He is a star of national quality and not just a pop idol / poster for hysteric teenagers, with a look that is more outgoing and cool than ever, Sakis seems to be walking the road of success steadier than ever. He has taken his career in his own hands (with the help of a few select associates and the support of his record company) he studies and plans his every move carefully. The long – standing or better yet the “duration” in Greek music scene, as he well knows is the toughest challenge. Apart from his personal glamour and star quality, Sakis seems to be having, in a very large degree, the most important quality that will declare you a winner in show business: the infamous “Know How”, something that very few artists seen to have nowadays, where stars have a very short expiration date. I am pleasantly surprised to realize that myself, while I watch him during the photo shoot. He is politely, using his star status, to stay in control of the situation. He examines in details the “environment” of every photo, he checks the Polaroid snapshots with the experience of someone who has worked in fashion and he spots all the shots that are “missing” that certain something. How did he manage to put to use all the experience he has gained? “In order to manage and promote your career you have to know your field” he tells me. “ I started very young in a field that I knew nothing about and because everything happened so fast, and there was so much noise going around my name, at first I was very scarred and hesitated a lot. Today I am in a position to know things pretty well so I can have control. The longer you do this job, the more you learn about various aspects of it that at first you didn’t even dream of. For starters you learn more about yourself. If you don’t evolve everything else is useless. I like this philosophical conversation with Sakis. A lot of people (myself included sometimes) imagine that Sakis doesn’t have a will, he is speechless in his glamorous prison and is always directed by other “masterminds”. Sakis, you can feel it, has matured and his every move reminds you of an experienced showman and not a hesitant teenager, like before.
Besides, he has already realized that himself: “All this time in life and show biz and the collective experience has changed me deeply. I am as a matter of fact 15 years more mature and calmer in all the areas of my life. From the way I use my voice to the way I communicate with the people. Maturity helps you do things better: the more you know exactly who you are, the easier it becomes to do anything. And in your way”
These are simple straight statements, full of positive energy (at least that’s the way he says them) and with a true (I am almost certain) nobility that convinces you that you are dealing with a man a lot more normal than you would expect from the “legend” that is known as Sakis. His eccentricities begin and end on stage, the extreme element is completely out of his logic and actions. No matter how much you want every idol to have a “dark side”, some dirty or spicy details that would lessen the glamour, when you have Sakis in front of you there is no room for that. He has a mixture of a child’s innocence and a teenager’s enthusiasm, which leaves you no choice. “Exceptional talent, good psychology. What else in necessary for the maintenance of an impressive success?” I ask him. “You need good associates no matter how much you have learned yourself. Not even I with my extensive experience can do everything. The talks, for instance about the finance and the practical matters when I am appearing in a club, does not suit me. I prefer to leave that to others who can do it better than I. Also I allow myself to make mistakes. If you don’t stumble a bit on your mistakes, you will never discover anything about yourself”.
Sakis is human! The difficult times, as far as Sakis public image is concerned (because we know nothing about his personal life) have to do with publication in tabloids, endless rumors and small disappearances followed by impressive comebacks. It is very natural to be treated like that by the media if you are a star of that caliber.
The thing that none knows (because “Sakis” has been an unknown territory when it comes to his personal life who is covered in mystery like the one that covers say, Mylene Farmer or Michael Jackson), is how deals with all these. The certain thing is that in every occasion Sakis had the “showbiz” wisdom to avoid action while the matter was still “hot”. He never confirmed or denied anything and he never acted out of panic. Every attempt to end his career was in the end unsuccessful: “I have a sure proof plan when dealing with situations like those. I believe in people’s instinct and that keeps me cool”, he tells me. But is it possible not to feel bad or awkward, I insist, when the media invade your privacy? Is that human? Are you human or not, Sakis? “Of course I have felt awkward. I have worried with situations that were out of my control. It’s a feeling like when you are on a stadium and things suddenly get ugly, situation get out of hand and there is nothing you can do about it. Believe me I have felt everything. I am only human, after all!” he tells me with a smile. I finally hear the words of a man who operates without an auto – pilot. “Naturally I have gone through some rough spots but over the years I learned to remain calm and handle these things. When I entered the showbiz, I came from a healthy and civilized environment, the world of professional athletes that had completely different codes of behavior. The adjustment was tough. I was suddenly somewhere completely opposite from what I was used to and terrible things were being said and printed about me. I had no idea how these things work or how to handle it … I was very awkward and anxious, and I am not ashamed to admit, was wondering what I ever did to deserve such hostility. But fortunately I realized that something that “spontaneous” can’t change everything, it can’t really change who someone is and I had to deal with it. If you manage to stay true to yourself from some point on you are almost invincible!”.
How does he deal with people’s curiosity about the spicy details of his life, his relationship with Katia and the rest of the gossip – report? “I am very relaxed”, he replies. “I believe that the world doesn’t see this as real news. They have fun with it but they don’t form an opinion. It’s like going to a comedy to have a good time while they watch it. But that is that. Their opinion about the person that is being laughed at doesn’t change, I have realized that often enough and after so many years in showbiz that gives me great pleasure”
I ask him how is it that such an overdose of admiration doesn’t trap you. There are lots of examples of artists who got “burnt” because of excessive fame. He has an answer: “Naturally there where people who lost their balance after a huge success but let’s not forget that in my case fame didn’t happen overnight. As time went by I learnt to control the shock waves of admiration. I wasn’t made in a season and that turned to my advantage”.
The (almost) natural lifestyle of Sakis
The image of such a successful person is closely linked to discipline. “Mr. Shake It” has, according to people in his field lots of it: “Discipline was part of my life from a very early age because of sports. I knew in time what it meant as well as what hard work is. So success at a very early age didn’t find me un - prepared”. But doesn’t the other side, the one we are all imagining, where Sakis is trapped in a show – off life, exists? “It goes without saying that many times I have rebelled against all that discipline. But I know that I am the one who has made a choice, so I can’t really speak of sacrifices in my personal life etc. When I blocked out, I simply found out a way to unblock myself” he tells me laughing.
Did going abroad worked as an unblocking? “It was a huge step! Starting out new things is something that makes you look deeper in you and explore your potentials and limits, something that I absolutely need to feel alive. That’s how the experience of going abroad worked for me. The different standards that they use there, makes you feel like you start over from scratch. What happened to me had nothing to do with the anxiety I felt when I started in Greece. Right now I experience the whole thing on a completely different level. On moments like that you realize how much you have changed over the years”. Nobody however can imagine Sakis living a “normal”, according to his age, life. I tell him so but he doesn’t see it that way, he considers his life completely normal, maybe with some special circumstances due to his work. The one who looks from outside trying to confirm what he has imagined is making a mistake. He has gone clubbing but has he ever truly stayed out all night like other men his age? “Yes of course! Lots of times! What do you think I am? I enjoy staying out and when I get a chance I don’t let it pass me by. And in those moments it doesn’t matter a bit who I am or how everyone sees me. Naturally when I am abroad where I am freer, I really give it all! When I am having fun, I am having FUN!’ Are there in his pop and glossy life moments where like all males act out? Does he for instance watch soccer? “I watch without exception all the National Soccer team’s games. When I was a kid I was a fan of Corfu’s team. When I grew up and joined the national gymnastics team, I didn’t have time for soccer. But now it’s different. I am a fan of every Greek national team that goes abroad, I never miss Champions League. There are all these moments in my life, believe me”.
Smiling I remind him some of his old stylistic choices in a time when all the boys wore their heir long and had forelocks that hid their eyes. He assures me that he is the kind of person that laughs a lot with himself and his past. “I have laughed a lot with myself, and I like it when my friends laugh with me and my goofs! And they do that a lot!”, and his laugh shows that he means it.
“The day before yesterday I was watching some moments from the beginning of my career with long hair banging myself on stage and I laughed my head of. I really liked what I was doing back then, I went on stage and everything else was obliterated. I was elsewhere, I had no idea what was going on around me. That was how excited I was”.
In the world of Sakis there are no good guys and bad guys, or at least he avoids using such definite characterizations. He doesn’t, when I ask him, wish to remember negative people and situations. He refuses to become a victim of his myth. Everything, according to Sakis, work based on people’s energy. “I believe in what people give out regardless what they say, what they send forth in the environment. When I sense an energy that I don’t like I try to contain it as much as possible. When you don’t receive positive energy from people around you, your work and even your life is seen through different eyes”. His plans for his new career are already set. Does he get anxious now that he turned from a pop star for teenagers to massive star symbol? “I don’t understand terms like the anxiety of success and other such things that people ask me. All those things that we – successful stars – have to deal with are just challenges when we communicate with the public. When we are doing something so unique, why should we be anxious? Everything is a challenge. Even if one of your career moves is not so successful, what difference does it make? The world will not come to an end. There are no secrets or infallible ways when you play the game of interacting with the public. The chemistry between a star and his audience is like a sexual encounter. And sexual encounters are not always the same”.
Magazine: Status, January 2006