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Blondie.G.D a.k.a Xanthi Georgakopoulou Ntavou has been quite busy these past few weeks. The always inspiring musician/singer/songwriter just released her new song called “I’m staying” and its accompanying music video, is back in the studio recording her second album, while working as a copywriter at a marketing and advertising company as well as a DJ.
Blondie.G.D’s passion for music began early and when she moved to Athens to study English Language and Literature, she became the lead singer of the “Blondie.G.D and the Pilots” band (the band was named City Fox in the following years), performing in a number of gigs and venues in Athens. In 2010 she started recording her first solo album “Dramatic Theories”, produced by King Elephant (Baby Guru). Later on, she became more involved in the music industry, studying Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and Sound Engineering.
Blondie.G.D is about to return with a new album “that might not please some who prefer my older melodic style”.
In the following interview, Blondie.G.D talks about her journey in music, her dissertation on Spotify and its services and her new song.
When did your interest in composing and producing music start?
Blondie.G.D: My interest started at an early age, around 14-15 when I quit piano lessons and started composing my own songs. Music production came to my life quite recently. After producing my first album with King Elephant in 2012 I realized I had so many ideas but had to communicate them in vague terms for them to be executed. Two years later I decided I needed to study sound engineering and so I did. I just had to be more independent.
You started performing with your band “Blondie.G.D and the Pilots” in live music stages in Athens and at the same time participated in other relevant projects. What was your motivation behind this continuing activity?
Blondie.G.D: I was the typical university student. I had plenty of time and lots of energy and all I wanted was to have fun. Maybe it was also because I was doing something no one expected me to do and that was pretty exciting. My love for music was something I rarely discussed with anyone back in my hometown.
You hold a master’s degree in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy and your dissertation focused on Spotify and its services. Why did you choose this subject and what are the benefits of Spotify in the music industry?
Blondie.G.D: I chose this subject as I took the Music Pathway and also studied Music Management. I had recently discovered Spotify and found it extremely useful discovery-wise. I had also read articles by musicians like David Byrne who condemned it and thought ‘Wait. This is the evolution of the music industry. The CDs did not do well at first either. We need to give this a chance.” Things have changed whether we like it or not. It’s easier for more and more people to make music and publish their music with or without Spotify. So why not get paid, even if poorly for starters? The less we fight it, the more subscibers Spotify gets and the faster the royalties increase. So the benefits, such as easy promotion and easy access to one’s discography, are plenty for those who don’t have a big following. Maybe they’re not as many for the big artists but that’s how music is now until this streaming model achieves its ideal form. Until then, vinyl sells are on the rise and gigs will always be a good revenue for all artists. I realize, however, that things are more complicated than this but you can’t have that discussion in one paragraph!
Speaking of music streaming services, what are the best online music platforms for artists to present their work and get started, in your opinion?
Blondie.G.D: Well, the more places you get your music on the better. You don’t have to choose one platform. You can pick as many as you like on the digital distribution service you have subscribed to. If you are an independent artist then that’s what you need to have as a priority. Get a good distributor.
“I’m staying” is the name of your new song. What is the story behind it?
Blondie.G.D: “I’m staying” is a declaration of love, a love that looks on tempests and is never shaken, as Shakespeare would put it. Even though I do speak of real feelings when I write songs, there are some things I exaggerate to emphasize the intensity of those feelings. For example I say “I’ve never felt this way before so I always think it’s time to go”, when I’m not the kind of person that flees from their emotions.
Your second album is coming out in November. What can we expect from it?
Blondie.G.D: I hope it’s ready in November… I’m really slow when it comes to getting my shit together, especially now that I have a full-time job in advertisement. But when my album is ready you can expect something less subtle than before, something more in your face, that might not please some who prefer my older melodic style. Most of the songs will have a strong electronic feel.
Between your first album “Dramatic Theories” released in 2013 and the upcoming one, do you feel you have changed regarding the composing process?
Blondie.G.D: Nope. My composing process has remained the same. I usually make some beats and tunes first and then improvise using my voice. The thing is though that this album has simpler lyrics. I kept many of the first improvised ones. I liked the rawness of it all and stood by it.
What are your strongest music influences and what are your guilty pleasures to listen to?
Blondie.G.D: I have been musically influenced like most people at so many different stages of my life and by so many artists that I honestly couldn’t say which ones have actually had the biggest impact on me. The medium I use each time can show all the different influences. When I play the guitar I have a tendency to write more ‘rock’ tunes. Now that I make pop music I can say that anything pop from J.Lo to Lilly Allen has had some effect. Weirdly, my most trip hop tunes that people say remind them of Portishead are what I enjoy making the most and yet I’ve never listened to a lot of trip hop music.
I used to have guilty pleasures but got rid of the guilt. I love old-school pop like Britney, TLC, Backstreet Boys and Five, Destiny’s Child and Mariah Carey. The regulars at the bars I’ve played music at know this very well.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Blondie.G.D: I couldn’t say. I might be making music or I might have chosen to focus on my current job as a copywriter which is really creative and fun. The thing is I like everything I do, I like writing as much as I like making music. And I also like relaxing and sleeping so whatever I do I just hope I have enough time for the latter.