Despina Vandi (originally Despina Malea; born July 22, 1969, Tipigen, Düsseldorf, Germany) is a very successful Greek female singer having sold almost one million records in Greece alone. She has been dubbed in interviews and publications of her country as 'the ultimate pop star' and the 'only Greek Star capable of an international career'. Despina has worked with ALL the big-namers of Greek contemporary pop music and her shows (mainly at Rex Music Theater) are heralded by the press as 'the best show in town'. She is the mother of one and a half year old Melina Nikolaidis, and wife to Demis Nikolaidis, ex international footballer and recent President of AEK FC.
Personal Life and Success in Singing
Although born in Germany, her family was from Kavala, Greece, where she and her family moved back to when Despina was six years old. As a result, she did not learn German unlike the rest of her family. She went on to study psychology, philosophy and education at the University of Thessaloniki.
In 2003 she embarked on an international career, something Greek performers have had little success in accomplishing. Her first three international singles, Gia (2003), Opa Opa (2004) and Come Along Now (2005) entered the charts around the world, something that had not been achieved for decades by a Greek artist. Her first internationally-distributed albums are entitled Gia and Come Along Now.
Her work has been remixed by celebrated global DJs and producers, such as Armand Van Helden, Milk & Sugar, Nick Skitz, Roger Sanchez, Junior Vasquez, Pete Tong, Bass Bumpers, DJ Gregory, Level K, XTM, Minimal Chic and Highpass amongst others.
Vandi achieved a level of success on dance radio in the U.S.A., which is uncommon for either foreign musicians or techno musicians. Prominent dance and rhythmic stations across America have supported both of her singles. She was also the first Greek female artist ever to enter the Billboard US Hot Club Play Chart and the first Greek artist to enter the UK Singles Chart for many years.
Her records Gia and Opa Opa have been Records of The Week on BBC Radio 1's dance shows. Despina Vandi has also won many international awards.
2006 starts off promising as it has been announced that Ministry of Sound (Despina's European label) will present the world with the praised sensational & sparkly video-clip of Despina's 'Jambi' on the 23rd of January, 2006, at this years Midem Festival in Cannes.
- Gela Mou (1994) (sales of over 10,000)
- Esena Perimeno (1996) (sales of over 18,000)
- Deka Endoles (1997) (double platinum, sales of over 100,000)
- Profities (triple platinum, sales of over 150,000)
- Gia (5 times platinum, sales of over 250,000)
- Stin Avli tou Paradisou (platinum, sales of over 75,000)
- Special Edition (double platinum, sales of over 80,000)
- Spania (CD single, platinum, sales of over 30,000)
- Ypofero (CD single, 6 times platinum, sales of over 120,000, the most successful single of all time in Greece, awarded by Richard Branson of Virgin)
- Ante Gia (CD single, double platinum, sales of over 40,000)
- Gia (CD single, gold, sales of over 10,000)
- Opa Opa (CD single) (sales of over 8,000)
- Come Along Now (CD single, platinum, sales of over 30,000, official song of the 2004 Olympics Coca Cola Campaign)
- Jambi (CD single, to be released world wide in the first half of 2006)
Compilations and Miscellaneous
- The Best (of) (gold, sales of over 30,000)
- Gia Collector's Edition (Geia + Ante Geia) (5 x Platinum, sales of over 250,000)
- Live (platinum, sales of over 40,000)
- Ta Laika tis Despinas
- Despina Vandi Ballads
- Despina Vandi Dance
Local sales (not counting international sales) total approximately 920,000 in eleven years.