Katerina 'Katy' Garbi (Greek: Κατερίνα "Καίτη" Γαρμπή, pronounced kateˈrina ˈketi ɡarˈbi; born June 8, 1961, in Egaleo, Athens) is a Greek singer active in Greece and Cyprus, with some popularity in Turkey. Her career has spanned over 20 years and is marked by several multi-platinum releases. Garbi participated in the Eurovision Song Contest 1993 for Greece with the song "Ellada, Hora Tou Fotos", taking ninth place. She cemented her popularity in the mid-1990s and was one of the most successful artists of the decade with her albums Arhizo Polemo (1996) and Evaisthisies (1997) becoming two of the best-selling albums of the decade. She struck her biggest commercial success with To Kati (2000) in terms of unit sales. Garbi has won 11 Pop Corn Music Awards, including three for Album of the Year, and one Arion Music Award. On 14 March 2010, Alpha TV ranked her among the top-certified female artists in the nation's phonographic era (since 1960),at 8th place.
Garbi began her singing career with her younger sister, Liana, as the "Garbi Sisters" when she was just 15 years old and Liana 13. Due to their age, their father was against their work as singers, but he did not want to stand in the way of the promising future that he felt their talent offered them. They are most remembered for the backup vocals they provided at Yannis Floriniotis's performances in the early eighties.
Early solo career:
Breaking away from the duo with her sister Liana, Garbi recorded her first solo song "Sain Trope" that quickly became a hit. Her official debut in discography came in 1987, when she appeared as one of the artists on a new compilation album called Ta Deka Dekaria alongside other new singers including Manto, Polina, Sophia Vossou and Laurentis Mahairitsas. In addition to "Sain Trope", contribution also included a duet with Kostas Haritodiplomenos titled "Glyka". With the success of the first album, the second volume was released in 1989 which featured Garbi in two new songs titled "Ah, Afto Mou Aresei" and "Zo Na S'Agapo". These early songs grabbed the attention of Greek music executives, and led her to her first record contract with CBS Records Greece, paving the way for her first studio album in 1989.
1989-1993: The Beginning & Eurovision:
Two years after her recorded music debut, Garbi released her debut personal album titled Prova (English: Rehearsal) in 1989. In 1990 and 1991 she released her second and third studio albums: Gyalia Karfia (English: Glass and nails) and Entalma Silepseos (English: Arrest warrant), respectively. Both albums fared well and allowed her to rise in the ranks of the Greek music scene.
By 1992, Garbi released her fourth album Tou Feggariou Anapnoes (English: The Breaths of the Moon). Garbi took on a more pop approach to her music, faring well with audience as she would gain her first certification when the album went gold.
In 1993, she accepted the offer to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 1993 with the song "Ellada, Hora Tou Fotos", where she stirred up controversy in the Greek media due to the slitted blue dress she wore. She was placed 9th with 64 points.
1994-1997: Further Success:
Following her highly publicized participation at Eurovision, Garbi began unleashing hit albums that reached platinum and two platinum certifications, including the platinum album Os Ton Paradeiso (English: Until paradise) and the twice platinum album Atofio Hrysafi (English: Pure gold) in 1994. During that time, Garbi released a duet with her then boyfriend Dionysis Schoinas, who made her a marriage proposal live in front of a national TV audience while promoting the song on Mega Channel's show Bravo hosted by Roula Koromila years later.
In 1996, Garbi released Arhizo Polemo (English: I'm starting a war), which was eventually certified 3× platinum. In 1997, Garbi followed up her success by releasing her eighth studio album titled Evaisthisies (English: Sensibilities) which very soon reached 3× platinum status as well. The album included a duet with rising singer Antonis Remos on the song "Asimfonia Haraktiron" (English: Personality Clash). That same year, Garbi also performed at Radio City Music Hall on May 9, 1997. From 1994 to 1997, Garbi won eight Pop Corn Greek Music Awards. Her 1994, 1996, and 1997 releases were awarded as the best albums in each year at the Pop Corn Greek Music Awards.
1998-1999: Christmas With Katy & Doro Theou:
For Christmas 1998, Garbi created a Christmas album of famous Christmas carols titled Hristougenna Me Tin Katy (English: Christmas With Katy) all adapted with Greek lyrics by Eleni Giannatsoulia. The album had been a wish by Garbi for many years. Hristouyenna Me Tin Katy is a collaboration with well-known Greek children's choir of Spiros Labros, while the internationally known tenor Konstantinos Paliatsaras is also featured on one track. Since its release in 1998, sales of the album have increased with the coming of each Christmas season. In fact, although it was popular during the time of its release, it was not until 2002 when it gained its gold certification, four years after its release.
1999 saw the release of Garbi's platinum album Doro Theou (English: Gift of God) as a dedication to her newborn baby boy Dimitris. Backup vocals by fellow singer Antonis Remos where provided on the song "Anisos Agonas", as well as the vocals of Pashalis Terzis featured on "Sta Deka Metra". Singles from the album included "Doro Theou", "Agkires", and "Aponomi Dikeosinis".
2000-2001: To Kati, Anna Vissi & Ti Theloune Ta Matia Sou:
In 2000, Garbi released her eleventh studio album titled To Kati (English: That something), a double CD with her greatest hits by Phoebus, but it also included several new songs, four of which became hit singles, including her memorable duet with fellow singer Natassa Theodoridou in the song "Epitelous". To Kati was certified 4× platinum, and remains Garbi's best selling album to date.
In the same year, Katy and Phoebus took their national Greek hit "To Kati", to the international OGAE Song Contest. In representing all of Greece with the song, Katy took 5th place with 103 points, behind Sweden, Italy, Turkey and Spain.
After the success of To Kati, Garbi partnered up with fellow Greek singer and friend Anna Vissi for a duet titled "Kalitera I Dio Mas" on Vissi's album Kravgi. The song was a massive radio success, with two music videos being made; Version A and Version B, fun videos that saw Garbi and Vissi lightheartedly playing around as friends. For the winter season of 2000-2001, Garbi appeared with Anna Vissi and boyband One at Club Fever.
On December 15, 2000, Garbi released the maxi single "Ti Theloune Ta Matia Sou" which was certified platinum. "Ti Theloune Ta Matia Sou" featured three new songs and two remixes of the title track which was a collaboration with the popular Greek pop rock band Exis. Kostas Tournas wrote one of the B-side tracks called "Kane To Logariasmo". The music video of the song "Ti Theloune Ta Matia Sou" won an award at the Pop Corn Greek Music Awards.
2001-2003: Apla Ta Pragmata, The Remixes & Emmones Idees:
In 2001, Garbi released her twelfth studio album titled Apla Ta Pragmata (English: Things are simple), a double CD featuring 31 tracks and produced by Yannis Doulamis. The first CD features songs composed by Nikos Terzis, who also had written Garbi's earlier hit single "Pesto M' Ena Fili" as well as a duet with the young duo Antique titled "Einai Adiko Kai Krima". The album included the hits "Viastika" and "Thelo Apopse Na Horepso". Apla Ta Pragmata was certified 2× platinum in Greece and in Cyprus and was awarded the album of the year award at the Pop Corn Greek Music Awards.
In 2002, the EP Remix Plus was released which included four remixes of her hits "Apla ta Pragmata", "Krayon", "Otan se Hreiazomai" and the album version of "Thelo Apopse Na Horepso". During that same year, Sony Music released a non-stop compilation remix CD titled Katy Garbi Hit Mix. She also won an Arion Music Award for Best Folk Female Singer of the Year.
A year later, Garbi released the EP "Mia Kardia" (English: One Heart), which was certified 2× platinum on the Greek Singles Chart. "Mia Kardia" became a hit in Greek clubs, characterized by a mix of sounds including tsifteteli song, a techno-infused club song, a Hindi inspired song, and a duet with Giorgos Tsalikis. A couple of months later, Garbi worked with the group 667 on a song titled "Aeraki" which was included on the group's album. Later on that year Garbi released the album Emmones Idees (English: Obsessive ideas); "Na Pernas", "Andres", "Esena Mono", and a duet with Yiannis Vardis titled "Poso Tha Thela" became hits from the album. A bonus club track titled "Zilia" was also included. A video clip featuring a medley of three of the songs was also made as the album's fourth music video.
Within a week, Emmones Idees had sold over 30,000 units achieving golden certification, heading steadily towards becoming platinum. To celebrate Sony Music and Dewers held an official presentation of the new gold album as well as a multi-platinum award ceremony of Garbi's past albums which had not officially been awarded certification plaques for reaching status sales. The albums and singles awarded were: Mia Kardia (Platinum), Apla Ta Pragmata (2x Platinum), Ti Theloune Ta Matia Sou (Platinum), To Kati (4x Platinum), Doro Theou (Gold), Hristougenna Me Tin Katy (Gold). Following the event, the album was released as a limited edition with bonus DVD material including two music videos, behind-the-scenes, discography and exclusive photos.
2004-2005: Galazio Kai Lefko & Eho Sta Matia Ourano:
In 2004, Garbi released her second EP titled "Galazio Kai Lefko" (English: Blue and white), a title reflecting the national colors of Greece as a dedication to her country. It also featured a new high bass song titled "Katapliktiko" and two remixes of "Esena Mono", which gained airplay and a number one position on the club charts. The "Esena Mono" remixes also gained success in other countries such as Russia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Also included on the EP was a "New Tempo Mix" of "Viastika".
In 2005, Garbi released her moderately successful 14th studio album "Eho Sta Matia Ourano" (English: I Have A Sky In My Eyes)which reached gold status in Greece and Cyprus. The album was written by Christos Dantis and also featured a duet between the two under the title "Spaciba Baby". Other songs that gained radio airplay included "Teleia Kai Pavla", "To Narkotiko Mou", the title track "Eho Sta Matia Ourano" and "Akouse Agori Mou", performing the latter at the 2005 Mad Video Music Awards.
That same year Garbi was a judge on the fourth and last installment of the hit talent music show Fame Story where she presented the song "Isovios Desmos", a duet between her and contestant Stathis Raftopoulos. The song made history as it was the first ever digital download track released in Greece. She also showcased a never before released song by the name of "Lakaki". It also became a radio hit. Later that year Garbi recorded the Greek song "Stohos" composed by popular Turkish singer Nazan Öncel for Planetworks, a dance and electronic label based in Greece, on their album Al Bazaar 3. Her song "Esena Mono" was mixed with the Turkish hit "Leili" by Mokka and became a music video named "Mokka vs. Katy Garbi".
2006-2007: Pos Allazei O Kairos & Live Album:
On October 23, 2006, Garbi released her 15th studio album Pos Allazei O Kairos (English: How the weather changes). It was certified gold and was Garbi's first album after firing her longtime creative director Giannis Doulamis in favor of Giannis Doksas. The title track "Pos Allazei O Kairos" was made into a music video, and became a radio hit.
Earlier in 2006, during an interview with MAD TV presenter Themis Georgantas on his show OK!, Georgantas asked if she was planning to record and release an official live album. Garbi replied that indeed she was planning to and that she wanted it to be recorded at a special, memorable and important place of hers and that a lot of thought would be put into its tracks. Garbi's live album was released on November 29, 2007. It included many of her favorite songs, past hits, and some new tracks. Her expectations were realized when on August 31 when she performed at the Alexis Miniotis theater at an event organized to benefit the victims and families mainly affected by the 2007 Greek forest fires. The guest list included fellow singers Kostas Tournas, Giorgos Lembesis, Vanessa Adamopoulou and Nikitas Kaklamanis. The choice of songs included renditions of classic laïka and memorable songs off her now vast discography.
2008-2009: Kainourgia Ego:
Garbi embarked on an eight-concert mini-tour in North America along with husband Dionysis Schinas and Christos Pazis. Appearances included Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Astoria, Washington DC, Vancouver, Boston, and Tampa. After her North America tour, Garbi went back to Greece where a party was held in celebration of her 20 years in the music industry and also for the gold certification of 18 Hronia Live on March 11, 2008.
In July 2008, Garbi released a dance-pop remix of her old song "Tzini" as a digital download. It was first released in 1990 on her album Gyalia Karfia and penned by Giannis Nikolaou. The song was remixed by Giorgos Alkaios and Dionysis Schinas of Friends Music Factory and is her second digital download only single release after "Isovios Desmos" in 2006.
For the winter season of 2008-2009, Garbi began performances with Notis Sfakianakis at Club Enastron, after years of a rumored collaboration. Garbi and Sfakianakis premiered on November 14, 2008 and performed weekly from Thursday to Sunday until around Easter.
In mid-2008, it was announced that Garbi was working on songs for a new album, entirely penned by Nikos Antipas. The first single from Garbi's seventeenth studio album, titled "Kainourgia Ego" (English: A New Me), is the song "Afto Aksizo", a zeibekiko which was released and performed live at the premier of her performances at Club Enastron.,
The second single from the album was the title track "Kainourgia Ego" which was released to coincide with the release of the album in late December 2008.
On an episode of Mega Star on November 30, 2008, Garbi addressed rumours of her switching record labels, stating that Kainourgia Ego will be the last album she is obligated to release on her current contract with Sony BMG Greece, and that she has given thought to switching to Friends Music Factory, a music label which her husband Dionysis Shinas and his co-partner and fellow singer Giorgos Alkaios have opened and are currently signed to.
Garbi planned to perform 15 shows at Polis Studio as part of the 2009/2010 winter music season titled "Kainourgia Ego". Kainourgia Ego premiered on the 13th of December 2009, opeining its doors every Sunday and Monday to the public in a music scene designed and directed by Vassilis Myrianthopoulos and Olga Laskaratou, with music overseen by Nikos Antipas. Kainourgia Ego at Polis Studio was a success, where Garbi and her guest performers were called back for an encore performance almost every night. However, "Kainourgia Ego" at Polis Studio closed before its due date as a result of disagreements between the venue and the shows production team.
Kainourgia Ego was set to be repackaged with three other songs and a remix with Nikos Antipas continuing the music composition and the three lyricists (GML, R.Roussi, V.Gerothodorou) also writing one of each of the new tracks, however as the production of Garbi's following album was underway, the prepackage was cancelled with its material announced to be included in the new album.
2010-2011: Label Change & Pazl:
On November 3, the lead single "Ta Iheia", originally planned for the repackage of Kainourgia Ego was released through internet music news website Starnews.gr, announcing the 2009 re-release of the album. A photo shoot for the artwork of the album took place on November 7, directed by John Mitropoulos.
In an interview with Love Radio, the station that exclusive premiere of to the first single "Oi Skepseis", Garbi announced that the production of her Pazl was underway. The album will be her second studio album composed by Nikos Antipas, continuing with the genre of previous album Kainourgia Ego which had an alternative yet laiko music style. Three of the album's tracks were originally planned to be incorporated into a repackage of the previous album, however, that project did not materialize and the songs will therefore be individually released as e-singles.
After much speculation, Garbi finally announced her intentions to part ways with Sony Music Greece where she has been for the last 24 years, stating in an interview with Ixos Fm:
...the situation is progressing quietly. I believe all I had to give, I have given, and all they had to give, they have also given. I'm sure that my fans are very pleased with my decision to leave Sony, due to the fact that the last few years, I have not been supported and backed by the label to the extent that is expected. It will be all for the best.
Subsequently in June 2010, "OK" magazine confirmed her label departure as well as the release of a new album composed by Nikos Antipas. The magazine announced that Garbi and Antipas would release two new singles in the summer prior to the album's release, although this did not materialize. In September 2010, Garbi released a remix of her song "Kanourgia Ego".
In January 2011 Katy Garbi announced via her personal Twitter that she's off to shoot a promo music video for her first single to be released later in the month. On 19 February 2011, Garbi's new album, Pazl was digitally released exclusively through major Greek website "In.gr", with users able to download the entire tracklisting as a gift for a limited time. The site also featured an exclusive interview, in which Garbi noted that the album will also be released in CD format in the coming weeks. Following an interview with collaborating lyricist, Manos Eleftheriou, album composer Nikos Antipas announced that the album will be released officially to stores by the end on March. Following the termination of the free promotional giveaway of the album, Garbi later revealed on her official website that the album will be released on her new label Universal Music Greece.
2012-present: Greatest hits, Italian album, Front Seat Records, & Perierges Meres:
On May 2, 2012, Garbi announced via Twitter that she will be releasing a new single during the month of May. It was also announced that Garbi's next project will be performing live at an Athens Cinema, also featuring husband Dionysis Schoinas for the Fall/Winter Season of 2012. In June, the new single was released. It is a cover of an Italian song called "Buona vita" and it is released as a Greek-Italian duet between Katy and Ornella Vanoni. In July, Garbi announced that her upcoming album would be released in the fall and it would be contain some of her older hits as covers in Italian. In November the author and producer Alberto Zeppieri invited Katy to fly to Italy, in a recording studio in Milan. A few weeks later was released a whole album in Italian, whit important artists as Ornella Vanoni, Toto Cutugno and Carlo Marrale.
In December 2012, Garbi signed onto Front Seat Records, a label launched by Sony Music Greece executive Giannis Doxas. A new single by Garbi titled "Pio Pano Apo Sena" was released by her former longtime label, Sony Music Greece, under the Front Seat Records imprint. This label change signaled an end to her recent label change with Universal Music Greece. The single also marked a return for Garbi to the laïko style of Greek commercial music, with the track being composed by Vasilis Gabrilidis, and by lyricist Thanos Papanicolaou in a collaboration with Giannis Doxas, all notable for commercial Greek music. Doxas had previously written songs for Garbi's albums such as Os Ton Paradeiso, Arhizo Polemo and most recently Emmones Idees in 2003, while he also served as A&R on her album Pos Allazei O Kairos. The track premiered on December 10 on Sfera Radio, during an interview with Garbi held for 'Greek Music Week'. Garbi stated that the single will be one of two new tracks from her upcoming 'Best Of' compilation album to released by Sony Music Greece in the coming weeks. The double CD "Apo Kardias (Best 2013)" was released as a covermount with Espresso magazine on March 23, 2013, followed by a retail release on April 18, 2013. She also confirmed the release of a concert DVD of her performance at Athens Odeon Cinema complex in Kosmopolis earlier in the year.
Shortly after the release of her greatest hits album, Katy announced that the Italian album (titled "Buona Vita") will be released in Italy on 8 June 2013 by Egea Records, following a collaboration with Italian composer and producer Alberto Zeppieri in Milan, Italy. The album features covers of Italian songs such as the duet with Ornella Vanoni "Buona Vita" and with Carlo Marrale fron Matia Bazar "Ti Sento_Se Nioto", but also covers of Katy's past hits like "Anemos" (2006), "Kainourgia Ego" (2008), "Hamena" & "Tha melanholiso" (1996).
Garbi performed her past super-hit "Ierosylia" in a new version at 10th MVMA concert along with Nikiforos and Rec. In July, 2013, Katy Garbi announced that in September she will release her new single once more in collaboration with Vasilis Gavriilidis and Thanos Papanikolaou. On September 23, Katy Garbi released her first single, titled "Stin adeia sou karekla" from her latest album which was released in December 2013, via lampsi fm. This song is a tsifteteli like her old hits and marks after "pio pano apo sena" her return to laiko style for good. Two months later, on November 20, 2013 Katy released her second single from her album, titled "Anemodarmena ipsi" and after two days the videoclip of the song was released via Katy's YouTube channel.
On December 10, 2013 the full-length studio album "Perierges Meres" was released by Minos EMI under the Front Seat label. Following the closure of Sony Music Greece in July 2013, Giannis Doxas moved his label Front Seat Records to Minos EMI shortly after, making Minos EMI a new major label home for Garbi.
Garbi and fellow Greek singer Dionisis Schinas dated for a lengthy period during the early '90s, including 1993 when Garbi participated in a duet with him. Rumors began to surface that the duet put them in something a lot deeper than a normal business collaboration, however in the coming months, they were to take separate paths and continue on with their solo careers. In the time after they both were seeing other people, Dionisis was seen various times with Greek singer Elli Kokkinou who was entering into the music industry. They soon broke up and on May 4, 1997, (after a live wedding proposal) Garbi married singer Dionisis Schinas and on November 11, 1999, the couple had their first child together, a baby boy.
Garbi has been involved in many fund-raising acts for Greece, holding numerous concerts for homeless children, the "Erithros Stavros" of Greece and sick children of Athens hospital. She also held many concerts for international countries for the Red Cross in many countries. She has contributed to Live Aid concerts along with other well-known Greek singers for numerous causes. This has added to her popularity. Recently she has devoted a concert to the fire victims of Greece (2007), where all the money would be used as charity for the victims.
"It is our obligation to offer what we can. It is impossible to find a single Greek who is not bent over from the human pain and the size of destruction. I shared my desire to help the victims with the mayor of the city of Egaleo, and he supported me in every way. The concert will take place in the theater of Egaleo, and all the money will be given to aid the victims. So, on Friday, at 21:30 local time, we will all be waiting for you to come there."
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license