Kalomira Sarantis (Greek: Καλομοίρα Σαράντη; born Maria Kalomira Sarantis, January 31, 1985), is a Greek American singer who has achieved recognition in Greece and Cyprus following her participation and win in the Greek talent show Fame Story. She has released four studio albums, represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, and hosted various television shows.
Kalomira, was born Maria Kalomira Carol Sarantis on January 31, 1985 in West Hempstead, New York, United States. Known as Carol in America, her parents are Greek restaurant owners Nikolaos (Nikolla) and Eleni (Helena) Sarantis. She has one sister named Georgia.
Since childhood, Kalomira's dream was to become a pop star. She took part in many extracurricular activities at school including drama productions and musicals. Her favorite instrument was the viola, which she studied for nine years and played in the school orchestra. She was also Miss West Hempstead (Homecoming Queen) at her high school in 2003 and class president for two consecutive years.
On a tip from her cousin Eleni, she entered and won second place at a music contest organized by WBLI Radio. Following her appearance, she opened up several live shows with famous American artists, such as Jessica Simpson, LL Cool J, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Michelle Branch, and Nick Lachey.
Kalomira entered the New York City auditions for Antenna's reality singing competition Fame Story 2, which was a licensed variant of the Star Academy franchise. She was one of two selected from over 200 auditions in New York. Despite speaking primarily English, and not speaking Greek fluently, Kalomira went to Greece after having completed one semester of college at Adelphi University where she was a music major with a scholarship. Kalomira placed first and her professional singing career began. Kalomira won the contest, earned 200,000 Euros and a recording contract with Heaven Music.
List of Fame Story Songs:
Intro - "Μία φορά και ένα καιρό" (Once up on a time),
Week 1 - "Stand by Me" duet with Giorgos Hristou,
Week 2 - "H Γκαρσόνα" (The Waitress) duet with Savvina,
Week 3 - "Γατούλα" (Pussycat),
Week 4 - "Ανάβεις φωτιές" (You are lighting fires) duet with Maro Lytra,
Week 5 - "Dancing Queen" duet with Giorgos Hristou,
Week 6 - "Woman In Love" duet with Maro Lytra,
Week 7 - "Ένα πρωινό" (One morning),
Week 8 - "La Isla Bonita",
Week 9 - "Gucci των Μασάι" (Masai's Gucci) duet with Nikos Mihas,
Week 10 - "Γιατί Φοβάσαι" (Why Are You Afraid),
Week 11 - "Περιττός" (Unnecessary),
Week 12 - "Oops!... I Did It Again",
Week 13 - "Εϊ Καζανόβα" ("Hey Cazanova"),
Finale - "Express Yourself",
2004-2006: The first albums and television:
Kalomira performed in Thessaloniki's FOCUS from July 8 to August 14. While entertaining audiences by night, she was recording her first album by day. Outside of Greece, Kalomira has appeared on NBC's "Today Show" and "Access Hollywood" during the events of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, UPN's Greek Parade where she sang live and was interviewed, Fox News, was in the "Washington Post", "Newsday" and "New York Times" and most currently featured on Oprah for her Eurovision Performance, along with a number of other shows and websites. On September 1, 2004, Kalomira released her 15 track first album Kalomira which went gold. She then toured Greece accompanied by the rest of the "Fame Story" participants with appearances in Athens's "Thalassa". In the same year, she closed her season at the REX studio with Despina Vandi and Thanos Petrelis. Kalomira received good reviews from critics and was awarded "Woman of the Year - Best Newcomer" by Life and Style magazine. Also in 2004, she had a minor credited role in the Greek TV drama series I Lampsi, playing the part of Jennifer, where veteran director Nikos Foskolos compared her to Aliki Vougiouklaki. Also, Kalomira performed twice in Herodium theatre like a surprise cake for Dionysis Savvopoulos's birthday and she sang Marilyn Monroe's song, "Happy Birthday Mr. President".
In 2005, Kalomira released her second album titled Paizeis? (You Playing?) with 12 songs, of which two were written and composed by her. She also agreed to appear with Elli Kokkinou, Andreas Stamos and Constantinos Christoforou at the Piraeus 130 music club. In her program, she included covers of songs such as "Scandalous," "Don't Cha" and "Don't Phunk with My Heart," in addition to songs from her first and second albums. On April 11, 2005 she was a special guest on the first live concert of the first season of Star Academy Bulgaria.
In the fall of 2006, Kalomira became the female co-hostess on the hit Sunday night show Pio Poli Tin Kiriaki alongside Grigoris Arnaoutoglou on Mega Channel. In December, she released her third CD I Kalomira Paei Cinema (Kalomira Goes to the Cinema). It features songs from classic Greek movies which Kalomira re-vamped.
2007-2009: Eurovision Song Contest and new album:
See also: Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 and Secret Combination the Album
At the end of 2007, Heaven Music chose Kalomira to be their contestant in the 2008 National Final to represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. Kalomira picked an R&B style upbeat song with a Greek feel composed by Konstantinos Pantzis with lyrics by Poseidonas Giannopoulos titled "Secret Combination". The song has an "American production" feel to it. On February 27, 2008, Kalomira won the National Final with "Secret Combination" and represented Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008. To promote the song, Kalomira had a pre-Eurovision tour and visited several Eurovision countries throughout March and April.
In the first semi-final, held on May 20, 2008, Kalomira fared well coming in first place while at the Eurovision final, on May 24, she came in third behind Russia and Ukraine with 218 points. In an interview with Eleni Menegaki, she said that her Eurovision participation was the biggest thing that she has done in her career, and that it was also one of the most personal events in her life that will always be remembered with good memories. When asked if she expected to do so well in the competition, she stated that she had always wanted to do well, but above all she wanted the Greek people to be proud of the performance regardless of how well it did. In the same interview, host Eleni Menegaki stated that for her as well as many others, it was one of the most defining points in their view of Kalomira's career to date. This was due to the fact that it displayed her as more of a mature professional performer, distancing her from the innocent little girl image people had associated her with after her participation in Fame Story.
Kalomira announced on her online diary that she recorded her new album during September and October 2007 in Greece. The album, named Secret Combination the Album, was released on May 29, 2008 and contained songs in both Greek and English, including her Eurovision entry "Secret Combination". There is also a bonus rap remix of "Secret Combination" by Master Tempo. The writers are Konstantinos Pantzis, Tasos Vougiatzis and Sunny X.
Kalomira had been in New York for months after Eurovision because of her sister's baby and did not do any promotion for the new album. Later, in an interview with Downtown Magazine, Kalomira's father stated that she was treated "like dirt" by Heaven Music and that she may or may not continue her singing career, but that it was up to her, and she will make her decision some time in August. In response, Makis Pounentis, CEO of Heaven Music, claimed that he was surprised by Kalomira's remarks and couldn't offer an explanation, though he did say that her contract would be honored should she choose to go back and sing again. Despite the rumors claiming that Kalomira had quit singing, she once again returned to the music industry. After a concert upon her return to Greece, she began hosting the Greek version of the game show Big in Japan which took place in Japan and featured 12 contestants.
In 2009, Kalomira performed at various Greek clubs in North America. Some of her concerts included New York City on April 26, Los Angeles on June 25, and Toronto on June 27. She later performed in San Francisco on November 8.
2010-present: Digital Singles & Tours:
In January 2010, it was announced that Kalomira would be featured in a series of advertisements as the main spokesperson promoting Dominos Pizza in Greece. She was also set to return to a TV hosting role, this time for Greek Idol on Alpha TV, but Anta Livitsanou later took her place.
Also in January, Kalomira also announced via her Twitter that she was in the studio recording new music. It was rumored that the single would likely be her last collaboration with Heaven Music as she had decided not to renew her contract upon its lapse in June 2010, adding that she was considering signing instead with songwriter Phoebus' newly founded label. However in March 2010, Kalomira renewed her contract with Heaven Music. Her next single was called "Please Don't Break My Heart" which featured American rapper, Fatman Scoop. The video was filmed in Turkey and the song premiered on Rythmos 94.9.
In June 2011, Kalomira released her most recent and last pop song of Heaven Music, called "This Is The Time'". Her music video premiered in July and it was the sexiest video clip for her career. In the summer, she did a world tour, first in Greece and Cyprus, and after in Arizona and Toronto. On 31 December, Kalomira did a concert for a charite causes, "Bring in 2012 with Kalomira!", for Greek Orthodox people in Washington DC. On 22 February 2012, was released her new single, only for husband's music copmany "Hot Kiss Records LLC", and is called "Other Side Tonight". The song was written by GMoney and Jeremy Beaber. On 2 March, Kalomira presented with Australia's comedian actor Angelo Tsarouchas, a beauty pageant Greek Beauty Pageant - Kalistia 2012 in Canada.
On 17 October 2013, Kalomira came back after her break, as she had given birth to two boys. In March 2014, Kalomira came back to Greece after 2 and a half years since her last appearance. She gave many interviews on television and magazines, and she sang as a guest star with Claydee Lupa the new version of "Secret Combination", in the national final of Greece's entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014.
She started to do a concert tour in USA. The first stop was on 3 June 2014 in a football game for Greece and Nigeria in Philadelphia, where she sang the Greek national anthem and many songs. On 6 June performed for the first time in Baltimore in the concert "St. Nicholas Greek Folk Festival 2014 featuring: Kalomira!". On 23 July, she performed in New York City in the concert "The Loukoumi make a difference foundation". She performed with Anna Vissi, Gloria Gaynor, Constantine Maroulis and Olympia Doukakis.
In a recent interview, Kalomira told that she started her music career when she was eighteen and half years old. She has expressed herself through her music over a span of more than 10 years. Her music describes what has gone through in her life. It was more sort of innocent when she started it and now her music has more maturity as it has grown with her.
In a 2008 interview for the magazine Tahydromos, Kalomira posed in her parents' restaurant and admitted that she became engaged to Greek-American George Bousalis and that she is planning to get married sometime in 2010. Later Kalomira confirmed that she would get married in the United States near where she grew up on September 26, 2010. She further stated that she planned to hold a big party in Greece after the wedding for all her Greek friends who would be unable to make it to the United States. Kalomira married George Bousalis on September 26, 2010 at Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hempstead, New York. The couple welcomed twin boys named Nikos and Demetris on December 14, 2012.