Interview by: Debi Dodson, SheUnlimited.com / Daily Confection
SheUnlimited.com / Daily Confection recently had the chance to talk with Niko:
Q. Hi Niko. It is an honor to speak with you. Tell us a little about the beginning, when the soul of Niko started to take flight.
It was when I was 18. I fell madly in love, she was my first girlfriend. Suddenly, the lover in me was awakened and unleashed! I began discovering many things in myself such as my gift for writing, photography, a deeper part of my musical gift, an artistic side I had never expressed, a romantic side… I wrote poetry, beautiful (mostly melancholic) love songs, starting thinking for myself and moving toward the path of being true to who I was.
At the age of 22, while alone at my apartment one evening, I had a spiritual experience that changed me forever. I realized my destiny was to touch the world! And that it would occur through my artistic expressions. From that moment, I have never been the same.
I am driven, determined and relentless in the pursuit of my dream. I have been on a search for truth and on a journey of self discovery that has taken me around the world. I am a warrior on a mission with every intention of fulfilling my purpose for being here – to bring a message of hope and love to mankind. At all costs. And the fact that I am having this interview is proof that it is coming to pass. Not nearly as soon as I might have thought, but it is happening. Blood sweat and tears, concurred fears, the changing of my site, countless sleepless nights. I do stand before you now, I take a humble bow, I give my all in hopes to see, that we will all rise up and simply BE!
Q. How do you think your music can change the world?
Very simply, through its sprit and message. My music speaks for itself. It is spreading across the world at an exponential rate not because I am personally spreading it, it is alive. I am both honored and humbled by this. But it is EXACTLY what I saw would happen that evening in my apartment. Here are two invaluable things I learned from one of my greatest mentors: “Say what you see and you will see what you have said.” “You will be what you see.”
Q. The heartfelt, passionate strains of your songs are inspiring and soothing; more like poetry. What comes first, the words or the melody?
My lyrics are often inspired by the sound of a musical progression, I’ll do something on the piano or guitar and within myself I will hear words or a certain phrase. This is the most common way that I write all of my songs.
Now this leads me to share with you what it is that actually inspires me to play a progression in the first place…I would summarize this answer by saying “Life!” 🙂 It might be the laughter of a child, a friend in need, pleasant or painful memories, dreams, happiness, frustrations. Nature. I write little songs for our animals here at “Freetown” (the property where most of the team lives). Traveling and being in other places far away stirs things up in me – the sights, the smells, the sounds of another culture and land. Sound inspires me. I will hear something like a car engine cranking up or the horn of a train or the wind blowing through the trees and it will actually inspire a melody or lyric or chord progression in me. Also, just sitting down at my piano inspires me. Most every time I sit to play, something fresh and new comes out. Sometimes it’s a song while other times it’s an idea or a melody that later becomes a song. And the hope of my music touching the world, that inspires me deeply. It is important that we always have hope in our hearts for through hope we find inspiration to fulfill our dreams. The content of my lyrics tend to focus on positive things, I like knowing that my songs are helping people and helping to bring light into this world. If I can do this, then when I breathe my last breath I will have peace in knowing I fulfilled my purpose on this earth.
Q. I would include your music in a meditation routine; would that surprise you?
Not at all. As a matter of fact, some of the songs on the Journey Within album were used on a CD that accompanied a book on meditation written by a guy in Maui. Many people write to tell me that my music is peaceful and relaxing. I am glad my music brings a calm energy to a not so calm world. Knowing that people are in their cars and in living rooms unwinding to “Niko” brings a big smile to my face! : )
Q. Living in Nashville, the country music capital of the world, how have you kept from being influenced by the genre?
Well, I think it’s all in there, inside of me. And it comes shining through in strange ways. For example, in the song “Joy!” (which no one would say had an inkling of a country sound), there is a thick “country” sounding vocal, during the chorus of the second part of the song. You cannot hear it so much when it’s mixed in with everything else, but I put it in there because I felt inspired to do so and I loved the way it made the chorus sound. If I was to take it out and you listened to the song, you would suddenly feel like something was missing. Whether or not you knew what that something was is a different story. 🙂
I grew up in Texas, predominantly on country music – Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Marty Robins… So, it’s in my blood and culture. It shines through a little on “Together Forever Whenever”. I think that in time to come, you will hear more “country” sounds in my music. But like with all my compositions, I compose by inspiration, so if tomorrow I feel “country” comin’ on, then I promise you will get a country Niko song! Maybe I’ll do a duet with Gretchen Wilson, she lives nearby. 🙂
Q. You are very in tune with your Greek heritage. Tell us a little about your upbringing.
I was born in Houston Texas, I came out with cowboy boots on and a rope in my hands. Just kidding! Actually, the typical “Texan” stereotype is not so accurate. Not everyone has boots and a cowboy hat. 🙂 But I will say this, I think there are more pickup trucks in Texas than there are in the whole world combined!!! Texans love their trucks! 🙂
I am very in touch with my Greek roots. My father, Kimon, was born and raised on the island of Samos in Greece. My mother, Faye, is from Texas. An interesting match wouldn’t you say? *laughing* It was a strange mix of culture at times while growing up but I wouldn’t trade anything for it! My dad was always eating his yogurt with honey (such a Greek thing to do!) and my mom was always frying chicken and baking things (such a Texan thing to do!). And I was right in the middle of it all just soaking it up like a sponge. It added much richness to my life. 🙂
I was raised with a great spiritual awareness, with far more emphasis on spiritual things than earthly things. Faith hope and love were at the foundation of my upbringing and are the solid ground I stand on today.
Q. I know your management company is working hard to take the next step in getting you worldwide recognition. Are there any plans close to fruition? Tours, record deals, etc?
Yes. Yes. And yes. Boy oh boy am I happy to give that answer, finally! 🙂 Ummm, we are talking every day about touring and we plan to tour in 2008, all of where we are not sure just yet but Asia is definitely a hot topic. Europe too! As far as a record deal goes…there are few options in the air… with all the changes happening in today’s world through the internet, everything has changed! And especially for independent artists! The power is finally back in our hands and in the hands of the people! That opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me and my music and its global distribution. Already, through the internet alone and no radio promotions, I have listeners in over 100 countries! That was unheard of just a few years ago. But it is happening and it is happening fast! Truly an exciting time to be alive!
Q. Your song, “Joy” was used in a local Nashville commercial and garnered an outstanding reply. You’ve stated a plan to take it on a national level? How will this happen, since the commercial was for a local merchant?
It was filmed with a national audience in mind. The only thing “local” about it is the content of the graphics, which can easily be changed for each dental office that wishes to license the commercial. We are still putting together the paperwork and such but there has been interest expressed from several states and we are anticipating it to go national next year.
Q. OK, Niko, I’m sure everyone would like to know: What’s the secret to inner love and worldwide peace?
Becoming childlike again.
Not childISH, but childLIKE – which is all about humility, forgiveness, not judging people (by their gender, skin color or cultural differences), being creative, playful, adventurous and imaginative! Letting go of sarcasm, deception and all the things we hide behind to confuse the truth. As small children, we did not “hate” people, we did not feel worry.
I watch small children and I’m just amazed, I ask myself “When do we lose THAT! And WHY!? For what and for who?!?” Of course, everyone has a different story – some were abused, some where fatherless and the list goes on. The good thing is that we can get it back! We can return to incense and find inner love and peace.
Just today someone wrote to tell me how much the lyrics of my song “My Son” touched them, “Grasp what is truth with all your might, become YOU, again!”
Thank you for this interview! Great questions! ~ Niko
Direct link to this interview…
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