NEW YORK – Her spirited music gets you up on the dance floor and her sultry style – she is also a trained dancer – takes your breath away. She speaks five languages and her five-octave voice can seduce listeners in seven, but rising international pop music start Angelina Alexon is all Greek, and proud of it.
She loves Greek literature and expresses the passion of the two places were Zorba the Greek rocked the world: Macedonia – she was born a raised in Thessaloniki – and Crete, where she also has roots. Her mother’s name was Alexakis.
With “Amor,” her Latin hit that reached the tops of charts and won her a lot of air time in some parts of the country last year, Alexon has arrived musically – physically she came only a couple of years ago, although no one would believe it from her flawless American accent.
“Music brought me here” she said when asked about her journey.
“I’m a pop singer,” she says simply, both her identity in an ever more frightening world hungry for escape, and her achievement in a tough business.
She takes full advantage of the fact that she can write lyrics in several languages and keeps plugged into world affairs.
Her favorite writers are Greek. She loves Odysseas Elytis and delights in the Greek poems set to music by great composers like Manos Hadjidakis and Mikis Theodorakis.
“I love the classic songs, but not the ones they are turning out now,” she says, displaying taste and maturity beyond her years.
“I love quality, and rebetika are my favorites.”
Jazz is also a favorite genre. “You can improvise and do interesting things with your voice,” she said.
That five-octave voice lets her do a lot of things.
“I am very proud to be Greek and I am very religious and I try to use that symbolism in my songs,” a challenge in the hyper-secular western world frightened by fanaticism from the East.
She was among the millions around the world who were shaken up by the Paris terrorist attacks, but she turned her grief into songs.
“Nouvelle Journee” can be heard on Facebook accompanied by moving images from the candle light vigils and memorials that were created in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy.
More clips can be seen at: facebook.com/angelina.alexon
Although her father and his mother have good voices, Angelina is the only musician in her family.
“But I was always into creating music and singing since I was a little girl,” she told TNH.
Like most Greek parents of very talented children they tried to steer her clear of any path that did not lead to becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Alexon loves children, so being a pediatrician was not unattractive to her, but she did everything in her power to get to the music world.
”They didn’t allow me to have an instrument in the house, but I had a little xylophone in my room and I played it quietly and started creating little melodies,” which her grandmother adored and remembered for a long time.
By the time she was 13 she began writing songs in English inspired by artists like Britney Spears.
Like Lady Gaga, whom she admires, Alexon writes the music and lyrics of the songs she performs, although she is also an excellent cover artist.
When she was asked if she had a poetry writing phase she told TNH “I actually won a poetry competition in Greece.”
She is also a good athlete – winning gold and silver medals for handball and basketball respectively – and a fine dancer.
“I have very good training in Latin and ballroom dancing,” she said. Some performances highlight dancing and others spotlight her band.
She gathers different musicians depending on the venue and city. “I have people in New York and Miami and we have good chemistry,” she said.
Travel is one of her delights. Santorini is one of her favorite Greek islands, but she wants to visit many more, and in the states she likes LA and Miami.
Her favorite cities include Barcelona, where she lived for a year “and of course, Paris.”
Alexon has gotten used to the fast pace of Manhattan, telling TNH “New York taught me to be very competitive, but the first moment I set foot in America it felt like home.”
She is excited about an upcoming performance in New Jersey, where she lives, and about some new material she is working on, and she is in negotiations for some new projects
Her manager, Paul Insinna, has been in the business for 25 years – he was once the lawyer for Michael Jackson’s manager – and Alexon deeply appreciates his guidance. An Italian, he gets her. ”Una facia una razza,” she said.
Sounds like a great title for a new song.