By Katherine Skaris
If this song doesn’t seem familiar, then I’m sure you must know “Oti pio omorfo,” played frequently on Blue TV. And if you still don’t know who I’m talking about, do not despair; Stathi Raftopoulo is so quickly sweeping the Greek scene with his voice and charm that you will definitely know him by the end of the summer. I had a chance to sit down and chat with Raftopoulo and was not only charmed by him, but ended up humming his songs the rest of the day as well.
Who is Stathi Raftopoulo? Born in beautiful Rhodes, he began singing at the age of 16, when he was still in High School. “I never really took singing seriously before that, I would only sing at home. One night my friends and I went out to the bouzoukia and someone gave me a mike to sing. After a few days they gave me a job there as a singer.”
It didn’t take long for Raftopoulo to realize that singing was his passion, and he began to look at it as a possible career. He began to sing at small venues in Rhodes and later on, with the support of his family and friends, moved to Athens to further his singing career. His profound interest in music drove him to learn a bit of all the instruments including baglama, tzoura, guitar and the accordion, which was also the first instrument he learned to play at age 7. “Even if I wasn’t a singer I would be doing something in the music business,” Raftopoulo states; his love and interest for music is unquestionable.
In 2006 when Stathi Raftopoulo appeared in Fame Story 4 of ANT1 it was evident that music and song was his forte. He became well known for his version of “Kryfa Monopatia,” and ended the show with a bang by doing a duet with Kaiti Garbi “Isovios Desmos." As soon as the show was over, he was immediately signed with Heaven Music; this is where he got his big break. Phoebus, one of the most famous and leading song writers in Greece, is also a part of Heaven Music. After hearing and seeing Raftopoulo live at Posidonio, Phoebus decided to take him under his wing. He then wrote not 1 song, but the first 3 (he would eventually finish his whole record). This was exceedingly shocking for Phoebus due to the fact that he rarely takes interest in young new singers; evidently Stathi Raftopoulo was someone to take note of. Almost immediately, Raftopoulo became the subject of interest; TV shows and magazines often addressed him as “O Nearos Star” (The Young Star), and “Ena Asteri Genniete” (A Star is Born). And since his 3 song Demo titled “Oti Pio Omorfo” was released, Raftopoulo has appeared as well as sung on Proino Kafe, Kalomeleta Ki Erxete, and Mes Stin Treli Xara. In addition, on May 22, he guest appeared on Gregory Arnaoutoglous’ show on the MEGA channel.
As for what he does in his spare time, Raftopoulo explains “I play guitar, write songs, sing and basically annoy all my neighbors who bang on the door and yell …but sadly I can’t do otherwise; I love music;” and it is a good thing he does. When watching Raftopoulo sing it is apparent that he completely gets swept away with his songs; “love, pain, anger and angst and generally all emotions influence and encompass all my music; it is something magical.”
In the past year Raftopoulo has sung at Posidonio in Athens alongside Niko Kourkouli, Katerina Topazi and Niko Verti. Currently he is sharing the bill with Christos Cholidis and Thelxi. Although his career is just beginning he does want to eventually “have national and international concerts, especially in NY.
The future of Stathi Raftopoulo is looking to be extremely successful. Aside from singing only songs that he would be proud of singing, he goes on by stating that in the future “I want to continuously be moving forward …where I will end up I don’t know.” And with his deep, flawless voice, charm, and amazingly catchy songs, it is hard to see him end up anything but famous, and number 1 in the music scene.
If you haven’t yet purchased the demo “Oti Pio Omorfo,” be sure to pick up pick up his full-length album, music and lyrics by Phoebus, this summer.