael Jackson became a great influence on many aspects of his vocals, dancing, and views on the music industry and humanitarian issues;[citation needed] following Jackson's death Rouvas dedicated a song to him at his Concert for the Environment and spoke to the public of Jackson's legacy, calling him "one of the most significant singers ever on this planet and the biggest showman that has ever passed by on this planet."[citation needed] He continued to say that Jackson was a "person whose life was a 'thriller', but however complicated his life was, he dedicated it for the good of the children and of the planet. Many people want to remember him for the complex persona that he had, I want to remember him for everything that he gave to us all of these years, and for all the reasons that he inspired us,"[76] igniting ongoing applause from the audience.[77] He has also expressed his liking of George Michael and Michael Bolton.[78] Rouvas has noted that he listens to a broad range of music in order to educate himself and further develop his own style, with these genres ranging from rock, classical, and jazz.[citation needed] He has called "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen as "one of the ten best songs that have ever been written,"[79] while Jackson's "Earth Song" is another favorite, particulary for its environmental message.[76] He has also been influenced by Greek artists outside of his own era and musical style such as Giannis Parios, Marinella, and Nana Mouskouri, whom became a personal mentor to him,[citation needed] and has cited Haris Alexiou[80] and Anna Vissi[81] as the two greatest female artists in Greece.[citation needed]

In addition to musical influences, Rouvas' work has been influenced by literature, Greek art, and spirituality.[citation needed] He has credited his success to his faith, which he associated with more as he got older, saying "I am very thankful. I feel blessed. And everyday I thank God for that. Everyday. That is something that I didn't do in the past. Once, I didn't understand, I didn't value."[82] He has a close personal relations with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople,[83] whom offered to baptize his first-born child.

Rouvas at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004.

Rouvas has mentioned that personal fitness and health play an important role in his life.[citation needed] He has claimed that he does not drink alcohol or smoke, and does not allow anyone to smoke in his dressing room in order to preserve his voice.[7] He has said that being physically fit is not only important to him for the purpose of physical appearance, but also for the purpose of physical health, while it helps improve his psychological state.[67] In order to maintain a good physical condition, Rouvas participates in water-skiing, surfing, tennis, soccer, and skiing, while also taking part in extreme sports, claiming to have sky-dived from 9,000 feet.[7]

Rouvas has been recognized for his acts of philanthropy in the support of numerous charitable organizations and causes, particularly ones directed to children and the environment.[citation needed]
Music and voice

Rouvas is fluent in Greek, English, and French, having presented the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in a mixture of all three languages.[84] He has previously recorded songs in all three, while he has also studied Turkish and Russian phonetically for recordings[citation needed], namely for his 1997 collaboration with Burak Kut in Cyprus and for his Russian duet of his hit "Se Thelo San Trelos" with Philipp Kirkorov called "Kak Sumashedshij Ya", that became a hit in Russia, being recorded in three different versions.
Legacy and influence

Rouvas –as seen raising the Greek flag– has played a primary role in Greek pop music.

Sakis Rouvas has played a major role in the popularization of Western music genres and in the development of pop music in the Greek industry and breaking cultural barriers and being widely credited as the genres primary performer.[85] In 2006, Pavlos Zervas of MusicCorner alleged that Rouvas was the primary performer supporting the pop/dance genre in Greece with such success.[86] Jarmo Siim of the EBU characterized Rouvas as "undoubtedly the ultimate pop star in Greece with great international appeal."[87] In the early 1990s, Rouvas became a dominant figure in Greek music, gaining notoriety for having a mass fanbase, especially with youth, leading to him being recognized as a phenomenon[citation needed], a first in Greek music; he was compared to international single phenomenons Presley and Jackson and the effect was dubbed "Rouvomania", similar to Beatlemania in the UK, while the female population of his fanbase was dubbed "Rouvitsas" by the media.[7] The singularity made Rouvas a media target and popular in character depictions.[citation needed] By the late 1990s, Rouvas had gained the largest fan club of any Greek figure[citation needed] and was dubbed the nation's greatest stage performer after winning the said award continuously at the Pop Corns.[citation needed] His success led to him being called "The Golden Man of the Decade" by Down Town in 1999.[1] By 2004 Rouvas had become the most successful contemporary male artist.[88] Amongst his other achievements are multiple number-one albums and singles, Pop Corn, Arion, and MAD Video Music Awards, and a World Music Award, being one of only four artists recording in Greece to ever be a recipient[citation needed], as well as an estimated record sales of nearly two million albums as of 2008[citation needed], making him one of the most commercially successful Greek artists of all time.[8][89] His distinct musical and performance style has inspired numerous other artists,[90] while his contributions to music have kept him a part of popular culture for nearly two decades. Since the beginning of his career, Rouvas has been considered as analogous to Michael Jackson to Greece.Sakis Rouvas 220px-Sakis_Rouvas_in_Moscow


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