Born on February 5th 1964, in Famagusta, Cyprus, Alexia's charismatic nature in music was demonstrated from a very early age. However, the coup d' etat in July 1974 that aimed to overthrow the established government, followed by the Turkish invasion and occupation of the island's north region, forced many people including Alexia, to be displaced from their homes. From that moment on they were refugees in their own country. Despite the harshness and severity of the time, Alexia was encouraged by her family to pursue her dream and explore her promising talent. As a result she was drawn to music at a very young age by performing at music festivals and on television but at the same time she was eager to explore her musical interests through formal training.
Alexia's first "official" entry in the music scene was the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, while she was still in high school. She participated as a member of the group "Island" with the song "Monica", composed by Doros Georgiadis and Stavros Sideras. In 1987 she represented Cyprus in the Eurovision song contest for the second time with the song "Aspro-Mavro," composed by Antros and Maria Papapavlou. ''Aspro-Mavro,'' which came out under the label of Air Music, became platinum in the Scandinavian countries.
Alexia studied for four years at Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts, USA, from where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Performance. During her studies she was a member of the Berklee Gospel Choir for 4 years, initially directed by Lisa Harrigan and later on by Orville Wright. She had the opportunity to meet and be taught by some well known teachers and musicians such as Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Ken Greenhouse, Maggie Scott, Dean Earl, Betty Carter, B.B. King, Gene Puerling, Quincy Jones and the late Arif Mardin.
During her sophomore year, she was chosen by CBS New York to record the theme song for the album ''I am Siam." The soundtrack was composed and arranged by Brian Rothschild and the lyrics were written by Stefan Vienna (Steve Wiener). Another great musician, Larry Fast (Synergy, Peter Gabriel), was the co-producer and co-responsible for the innovative synthesizer sound. "I Am Siam" was produced by David Sonenberg, who was Meatloaf's manager at the time and more recently of the Fugees and the Black-Eyed Peas. "I Am Siam" reached the Billboard's Top 100 and received airplay on the East Coast of the USA.
In her senior year she had the privilege of singing in two big concerts organized by Berklee College of Music and Chick Corea at the Berklee Performance Center, thanks to her teacher Ken Greenhouse, who was head of the voice department. She was among the few students to perform as only one student from each music department was selected to participate. Alexia sang "Hello Brazil," a yet unreleased 15 minute musical piece, composed by Chick Corea especially for that occasion.
Additional contributions to the concerts were made by the great singer/pianist Gayle Moran (Mahavishnu Orchestra). Since then Alexia has maintained close relations with both Chick Corea and Gayle Moran and nine years later she had the opportunity to work together with Chick Corea for her Jazz album "In a Jazz Mood." Part of the album "In a Jazz mood" was recorded at Chick Corea's old studio in Los Angeles, the "Mad Hatter."
After her graduation from Berklee College of Music in 1985, she moved to New York where she performed for several years and gradually became the lead singer of four different Jazz and Fusion bands. Axiom was one of them. Alexia and her bands used to play gigs around Manhattan as New York was at that time one of the most promising places for new artists. The City was booming with creativity and talent.many remarkable musicians, each one with his/her own legacy in music history, were living and creating music in the heart of New York.
Jaco Pastorius, Hiram Bullock, Omar Hakim, Art Blakey, Gil Evans, Kenwood Denard, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Gadd, Tania Maria, Chaka Khan, Phyllis Hyman, Andy Laverne, Danny Gottlieb, the Brecker Brothers, Eliane Elias, Joe Zawinul, Weather Report with Wayne Shorter, Kenny Kirkland, David Sanborn, John Abercrombie are just a few great musicians who have been and are still a source of inspiration for Alexia.
Around the same period of time, she had the opportunity to meet with Lionel Hampton and Wayne Shorter at one of her gigs at Jason's, in Manhattan.
In 1987 Alexia represented Cyprus in the Eurovision song contest for the second time with the song "Aspro-Mavro," thus triggering the beginning of her music career in Greece and Europe. "Aspro-Mavro" was composed by Antros and Maria Papapavlou and under the label of Air Music it became platinum in Greece and the Scandinavian countries.
From the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s she has recorded over 20 albums most of which became gold and platinum. Her debut solo album "Alexia" (released by Polygram) has sold over 300,000 copies since its first release, thus becoming three times platinum.
During this period, she collaborated with great composers, lyricists, artists and musicians from all over the world. To name a few:
Mikis Theodorakis, Kostas Kapnisis, Chick Corea, John Patitucci, Gary Novak, Gayle Moran,Costas Cacoyannis, Linda Bourbon, Antoni Donchev, Andreas Vollenweider, Milva, Peter Massink, Fergus Currie, Christos Christofis, Aristides Mytaras, Marios Meletiou, Claire Angelidou(former minister of Culture and Education of Cyprus), Takis Binis (one of the most well known names of Rembetiko), Christos Filippou, Makis Delaportas (producer and collector-archivist of most old Greek films' soundtrack music), Stamatis Kraounakis, George Hadjinassios, Costas Tournas, Mimis Plessas, Christian Leibl, Costas Haritodiplomenos, George Mitsiggas, Antros and Maria Papapavlou, Brian Rothschild, Stefan Vienna (Steve Weiner) and Larry Fast.
In 1991 she took part in the Eurosong contest, which was held on the island of Corfu, Greece and she won the first place with the song "Ela," composed and orchestrated by one of the most distinguished and prolific Greek composers and pianists Mimis Plessas and lyrics by Loukila Karer.
After collaborating with producer Makis Delaportas and orchestrator late Kostas Kapnisis, she performed "Ta Klassika" (the Classics), another big production with Greek big band and jazz songs from the 1920s to 1960s. The album became three times platinum in Greece and Cyprus. "Ta Klassika" was recorded with the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra and the album includes three duets with Vlassis Bonatsos, Zoi Kouroukli and Rena Vlachopoulou, an icon in the Greek film industry.
In 1994 Alexia performed the lead role in the production "Frank 'n Stein," written and directed by Stavros Sideras. The soundtrack composed by George Hadjinassios, one of Greece's most prominent composers, became Alexia's seventh album "Behind Closed Doors."
In 1996 "Achaeon Akti" was released, an ode to Cyprus, featuring Takis Binis one of the most authentic representatives of "Rebetiko" (the Greek equivalent to blues). The composer of this album was Christos Filippou and the lyricists were Andreas Paraschos and Kostas Fasoulas.
During the same year the album "In a Jazz Mood" came out as well. This acclaimed album was the result of Alexia's collaboration with Chick Corea, John Patitucci, Gary Novak, Gayle Moran, horn-player/orchestrator/composer Peter Massink and Bulgarian pianist/composer/orchestrator Antoni Donchev (Acoustic Version). Two songs from the album "In a Jazz mood," "Spain" and "Soft and Gentle," were recorded at "The Mad Hatter," Chick Corea's old studio in Los Angeles. The rest was completed in Bulgaria and Athens.
In 1997, "Famagusta" was released, an album consisting of narrated poetry and songs, written by the former Minister of Education and Culture of Cyprus Mrs. Claire Angelides and composed by Cypriot composer Marios Meletiou and orchestrated by Rafael Pilarinos. This work was an ode to the town of Famagusta, Cyprus, which has been under the Turkish occupation since 1974. The ancient Greek theatre of Herodus Atticus (the "Herodion") was the site of a benefit concert where the album was presented.
The following year, "Alexia - Mikis Theodorakis" was released, a double album with new approaches to twenty six of Mikis Theodorakis' compositions (settings of poems by Greek poets including Nobel Prize winners Odysseas Elytis and George Seferis). The album includes two duets, one with Mikis Theodorakis and one with Italian singer Milva. Significant contribution to the album was made by Swiss harpist Andreas Vollenweider on two songs.
In 1999 Alexia collaborated with composer/musician Aristides Mytaras, who composed the original music for the contemporary dance performance "The Lady with the Camellias," an adaptation choreographed and directed by Constantinos Rigos. Filippos Koutsaftis was responsible for the light design and theatre theorist Marilena Panayiotopoulou wrote the lyrics. The performance took place at the AMORE theatre in Athens.
In 1995 a concert was held at "Panathinaikon" Stadium (the Kallimarmaron), the site of the first modern Olympic Games, in honor of the world renowned composer Mikis Theodorakis for his 70th birthday. Over 70 of the most notable singers and musicians, including the late Grigoris Bithikotsis and Vicky Mosholiou, performed on the same stage. Alexia had the honor to open the concert with the theme song from the awarded film "Phaedra" directed by Jules Dassin.
Following its release in 1997, the album "Famagusta" was presented at a multi-media live concert under the direction of the late Dimitris Potamitis at the Ancient Greek theatre of Herodus Atticus ("the Herodion"). Greek actors, late Eleni Hadjiargyri, Themis Bazaka, Kostas Kazakos, and Dimitris Potamitis himself, recited excerpts from the album. The Choir and the Orchestra of the Greek National Broadcasting Station (?R?) were conducted by Antonis Kontogeorgiou and Rafael Pilarinos respectively.
In July 1997 Alexia performed at the first "Nicolas Economou Memorial Concert," an International Jazz and Classical Music festival that continues to be held in Cyprus annually as a tribute to the late pianist. The concert took place at the ancient Curium Amphitheatre (Kourion). The festival lasted three days and presented, for the first time in Cyprus Chick Corea, Gary Burton, The Danilo Perez Trio, Kevin Mahogany and Antoni Donchev's Acoustic Trio featuring Peter Massink (Alexia's musicians for over a decade).
In May 2000, she performed for a benefit concert at the Piccadilly Theatre in London, organized by the Lobby for Cyprus, a non-party political, non-sectarian voluntary organization based in the UK with the aim of reuniting Cyprus.
" For "The Road to Ithaca," directed by director/actor Costas Dimitriou (1999), Alexia sang two songs composed by Costas Cacoyannis (pianist/composer/orchestrator/multi-instrumentalist/sound engineer). "The road to Ithaca," lyrics by Mrs. Linda Bourbon Povall and "Never-Never Land" by Zinon Zindilis.
" For "Safe Sex" (1999), directed and written by Michael Reppas and Thanassis Papathanasiou, Alexia sang "Put the blame on Mame" orchestrated by Fergus Currie. The film soundtrack album became platinum.
In an effort to explore new ways of thinking and expression, Alexia devoted part of her time to the study of creative writing with alternative Nobel Prize nominee and feminist activist Christiana Lambrinides. Through a series of workshops over a period of five years, Alexia was able to obtain valuable knowledge on such diverse, yet interrelated concepts, that are directly related to creative expression and writing such as performativity (link), gender studies (link wikipedia), feminist studies (link wikipedia) and art.
During this time she had the opportunity to come across and study the work of many classic authors, theorists and activists like Nobel Prize winner in Literature Toni Morrison, Djuna Barnes, Helene Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Georges Bataille, Louise Bourgeois, Gertrude Stein, Michel Foucault, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton.
Since 2000 Alexia has also been working on the production of her two new albums:
" "Re-Be" is a triple album, which encompasses for the first time Alexia's own music compositions, lyrics, narratives and improvisations.
" The Jazz album ''Birds Have to Fly'', for which Alexia wrote all the lyrics, was composed, orchestrated and performed by horn player Peter Massink.
Both albums will be released by Track7music in Athens, Greece.
Along with the recordings of her new albums, Alexia continued to work on a series of voice improvisations, entitled "Voice Alone," by just using her digital recording device and a simple microphone. The "Voice Alone" series will form part of a broader upcoming project called "The Improvisation Series." The concept of this new project is based on experimental music work, something that Alexia has been working on for many years.
For this project Alexia has been co-improvising and recording with musicians from Athens, Thessalonica, Syria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, New York, Los Angeles, Armenia, Israel and Paris. The project is still in progress and once it's completed it will also be released by Track7music.
Track7inc and Track7music produced and presented the artistic exhibition of Anisa Ashkar (1979, Palestine) and Joseph Dadoune (1975, Israel) with the general title "Purifying Love" at Track7 art space in Athens, Greece.
The exhibition included two original projects that were presented for the first time in Athens, in which Alexia participated through improvised composition, singing and acting. The exhibition was curated by the art theorist Dr. Sania Papa.
The first project, a performance by Anisa Ashkar (as Medusa) and Alexia (as Godess Athina), reinterprets and inverts the myth of Perseus and Medusa, placing it in a contemporary context of conflict and contradictions. The dancer and somatic release instructor Michalis Elpidoforou also took part as Perseus.
The second project was Joseph Dadoune's film "Bunker Buster." which was filmed in the Athens War Museum. All voice improvisations in the film were documented in a limited vinyl edition with the title: "Score No1 in Three Moments of Origin."