JOHN KAMPOUROPOULOS

by Sherif Awad

JOHN KAMPOUROPOULOS


-I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. Both my parents were musicians; singers, to be precise. My father sang for the National Opera as a basso alongside strong performers of the era (ca. 1965-1970), as well as participating in various church choirs and touring in Europe. My mother collaborated with National Radio, as a solo performer, and toured Europe and Middle East, funded by the Greek Organization for Hellenic Culture; she sang Xenakis, Mitropoulos, and other contemporary composers mostly. So I grew up in a totally musical environment, inspired by two renowned artists, and it wasn’t before too long that I started studying music. As years went by, I accumulated a knowledge strong enough to allow me to start composing my own songs, arrange them and perform them, even when I was still a drummer, long before I switch to singing, my true inclination and solid way of really expressing myself. 

-I 've always been a fan of science fiction movies and TV serials. I was literally raised watching Star Trek, Star Wars, Dune, Battlestar Galactica, but I was a history lover too; I admired all movie milestones, such as Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, Where Eagles Dare, A Bridge Too Far, and others. As a Greek I am deeply fond of the ancient Greek Theatre, and watched many plays, like "Antigone", "Persae", "Oedipus" as well as comedies like "Plutos", "Vatrahoi". So, presumably, I’d proudly state that I am a fan of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader together (no mind, after all it’s a family business…), I like Sean Connery for his bravado looks and Leonard Nimoy for his intellectual looks. Irene Pappas, Thanasis Papageorgiou, Dimitris Katalifos, Thanasis Veggos, Kostas Voutsas, Nikos Markoulakis, are amongst the Greek actors I like the most.    


-Albeit my former conservatoire studies, I am mostly self-taught. I spent years and years studying and trying to improve myself, both as a performer and a musician in general. In past times, where the web wasn’t around that much, I used to spend hours "decoding" other famous musicians from a wider genre range, so I can learn from their style, techniques and attitude. My firm belief is that if someone has the instinct, one can go very, very far, but it needs hard work - sometimes even harder than graduating from a music school. As a composer, well that took me lots and lots of hard working hours, lots of mistakes and deeper understanding why a song is, and what its potentials are. Strange as it may sound, I almost religiously believe that any song has its own "soul", so to speak. A composer, a creator like me, must "hear the soul" and go along or it will be an indifferent  thing, rather than a song or a music piece. No matter how high your composition knowledge is, no matter how many certificates you have, if you miss the "soul", you missed everything. Scribbling notes on a piece of paper is the easy part, always. 

-Freedom or not? It’s a recognition, nonetheless. Every artist is exposed to the audience. Approval means you’ve done something right. Or not. Or maybe it needs time to mature. The Beatles were turned down by DECCA, and the reason was that "they will not survive a year in music business, their music is insignificant". An avid lover of the garage days, Curt Cobain hated himself for being so popular, and thought he was sold to fame. For the time being I keep focusing on creating and being honest with myself and my art, accepting all good and tough breaks. Artist’s life may be a long and interesting trip, and I’m only half way there. 

-There are and always have been challenges. Each idea, proposition, collaboration, is a venture. I’m never tired - in fact I get more and more excited each time. Lately, I have been re-establishing my self as a solo artist which is, to say the least, an adventurous experiment, in terms of almost everything. Partners and collaborators are an essential part of what I do, plus I have expanded to the field of film and TV dubbing, which is a very interesting and challenging opportunity to perform under totally different conditions than accustomed to. Plus one gets to hear totally different songs (I am specialised as a vocal talent) and sense the power a children song might have; and trust me, these songs really rock!   

- Greece is a small market. I perform in English, so the Greek Market is not one of my high valued target groups. In spite of numbers, there’s a huge bloom of various bands and artists flooding the local stages, playing disco, funk, jazz, grindcore, bluegrass, alternative rock, and many more genres - even country music. But there’s the actual need to spread the music abroad, and social media are only one aspect of these means; a band needs to tour, and money and logistics is a serious issue. Fortunately, there are many artists in Greece that tour occasionally or normally, so I guess it’s just a matter of time to create a constant presence. 

-With respect on both what is offered and what and when and how I can deliver. Not everyone can do everything. I consider a good go-through of the proposal, before I accept or decline. Saying "yes" no matter what and where, is just pretending to be someone you’re not, and I don’t take a proposal for fun, not even for granted for that matter. I do my best, I expect the best, so everybody’s happy.  

-On digital streaming: There’s information overflow; on the other hand, it’s an open ocean of opportunities and some billion ears to listen to your music. Back in the days, an artist needed not only to have "a knack for it" to influence the audience, but needed strong promotion as well. Now it’s somehow the same, but in another means: now the promoter is the artist himself, and there are many funnels and tools that will help them achieve their goals. The only drawback is this huge expansion of provided material, so it’s quite impossible for everything to be heard. As far as I understand, a total of 20% or more gets unnoticed by the audience; that’s where touring comes, so that’s why nearly everybody tours these days. 

-Professional vs. Personal: It’s just a matter of time management. But then again, mood can play a significant role, either as a booster or a breaker. We are only humans and artists, we may sometimes have to discipline ourselves to carry on and be creative. 

-Regarding feature projects: Be open to good business proposals; collaboration proposals; keep my presence in the market and write good songs; touring abroad (needs time and effort and many logistics’ details); finish a new release I am working on. I am looking for an opening to collaborating with film score composers as a singer and I’m amidst of contacting some good professionals.