Adam Tsarouhis is definitely not the kind of artist that you could call “the typical Greek singer”. We love his songs for his vintage mood that he channels so skillfully in his music, for the romance but above all for the respect and dignity that he radiates having managed to become loved by the Greek audience and not only! His recent success with his cover of Celine Dion’s classic, “Just Walk Away”, presented him with his first big hit outside the Greek boarders, but primarily it was the firestarter for a brand new album that is recorded entirety in English for the first time in his career so far!
“Stay With You” is the E.P. with which Adam Tsarouhis introduces himself to a wider audience. With strong feelings of soothing familiarity and nostalgia, we refer to a body of work that can undoubtedly charm any listener! But how did he get here? How did he make the decision to release a record in English and how does he feel about the success of his new songs?
Adam Tsarouhis, with disarming honesty and a huge smile, answered all these and many more, in an interview he granted exclusively to SounDarts.gr!
Recently we watched your live perfomance at Gazarte’s terrace along with your musicians. What do you have to tell us about this evening?
Thank you for starting this interview with this question because I still have the energy and everything I experienced at the presentation of my new album at Gazarte’s terrace. For me it was probably the best live of my life because I decided not only to present my new songs but also to play exclusively tracks that I like and love, without making any discounts for what I wanted.
Your team, your musicians were all very special! How did you end up together?
I’ve been playing with these musicians for many years, so for me it is very important! We’ve been playing together for seven years with most of them. For me it’s very important working in a team because that’s how you can create a sound. In general, I personally work better when I feel safe and secure with people. In that sense I can unfold more. They are my friends, not just partners!
For your setlist-selections, it is stated that this is “your personal Jukebox”. What can “unite” George Michael with Dakis and Michael Bublé for you?
As I mentioned in the first question, I chose exclusively music and songs that I love. I chose among many different genres that I listen to –because I don’t listen to just one genre, there are many genres that I love– and then I chose among my favorite artists. George Michael is a person who has marked my childhood, because I started as a fan of Wham! and continued as a fan of his solo career. Bublé is an artist that I admire and I’ve seen him live in London. I really like his energy. His music is both pop and jazz, it has something in the middle that I really like. I think that’s something we have in common. Dakis is a Greek artist that I like very much, as well as Vogiatzis -I didn’t cover any songs of Vogiatzis though-. I made the selections among artists that I love very much and songs that have marked me throught the years.
When did music enter your life and what was the need that motivated you to create your own music?
My dad is a singer, so from a very young age, there was a lot of stimulation in the house! I listened to him playing music, watched rehearsals, but he belongs to a completely different repertoire. However, we would sit together and he would pick up his guitar, we were talking. Around the age of 12 I expressed to him my desire to get involved with singing. At first he was shocked because I had never sang at home openly in front of him. I was embarrassed. I would sing when there was no one at home and I would do “full concerts”. For example, I was singing, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me”, which is why I was so moved at the concert because it was the piece that I was “throwing concerts” with in the kitchen. So I started at 12 and at his urging. He said “okay do it if you want. It’s hard, but you’ll go to the conservatory”. That’s how I slowly started getting involved in music and singing. Then I got a scholarship, went to America and had musical lessons. When I got back, I collaborated with some people in some musicals, but my need to express myself through my own music was born because the part of doing musical even though I liked it and I did it, -I gained a lot of knowledge and experience, I made acquaintances and I also developed my stage performance as well as an artist- but I’m not an actor, I’m not interested in being in a show and playing something very specific or singing something very specific. The first time I sang live was in a bar in Pagrati. I played my own show and by doing that I realized that I wanted to do my own songs too. That’s how I decided to make my own music. Unfortunately I don’t write music but I wanted to find people to write what I would vision.
You recently released the single “Stay With You” written by Panagiotis Charalambopoulos. What was the inspiration behind it? What was your vision for this song?
I don’t know what Panagiotis was thinking, but I will tell you what I asked him to write for me. We have collaborated on other tracks together and I told him I was missing a ballad. I explained to him that I wanted it to be in a George Michael style, a little closer to the style of “Kissing a Fool” or “Different Corner”, to be romantic, to be in that style. I don’t know what inspired him, but the reference was George Michael for sure.
How did you feel while recording it in the studio?
Very much in love, in a sense that helped me a lot to make images of the things that I’ve experienced and bring them into the song.
Tonight, your first English album will be released, which also has the title “Stay With You”. How did you decide to make a recording in English?
This album for me is a personal bet with myself because, as I told you before, I was afraid to do what I really wanted. Having already released a Greek album in 2015 and some singles, I didn’t want to release something in English all of a sudden. Everyone just expected that (english album) from me.
Indeed! I was expecting it too, but why do you think this expectation was born from your audience?
I’ll tell you why… because you don’t call me the most “typical” Greek singer, keeping in mind of what I play. If you remove the lyrics, it’s closer to foreign productions, the instrumental and the way they are presented. So I think I just found the strength and I just did it. In this album I feel much more mature and confident in my perfomance, doing what I want!
But what was the occasion that made you sing in English?
Initially there was that fear I told you about before. The occasion was the cover of “Just Walk Away”, which gave me the courage to do it! I suddenly decided during the quarantine to have fun and I saw that what I was having fun with was successful a great deal. Initially it went to No.1 on itunes in Sweden, Austria, to No.26 in Spain and Russia. In addition, Zucca Radio picked it up and made two very nice remixes.
But why did you have this fear?
You know what? Many times when we love something too much, we place it too high and you say “is this something that I can do?”. That’s why I was afraid at first. I’ll tell you very honestly, I used to watch artists like George Michael, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder and I thought “these guys are gods to me”, but I found the courage to do what I like. What gave me the strength to do it was the arrangement because suddenly it started to be played everywhere, in clubs, in cafes, on radios like Zucca Radio that supported it a lot -I want to thank Giannis Mitsokapa and his team, who embraced it and introduced it to the public. So this thing slowly started to evolve among the djs. This essentially enforced me to make the English album.
Why did you choose to cover this Celine Dion song?
I just had an idea during the quarantine, to make this song a little more latin, a little more ambient, because it’s a power-ballad. So I was thinking that I wanted it to be a little more different, because now a man would cover it. I wanted it to be more loungey, quieter, and initially it wasn’t even made on the condition that it would be released. I did it with the intention of releasing it through my channel, I would just record it. But when they sent me the arrangement by Giorgos Dinakos and Phoebus Bozas, I liked it and I thought “I should shoot a music video for this”, and then I thought “I should I release it” and so on. I mean, I couldn’t believe what would follow at all. Now it is also icluded in the compilation “Slow Down with Chillout, Vol. 2 (Hotel Tools & Health”, which is already realesed worldwide.
Now let’s talk a little about your recent Greek creations. Your song “Toso Poli” was heard in the tv series “I gi tis elias”. How did this collaboration come about?
This song was heard in some episodes of the series. I’m very happy about this track because when they sent it to me it reminded me a bit of the 70’s and it was a bit influenced by Jack Savoretti, who had just released his last album, “Europiana”, which was a bit more Mediterranean. Then the music editor of the series happened to hear it because I knew him (he had also been involved in music in the past and we had done together the backing vocals for Austria’s participation in EuroVoice in 2010). So I sent it to him, it suited him for some scenes and he played it 2-3 times in the series.
Apart from your music choices are you vintage in your life too?
I am very vintage! I am very romantic, sentimental and traditional! In general, I am a very relational person. I’m a bit retro.
If you really had to choose a handful of songs to define your life, which ones would they be and why?
One would be “A Song for you” by Donny Hathaway. I love him! He has one of the most beautiful male voices for me, I really like the color of his voice and it’s a very emotional track which I like a lot. Also “Kissing a Fool” by George Michael, “Overjoyed” by Stevie Wonder, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John…
It is a fact that the music industry has changed. The internet and social media is one of the main reasons. How do you deal with this reality? According to you, what are the advantages and disadvantages of belonging to this generation?
I love social media and the reason I love it is because you have this immediacy. You can communicate with the people who listen to your music and they tell you their opinion, whatever it is, good or bad, to get immediate feedback of your work. This helps to get rid of the record companies a little bit, not to need them so much. On the other hand, the bad thing is that there is too much information and some things that are very beautiful can get lost in all this. There is this speed, which is nice, but the information fades too quickly… I remember in my early years, music videos and songs were a great deal. An artist would release a song and it would keep us busy for a long time. Now the songs have a short life-duration and once something is released, it is lost.
Speaking of the new generation, which artists stand out for you and why?
As for Greeks, I really like Katerine Duska and Leon of Athens, they do very beautiful things together. Monsieur Minimal, my friend Penny Baltatzi, George Perris. As for foreigners, I really like Jack Savoretti and Sam Smith.
What would be a dream-collaboration for you?
With Michael Buble without a second thought
What’s your motto in life?
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