What drew you to the music industry?
My love for music! There is no greater driving force. I could not imagine myself being occupied professionally with anything other than music, it would constrain me, drown me. My heart told me to follow this path, despite the difficulties I would face, the adversity, the uncertainty, the disappointments, because I would not be happy with anything else, I would not be myself. When I was still taking exams or when I first started composing and gave my demos, I always received nice and supportive comments and I was trusted by professionals, doors were opened for me and so I entered more into the music industry. I started making records and it was the nicest thing to be sent beautiful messages by people from all corners of the earth. I wanted my music to “fly” and take its course.
Who are you inspired by?
As I received a classical musical education from a very young age, I have been greatly inspired by the composers of the classical and romantic period (I must mention Beethoven as the composer I love the most), but also by composers of electronic music, a genre I love very much. However, beyond the many masterpieces of various composers that inspired me, my main inspiration comes from images, memories, feelings that I experience for a situation that will move me. Memories leap into my mind at that moment totally naturally and I narrate it to the world with music.
What’s an average day like for you?
I never miss during the day to study for a few hours on the piano, to practice. I then walk on my own in some garden or by the river, this relaxes me, revitalizes me and gives me strength. Afterwards I shut myself in the studio and I write music for a project e.g. for a film or an album or to prepare a concert and time passes quickly during the day. My everyday life is not different from that of a young person of our time. I will go out during the week to see my friends, to attend concerts, to go to the cinema, theater, to visit exhibitions.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
I wouldn’t say so. When I write music, it reflects my emotional state and what I want is to touch the soul of the people who listen to it. There is no need for them to elaborate or interpret it, the magic would be lost. I would like the melodies to become one with their feelings.
Do you collaborate with others? What is that process?
I have a permanent orchestral group (violin, cello, flute, bass clarinet) with me performing on the piano and synthesizer respectively and, depending on the needs of an album or concert, I will add an instrument or I will ask singers to interpret. In my last album «In My Dream» it was the first time I collaborated with a guitar player, because I introduced an electric guitar in one track. In a previous album and in singles, as well as in my concerts, I collaborated with pop and opera singers and that was a really beautiful experience. Before I work with someone, I always listen to samples of their work and we do an introductory rehearsal. It is a key test for anyone I will work with to be a skilled musician, on both the professional and personal levels.
How you interact with and respond to fans?
Communication with fans is achieved with the social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) when I release a musical piece or a photograph or anything else. They comment and I respond to their comments, unless I missed some. I particularly love communicating with people after each concert. It is so nice when people come and talk to me about how they felt during the concert. To know that something special connected us. I always want to meet after the end of a performance the people who come and listen to me and to devote the time to talk to them, to meet them and thank them.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?
I cannot think of a least favorite part in my work. Because even if it existed, I would make it so that it would become interesting and I would love it. However the most favorite part is the moment we perform with the orchestral group my music and what I have composed for each musical instrument comes alive, either at rehearsals or in concerts.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
Of course! I always feel very anxious before I get on stage. I keep thinking I will get used to it but each time is like the first time. But once I am on stage and I see the people and I am next to my instrument, that’s when everything stops. All anxiety goes and I enjoy the moment, to the point that I do not want it to end. That’s where time stops for me and my connection with the public starts because the energy I receive the moment I play is unique and magical.
Could you share with us your favorite performance venues?
Each performance is unique and I cannot distinguish whether in France or Greece. But I will tell you about my last performance in the United States. It was a life’s dream for me to play there. Το a public where no one knew me, in another continent. The American public was very warm and showed me how much they liked my music. A wonderful feeling! I will tell you that I left having made really nice acquaintances and friendships with whom I have kept in touch and I am sure I will meet again. I feel very lucky to have lived such an experience.
How do you deal with those days of covid_19?
It is a very difficult period for all of us. Confinement is not an easy matter, it must be managed with great patience and fortitude. I am used to staying confined in a place for long periods for my work. Now of course it is different because it is imposed on me. But I stay indoors and I try to keep under control all I can and to focus on the present. Since I do not go out at all, I have more time to work with myself on my spiritual development. This on top of my work that I continue with more or less the same rhythm. I watch films, talk with friends. I do all I can to render my hours and days nicer.
Tell us more about your latest music and the difference between this and the previous albums
« In My Dream » is my latest album and it is in a pure neoclassical style, always with the same combination of instruments (piano, violin, cello, flute, bass clarinet) that I used in the other albums, with the difference that in this latest one I have not included singing, it is only orchestral and I have also not used any electronic sounds and rhythms. But the common denominator of all the albums I have made is their strong cinematic character. In « In My Dream » I have used for the first time an electric guitar in a track and it fitted very nicely. I worked with musicians from Paris and Athens, production was made in Paris and it is available digitally on all electronic platforms and as a physical product at https://mariakotrotsou.bandcamp.com/
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
It may sound cliché but it is something I follow right from when I started: patience, persistence and a strong stomach!