Έλενα Παπαρίζου (credited as Helena Paparizou on her occasional international releases), born 31 January 1982 in Borås, Västergötland, Sweden, is a popular Greek singer, best known in Europe for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2005 for Greece with the song "My Number One".
Paparizou, determined to succeed with and fulfill her dreams of being an entertainer, joined childhood friend and fellow Swede-Greek Nikos Panagiotidis, at the age of seventeen, to form Antique. The duo quickly signed their first record label contract, with the Swedish record label Bonnier.
Despite the group's success, Antique broke up in 2003 on good terms, as the band had "run its natural course," and Paparizou set about going solo. She signed a solo recording contract with Sony Music and, in December 2003, released her first solo single, "Anapantites Klisis" (later released in English as "I Don't Want You Here Anymore"), a song written especially for her by singer and songwriter Christos Dantis. The single sales were strong, and it received a Gold certification in Greece.
Because of her popularity in Greece, where she ended up spending more and more time, Paparizou was approached to represent the country for a second time in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. She performed "My Number One", "Let's Get Wild", and "OK" on the Greek national final, with "My Number One"' winning the televote. There was also a song called "The Light in Our Soul", but it was later disqualified due to it being released prior to the contest, thus breaking the rules. The song went onto win the final contest (with backing vocals provided by Cypriot former Eurovision-participant Alex Panayi), and brought the contest to Greece for 2006 for the first time in the contest's history.
Paparizou re-released her first album Protereotita in Greece, with a second CD containing her Eurovision entrants, and English versions to previous songs, such as "I Don't Want You Here Anymore", "Antithesis", "okay" and "If You Believe Me"' as well as a ballad version of ("Ehis Kero na Mou Feris") "Louloudia". The 10 track CD was also available separately for those who already owned her debut album. A 16-track compilation of the Eurovision entrants and songs from her debut album was also released in Scandinavia, Switzerland and Turkey under the title, My Number One.
Paparizou's second album in Greek, Yparhi Logos, was released in Greece on April 12, 2006. The album consists of two discs, the first featuring 14 brand new tracks, including "Mambo!" and the second featuring nine live tracks from her Mad Secret Concert (including covers of "Don't Speak" by No Doubt, "Outside" by George Michael, "Smooth Operator" by Sade, "Like a Prayer" by Madonna and "Just Walk Away" by Céline Dion) as well as five new non-album tracks, and a remix of the title track, which is the second single. The album reached the platinum status.
On May 20, 2006, Elena graced the stage of Eurovision once more, to sing her song "My Number One" as the opening act. She later on sang "Mambo!", and then presented the award to the winners Lordi.
Across Europe, "Mambo!" started to be heard and seen; the video has premiered in France and is now showing in Poland and Romania. The song has peaked at number 1 on the RmF radio show for a successful two weeks and also peaked at number 1 on Polish Radio Kolor for many weeks. In Belgium, "Mambo!" has peaked at number 18. In Sweden, "Mambo!" has peaked at 5.
On 22 August, "My Number One" was released in the United States by Moda Records. The CD single contains 10 mixes and the radio edit. "Mambo!" will be released there later on in the year along with remixes.
Shortly the video for "Mambo!" will start airing in the United Kingdom. The promo of Mambo! has already been released and it will be released on 13th November by UK record company AATW (All Around The World).You can also find a remix of Mambo! on the new "dancemania" cd which was released in the United Kingdom.
Helena's song "Heroes" was released in Sweden and Finland on August 7 and was the official song of the 2006 European Athletics Championship in Gothenburg, where she also performed it at the event. On 22 August, My Number One was released in the United States by Moda Records. The CD single contains 10 mixes and the radio edit, peaking at number 8 on the Bilboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. "Mambo!" was also planned to be released there, however, as this single and the others of Elena's album did not earn much success outside of Sweden, the release of "Mambo!" in the US by Moda became an aborted project. Thus, the single was made available only through the US iTunes store.
Helena's debut English-language album The Game of Love, was released in some parts of Europe and in South Africa in late 2006. In Greece and Cyprus, the album quickly went to number one and received platinum certifications in both countries. The album was helped by the promotion of the singles which were previously released from Iparhi Logos, while the new single from the album "Teardrops" peaked at number one in Greece. However, the album failed to impress in other markets, failing to chart in many countries. Originally, the album was to be released all over Europe and possibly in the US as an attempt at an international career for Paparizou, however, the release date of the album was pushed back numerous times, and by April 2007 the album had been released in only 14 countries. The album contains six songs from her Greek-language album Iparhi Logos translated into English, with a further 6 new songs and a cover of Manos Hadjidakis. While "Teardrops" was the third single from the album in Greece, "The Game of Love" was scheduled to be the next international single, set for release in spring of 2007, however, the release of the single in Sweden was cancelled as the album's second single "Gigolo" peaked at number 11, becoming her second lowest charting single there, while the album itself peaked at number 18 in Sweden, becoming her lowest charting album there since Antique's debut album, Mera Me Ti Mera.
On 21 January 2007, Paparizou was awarded with a "European Border Breaker Award" at the MIDEM Festival in Cannes, France. She was one of the ten new artists who received the awards which were created by the European Union in 2003 and are given every year to ten artists who manage to have success with their first album abroad. Elena won the award for her success with her first solo album Protereotita: Euro-Edition.
In May 2007, Paparizou re-released her album Iparhi Logos as Iparhi Logos: Platinum Edition with the seven track CD Single "Fos" including the hit "Mazi Sou". Helena released "Fos" as a separate CD Single four days before the re-packaging. "Fos", went straight to number one in Greece following its release, making it Paparizou's fourth number one hit there.. The CD single was certified gold in its 12th week charting at number 2.
She released the song "3 is a magic number" in Sweden as part of a Swedish television advertisement for a mobile phone company. The song was originally a hit from Blind Melon back in 1996. The song immediately entered the charts in Sweden and stayed there for five weeks peaking at number 18.
In fall 2007, Helena Paparizou released a new song titled "To Fili Tis Zois" in Greece as the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The song stayed at the number one position on iTunes Greece for many weeks. It also reached number one on the official "Nielsen Greece Top 20 Chart" for Radio Airplay for five weeks. The song was a big hit on Greek radios, and became one of the most listened songs of 2007. Paparizou also recorded a duet with popular TV presenter Nikos Aliagas called "I Zilia Monaksia" for his album "Nikos Aliagas & Friends: Rendez-Vous", which was certified gold. The song is a cover of the Pascal Obispo's hit " L' envie D' Aimer".
In early 2007, Helena had signed a contract to be the new face of Nokia Greece. For the promotion, Paparizou released the song "Ola Einai Mousiki" as part of their new advertising campaign for 2008. In January 2008, along with Sony BMG Greece, she teamed up with retailer Plaisio and released a special edition MP4 player called "MP4 Total Helena" (2GB) by Turbo-X. The MP4 player comes with a special "Greatest Hits compilation with 12 songs and five music videos only available with the purchase of the MP4 player.
In early 2008, Helena Paparizou started work on her Greek album Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, which was released on June 12, 2008.The first single off of the album, "Porta Gia Ton Ourano", was released on April 8, 2008, while the second single, "I Kardia Sou Petra", was released on June 2, 2008 to radio stations all over the Greece. The album received gold certification only one week after its release and Paparizou was awarded the gold disc on June 25, 2008. On July 7, 2008 the album reached number one on the Greek Albums Chart.
In July 2008, Helena launched a summer tour, her first large-scale tour, by visiting 29 cities all over Greece to promote the album. In an interview with Santorini FM, Paparizou announced that the tour would be shown on Alpha TV in December 2008.In July, Helena once again collaborated with retailer Plaisio through a promotion that included a special edition MP4 player called "TH4" MP4 by Turbo-X. The MP4 player came preloaded with Paparizou's new album, two bonus music videos and an exclusive backstage video.In August 2008, was also featured on the soundtrack to the Swedish movie Arn- Riket vid vägens slut where she contributed the Swedish language songs "Allt jag vill" and "Genom krig och kärlek", her first Swedish language recordings.
After almost two months, it was announced on September 1, 2008 that the album Vrisko To Logo Na Zo was certified platinum, and Helena received the award at a certification party held on September 16, 2008. On October 23, 2008, Paparizou appeared in Lithuania where she held a concert at the Siemens Arena in Vilnius, attended by approximately 10,000 people. She performed a majority of the set list from her summer tour and also some of her English songs from earlier in her career.
On October 30, 2008, Helena started appearances four nights a week with Pashalis Terzis at club Iera Odos which extended until January 2009.On December 22, 2008, "Pirotehnimata", the third single from Vrisko To Logo Na Zo, was released along with a remix to radio stations, peaking at number 8. Originally scheduled to be released in mid-September, the single's release was pushed back due to continued strong airplay of "I Kardia Sou Petra", which reached number one on the charts. The video clip for "Pirotehnimata" was filmed at Iera Odos in front of the music hall's large LCD screen. A repackaged box set edition of Vrisko To Logo Na Zo was also released as Vrisko To Logo Na Zo: Deluxe Edition on December 22, 2008, and featured the original CD along with a bonus DVD of the summer tour. The summer tour was also released individually on DVD. "Eisai I Foni" was released along with a music video on February 25, 2009 as the fourth single from Vrisko To Logo Na Zo. The video was produced using Paparizou's performance of the song at Theatro Vrahon "Melina Merkouri" during her 2008 summer tour.
In an interview with Kosmoradio 95.1 during her summer tour, Helena stated that she would soon start work on a new English language album with a release slated for 2010.
Following the end of her performances at Iera Odos in late April, Helena Paparizou moved to club Thalassa on May 14 where she is performing for the summer. On April 10, 2009, Helena Paparizou released the single "Tha 'mai Allios", a new song, not included on her most recent album. It was composed by DonK with lyrics by Eleana Vrahali.
Helena made two commercials,including one for Organics Shampoo and another one for IVI Softdrinks.Helena that summer gave a concert in Paphos (Cyprus) and 7,500 people attented a brilliant performance from her.Helena was going to give a second concert in Heraklion(Crete) at 9th of September but it was cancelled due to the weather conditions.Helena stated at her interview in Ihos Fm,that a new greek album is going to be released at the begging of 2010.Also,according to Helena's official Facebook page,Crete will be the first place of the second summer tour at 2010! Helena came back from her summer holidays and continued her live performances at Thalassa People's Stage with 1550 and also with Loukas Giorkas until the 19th of September.
At 1st of September, MTV Greece announced Helena as one of the five Greek nominees for the Best Greek Act at MTV Europe Music Awards. Helena won for the Best Greek Act and then she was nominated among 23 nominees all over the Europe for the ultimate title of ''Best European Act''. Finally, Helena ended up in 7th place among the 23 nominees.
Now, Helena is on studio for recording her new songs for her upcoming fourth album which will be released the first months of 2010.
She began her career there in 1999 as a member of the duo Antique, while she also worked briefly as a model for a Swedish-Greek brand. After rising to recognition in Greece following its participation in the Eurovision Song Contest 2001, the group based the remainder of its career there until Paparizou embarked on a solo career in 2003 and released her debut album Protereotita (2004), with emphasis on more pop sounds in addition to laïko. In 2005 she won the Eurovision Song Contest for Greece for the first time in the contest's history, with the song "My Number One", significantly contributing to her career. Following the victory, her album peaked at number one on the Greek Albums Chart and was certified double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry of Greece, while she also briefly attempted a career beyond Greece with English-language material, charting in a few countries abroad. Her three subsequent albums Iparhi Logos (2006), The Game of Love (2006) and Vrisko To Logo Na Zo (2008) all peaked at number one in Greece and reached platinum sales. Her fifth studio album, Giro Apo T' Oneiro (2010), was also certified platinum.
Paparizou has also won three Arion Music Awards, a European Border Breakers Award, 15 MAD Video Music Awards—more than any other artist— and an MTV Europe Music Award. On 14 March 2010, prior to the release of her fifth album, Alpha TV ranked her as the 14th top certified female artist in the nation's phonographic era (since 1960), totaling seven platinum and four gold records. Paparizou was the most successful debuting female artist of the 2000s and established herself as one of the top pop artists of the latter half of the decade. As of 2010, she has been certified for the sales of 167 thousand albums, 47.5 thousand singles, and 30 thousand digital downloads by IFPI Greece, in addition to 100 thousand total record sales in Greece as part of Antique, as well as 24 thousand certified albums in Cyprus, and 20 thousand singles in Sweden during her solo career. In 2010, Forbes listed Paparizou as the 21st most powerful and influential celebrity in Greece and fourth highest ranked singer.