|Birth name||Anastasios Rouvas|
|Also known as||Sakis|
5 January 1972 |
Mantouki, Corfu, Greece
|Genres||Pop, rock, R&B, dance|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, choreographer, actor, television presenter, film producer, model, fashion designer, author, businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, humanitarian, athlete|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Years active||1987–1990 (athlete)
|Labels||PolyGram Greece, Minos EMI, Universal Music France|
|Associated acts||Corfu Band|
|Black Gibson Les Paul|
Anastasios "Sakis" Rouvas II (Greek: Αναστάσιος "Σάκης" Ρουβάς, pronounced [ˈsakis ruˈvas]; 5 January 1972), often referred to mononymously as Sakis, is a Greek singer, model recording, film and television artist, actor, entertainer, businessman, and former pole vaulter who is the most commercially successful entertainer of all time in Greece and Cyprus and also one of the most influential. Born in Corfu, he began his career as a member of the national athletics team in the 1980s, where he won national medals, and then commenced a musical career in 1991, becoming one of Greece's first pop performers and popularizing several western music genres and trends. Rooted in pop and rock music among a wide array of styles adorned with powerful tenor vocals, he incorporated complex choreography, costumes, and technological advancements and has been credited for transforming music videos and live performance into an art form. Widely recognized as the genres' primary representative to this day, Rouvas is renowned for retaining a standard of autonomy from domestic styles and conventions and gaining unprecedented success for a non-laïko or éntekhno artist and for breaking cultural, social, artistic, and generational barriers in Greece and Cyprus.
In the early 1990s, after signing with PolyGram Records and winning the Thessaloniki Song Festival, Rouvas became a dominant figure in Greek entertainment; initially emerging as a teen idol, he gained a mass fanbase and circa 1994 his appearances provoked mass hysteria often dubbed Rouvomania, leading to him being cited as a unique phenomenon in the Hellenic industry. He quickly gained a reputation as a live performer and broke several attendance records. Regarded as a sex symbol, Rouvas' uninhibited performance style, coupled with continuously pushing the boundaries of socially acceptable content with his image and art led to him becoming a lightning rod for sociopolitical and religious controversy. Despite releasing five commercially successful albums, this was furthered by his highly publicized personal struggles, including his time in his military service and 1997 Greek-Turkish peace concert, which damaged his public image and led to a relatively unsuccessful period and hiatus. Rouvas signed with Minos EMI in 1997 and returned to the top of music with albums like Kati Apo Mena (1998) and 21os Akatallilos (2000) which further broadened his artistic horizons and paved the way for critical acclaim into the 21st century after having long-struggled with his image overshadowing his artistry. He continually gained tighter control over his music and image, eventually leading to the end of his famed 14-year collaboration with manager Ilias Psinakis. Rouvas became one of the few Greek entertainers to gain a degree of recognition abroad; having attained notability within the Balkans since the 1990s, Rouvas embarked on multiple projects abroad, charting in a few territories, and being involved in the Eurovision Song Contest on three occasions. By the 2010s, Rouvas had reached the height of his career and gained entrepreneurial control while he expanded his empire to film, television, theatre, and fashion, having achieved critical and commercial success in most. His single "Shake It" remains the best-selling standard single of all time in Greece, while songs and videos such as "1992", "Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas", "Ela Mou", "Xana", "Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola", "Den Ehei Sidera I Kardia Sou", "Ypirhes Panta", "Antexa", "Se Thelo San Trelos", and "+ Se Thelo have topped the charts and have become among the most iconic songs in popular Greek music.
Often cited as the most attractive man in entertainment, a title for which he has received heavy attention, Rouvas has attained a record number of endorsement deals and is the most popular Greek celebrity on combined social media. Since 2003, he has been in a relationship that has attracted widespread media attention with model Katia Zygouli, with whom he has three children. Apart from his entertainment career, Rouvas is highly involved in social issues and has received praise for his dedication to several several philanthropic organizations, namely as the ambassador of the ELPIDA foundation.
Rouvas' influence went beyond the arts as he became nationalized into a cultural icon. Amongst his other achievements, he is Greece's most awarded entertainer, including six Arion Music Awards, 15 Pop Corn Music Awards, 17 MAD Video Music Awards —both more than any other male artist—, four Status Men of the Year Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award, and a World Music Award; several number-one albums and singles that have all achieved certifications of gold or higher; and sales of an estimated two million albums as of 2008, making him one of Greece's best-selling music artists in history. Often polarized by critics, Rouvas is acknowledged for his widespread appeal, career longevity, and for retaining a standard of autonomy within the industry. Rouvas' distinct musical, vocal, fashion, and performance style has influenced several other artists, while his contributions to music have made him a prominent part of popular culture for over two decades. In 2009, Down Town named him "Entertainer of the Decade", while in 2010 Forbes listed him as the third most powerful and influential celebrity in Greece and top ranked singer.
- 1 Life and career
- 1.1 Early life and athletic career (1972–1990)
- 1.2 Early commercial success (1991–93)
- 1.3 Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas, military service, and personal struggles (1994–96)
- 1.4 Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola, peace concert, and move to Minos EMI (1996–97)
- 1.5 Kati Apo Mena, return to prominence, and 21os Akatallilos (1998–2000)
- 1.6 Ola Kala, international exposure, and To Hrono Stamatao (2001–04)
- 1.7 Eurovision and S'eho Erotefthi (2004–05)
- 1.8 Live Ballads, Eurovision, and Iparhi Agapi Edo (2006)
- 1.9 Film and television career, This Is My Live, fatherhood, and Irthes (2007–08)
- 1.10 Eurovision, Duress, Parafora, business career, and second child (2009–2012)
- 1.11 Third child, theatre, and current projects (2013-present)
- 2 Artistry
- 3 Public image
- 4 Legacy and influence
- 5 Discography
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Tours
- 8 Awards
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Life and career
Early life and athletic career (1972–1990)
Sakis Rouvas was born on 5 January 1972 in the village of Mandoukion, near Corfu City the island of Corfu, the eldest son out of four of Konstantinos "Kostas" Rouvas, an ambulance driver, and Anna-Maria Panaretou, a retail clerk at a Duty Free shop at the local airport. At the time of his birth, his mother was still a teenager. He has three brothers named Billy (b. Vasilios), Tolis (b. Apostolos, 1975), and Nikos (b. Nikolaos, 1991). Rouvas grew up in a poor family and he began taking care of his younger siblings as of age five since his parents worked long hours. His talents were revealed from a young age; at age four, he demonstrated athletic abilities. As a child, Rouvas also took ballet classes. Both his parents had some background in theater, and at age ten, Rouvas starred in his first theatrical production "An I Karharies Itan Anthropi" (If sharks were people), which quickly sold out in local theaters in Corfu. His much older co-stars were impressed at his talent and labeled him a "miracle child." Soon after, Rouvas discovered his second great love after athletics, music. He taught himself how to play guitar and was inspired by international music and artists like Elvis Presley.
In 1984, his parents were divorced, and due to strained relations between the two, Rouvas and his brother Tolis were forced to move to the village of Potamos to be raised by their paternal grandparents, Anastasis and Elpiniki, while his father soon remarried. Rouvas worked multiple jobs to support his family, including in a car repair shop, as a construction worker, and as a bartender. From early childhood Rouvas began to hate school and suffered especially in reading and writing. Due to working in the daytime, he went to school at nights, where his mother, who had never graduated lyceum, also attended.
At age 15 the first turning point in his career occurred when he became a member of the Greek national gymnastics team. He idolized Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergey Bubka. His scores were consistently high and he won numerous national awards; vaulting on average 4.17 metres. Rouvas continued in athletics until age 18 as he believed that it was very difficult to earn a living from it in order to support his family, while considering his potential in music to be greater. He soon became a member of the Corfu Band. The first time he sang for a public audience was at his graduation where he performed his rendition of hits from Elvis and The Beatles.
Rouvas soon started to perform at local clubs and hotels. At one of these venues, To Ekati, future manager Elias Psinakis would see him perform for the first time, however, they never confronted each other. Due to the escalating problematic situations in his life in Corfu, he left his native island alone at the age of 18 and moved to Patras in search of a better future.
Early commercial success (1991–93)
Upon going to Patras, Rouvas continued to look for performance opportunities, until he met Dakis, a popular Greek artist of the era, who was the first person to help him professionally. He moved to Athens, and after being given much advice by Dakis, in 1991, Rouvas made his first professional appearance at the Show Centre in Athens. During his performances his attractive physical appearance, vocal abilities, and stage antics garnered the attention of music executives such as Nikos Mouratidis, who advised songwriter Giorgos Pavrianos to produce him. While performing "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson he was discovered by executives of the PolyGram record label, who signed him to his first recording contract immediately after the performance. After first moving to Athens Rouvas lived with an older English woman named Sally, whom he had been in a relationship with since he was in Corfu. Their relationship ended after Psinakis became his manager and his goals became more oriented towards his career. The media later reported extensively on Rouvas' personal life over the years, speculating on relationships with model Zeta Logotheti, Sofi Kantarou, who was a Corfu local bar manager whom he had known from years earlier, and later singer Elli Kokkinou. A few months later, Rouvas' made his first official debut at the Thessaloniki Song Festival. At the competition, Rouvas lost the title for Best Vocal Performance to another upcoming artist Giorgos Alkaios by only one point, but ultimately won the competition after he won first place for "Best Composition with the song "Par'ta" (Take them) with music by Nikos Terzis and lyrics by Giorgos Pavrianos. During the moment that all of the competitors were called on stage there was a brief earthquake.
Rouvas released his eponymous debut album the day after the festival; it reached number one on the Greek Albums Chart. "Par'ta" ("Take them") became a number one radio hit, while the second single "1992" also became very popular. Following the popularity of the album, media attention arose around his fanatic fans, usually teenage girls, who would go crazy over him.[unreliable source?]
In September 1992, Rouvas released his second album titled Min Andistekese (Don’t resist), which was also fully composed by Nikos Terzis. The album produced the singles "Gyrna" (Return), "Min Andistekese", "Gia Fantasou" (Imagine), "Na Ziseis Moro Mou" (Live my baby), and "Me Kommeni Tin Anasa" (Breathless), with the title track being accompanied by a music video. The success of the album helped establish Rouvas as one of the top performers on the then-music scene.
In October 1993, Rouvas released his third studio album titled Gia Sena (For you) with music by Alexis Papadimitriou and lyrics primarily by Eleni Giannatsoulia, as well as Evi Droutsa. The album became Rouvas third consecutive gold album in a time span of only two years. The single "Kane Me" (Make me) became a big radio hit, while the next singles "To Xero Eisai Moni" (I know you are alone), and "Xehase To" (Forget it) also gained airplay.
Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas, military service, and personal struggles (1994–96)
In the winter of 1994, Rouvas collaborated with famous singer-songwriter and record producer Nikos Karvelas for the production of his fourth studio album Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas (Blood, tears & sweat) which was his first album to be certified platinum. The songs "Ela Mou" (Come to me) and "Xana" (Again) became radio hits. The collaboration with Karvelas, one of the most successful and iconic producers of the past two decades with the young artist resulted in mixed reaction by the media. When asked why he had chosen to collaborate with Rouvas, Karvelas simply gave a controversial response, stating that "Sakis is the only star, out of a generation which produces dull artists."
Rouvas became more recluse and private about his personal life, When he was called to do his military service in 1994, Rouvas had originally asked for a delay as it coincided with the scheduled release of his highly anticipated album Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas, although his request for a delay was denied. Although other artists had also delayed their service for career reasons, Rouvas' case became a central news story at the time. It was initially thought that the artist did not want to pull back from the spotlight during a time when his career was soaring, although Rouvas himself had claimed his inability to fulfill his service due to previous psychological trauma that resulted in him suffering from severe agoraphobia. His claims were widely disbelieved: some media commented that agoraphobia was a strange condition for an entertainer, while critics of Rouvas accused him of draft dodging. Rouvas was then taken to the psychiatric hospital of Penteli for psychiatric evaluation, it was widely reported that while alone in his room he attempted suicide. After the initial widespread media coverage of the attempted suicide subsided, Rouvas was forced to fulfill his military service with a psychiatrist present on the scene, both to medicate him and make sure he would not cause harm to himself. For his military service, Rouvas was forced to remove his earring and cut his signature long hair, something that is featured in the beginning of the video for "Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas". Rouvas was also constantly taunted by paparazzi who would sneak into the military campus to photograph and film him for constant television reports. Psinakis blamed Rouvas' psychiatrist for things that occurred in the military, claiming that he was secretly pouring psychotropic drugs into Rouvas' alcoholic beverages because of a previous quarrel. Rouvas spoke about his military service in an interview with Nico Mastorakis. When asked if he was suicidal, he said he did not think so, but at the time he was so intoxicated by the medication he received at the 411 that he did not have a clear recollection of the exact events. He also confirmed that he did indeed try to escape his service during rank by climbing under a Jeep and latching himself onto the rails.
Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola, peace concert, and move to Minos EMI (1996–97)
A few months later in 1996, Rouvas released his fifth studio album Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola (Now the difficult times begin) which went platinum. Since his previous album was a big success, Rouvas once again collaborated with Nikos Karvelas with the help of lyricist Natalia Germanou. For the winter season, Rouvas performed live with Anna Vissi at club Chaos in Athens. In the same year, a fan club for him, SRFC, was founded, which from its start went on to be the largest fan club in Greece.[unreliable source?] In 1997, he was featured on Anna Vissi's hit album Travma (Trauma), in the duet "Se Thelo, Me Theleis" ("I want you, you want me") also composed by Nikos Karvelas.
On 19 May 1997 he performed on stage with Turkish singer Burak Kut at a bi-national concert on the Green Line in Cyprus as an initiative in the reconciliation of the country with an audience of over 4,000 people. The concert garnered international coverage and support, earning Rouvas an International Abdi Ipekçi Prize for understanding and co-operation; however, the concert generated significant controversy amongst Greek and Turkish protesters with reports going as far as potential death threats towards Rouvas. Opposition to the concert caused the Greek and Greek-Cypriot media to turn on Rouvas and the impact of its controversy is considered to be the catalyst for the forthcoming tabloid talk shows in Greece. Rouvas had come into collaboration with Kut the previous year when they recorded a duet together in Greek and Turkish called "Birgün/Otan" (When), a cover of the song "Someday", for the soundtrack of the Greek-language dubbing of The Hunchback of Notre Dame titled I Panagia Ton Parision, where Rouvas made his film debut voicing the role of Quasimodo. Following his album success with PolyGram Greece, Rouvas switched labels by signing with Minos EMI.[unreliable source?]
Kati Apo Mena, return to prominence, and 21os Akatallilos (1998–2000)
In December 1998, Rouvas released his sixth studio album and first with his new label titled Kati Apo Mena (Something from me). The album was composed by Giorgos Theofanous and became a hit, going gold in its first week; the album later reached platinum certification. The song "Den Ehi Sidera I Kardia Sou" (Your heart does not have metal rails) became a massive hit, and remains one of his most popular songs. For promotion of the album, Rouvas performed live at the Virgin Megastore in Athens where thousands of fans created a traffic jam in the centre of Athens. For the winter season 1999–2000, Rouvas sang at Bio Bio in Athens, and performed with Katy Garbi at Pili Axiou in Thessaloniki in the spring.
In March 2000, Rouvas released his seventh studio album 21os Akatallilos (21+ X-Rated). The album and its first anthemic single, "Andexa", climbed immediately at number one on the charts. The album reached 2× platinum status and reached number one on the charts. On 25 October 2000, Rouvas began appearances with Antonis Remos and Peggy Zina at Apollonas for the winter season. During his May rehearsals for his summer performances, Rouvas was hospitalized with abdominal pains which were diagnosed as peritonitis and underwent surgery to get his appendix removed. That same year, Rouvas was commissioned by Pepsi to be their spokesperson for their summer campaign in Greece, a first for a Greek entertainer. The collaboration with Pepsi continued in 2001 with a television ad airing in May 2001. The aforementioned ad, featuring a semi-nude Rouvas holding a Pepsi bottle in front of his genitals, was the subject of controversy amongst women's rights organizations and parental associations who deemed it "insightly, vulgar and unacceptable" and attempted to have the advertisement blocked, saying that it "disgraces childhood innocence and dignity." A tour of seven Greek cities called the Pepsi Tour 2001 followed.
In the summer of 2000, Rouvas, Psinakis and a number of other celebrities went on vacation in Mykonos on a yacht that they were borrowing from a local physician. They were subsequently accused of drug possession, as the yacht was filled with various expensive narcotics. The situation received huge publicity and triggered speculations of whether Rouvas possibly had a drug addiction. The doctor who owned the yacht later admitted that the narcotics belonged to him, however, all of the men were taken into questioning. Wanting to avoid going to court, Rouvas paid bail and did not give importance to the situation. This incident would become one of the most infamous situations in Rouvas' career as thousands of t-shirts were printed with the popular catchphrase at the time: "Imoun ki ego sto kotero!" ("I was on the yacht too!").
Ola Kala, international exposure, and To Hrono Stamatao (2001–04)
In 2001 Rouvas signed with Universal Licencing Music (ULM) of Universal Music France after singer Nana Mouskouri said she hadn't seen anything like him. He proceeded to collaborate with American music producer and songwriter Desmond Child and Phoebus for the single "Disco Girl", with the resulting single became a hit in Greece and was certified platinum. It also won Rouvas the award for "Pop Singer of the Year" at the first ever Arion Music Awards. The single was also later released in France with an English version of the song penned by Andreas Carlsson. Additionally, Rouvas performed 20 live dates across France in support of "Disco Girl", which received ample airplay there. During this time, he was often compared to Latin pop star Ricky Martin At the start of the winter season, Rouvas sang with Despina Vandi at Rex, which continued until spring 2002.
Rouvas premiered the single "Ola Kala" ("Everything is fine") for the first time at the Arion Music Awards.[unreliable source?] This was followed by the release of his eighth studio album Ola Kala in June, once again collaborating with Desmond Child and Phoebus for the album, along with other Greek songwriters Natalia Germanou and Vangelis Konstantinidis. The album became an instant hit in Greece going gold within one week, and platinum in four months. It settled at two times platinum later on. The following month after the Greek release, Universal Music released Ola Kala in many international markets in Europe, Middle East and Asia. The music video for "Ola Kala" was director by French director Xavier Gens in Montreal, Canada. In September 2002, Rouvas' third Pepsi commercial aired.
In July 2003, Rouvas furthered his international collaboration under ULM by releasing the cover single and music video "Dis lui" (Tell her) in France, originally sung by Mike Brant as a French adaptation of the 1975 Morris Albert song "Feelings". "Dis Lui", as well as a cover of "Feelings", were also added to the 2003 international re-release of Ola Kala. Rouvas collaborated again with Xavier Gens for the "Feelings"/"Dis lui"/"Pes Tis" music video, which won two awards at the MAD Video Music Awards for Best Direction and Sexiest Appearance in a Video.
In April 2003, Rouvas appeared with Antonis Remos together on stage with the evening's honouree, Nana Mouskouri, at the Arion Awards. The same year, Rouvas signed a deal with Vodafone Greece to be their spokesperson. For the summer, Rouvas went on tour around Greece, ending with a big concert at Lycabetus on 11 October 2003.
In December 2003, Rouvas released his ninth studio album To Hrono Stamatao (I stop time), which was certified Gold following its release. Songs from the album quickly gained radio airplay[clarification needed], while in the same month, Rouvas started appearances at Fever with Giorgos Tsalikis and ONE as his supporting acts for the winter season. A Greek-language version of "Feelings" titled "Pes Tis" (Tell her) was released as a single from To Hrono Stamatao and featured the same video as its French and English-language international counterparts.
Eurovision and S'eho Erotefthi (2004–05)
The Greek entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, "Shake It" became one of Rouvas' most successful songs and was one of his few songs to incorporate Greek influences into his Western style.
In March 2004, Hellenic Radio and Television (ERT) announced that Rouvas would represent Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 2004 after a long selection process through the reality show EuroStar had failed. Originally, the winner of the show was to represent the country with composer Nikos Terzis producing the song entry, however, the broadcaster decided to cancel these plans after doubts the winner could perform on stage, while Rouvas also exhibited an interest in representing the country. In mid-March, the song entry "Shake It" composed by Nikos Terzis with lyrics by Nektarios Tyrakis, premiered on Greek radio. The song was described as possessing strong Mediterranean influences, which differ from Rouvas' typical western production style. At the end of March, Rouvas performed "Shake It" for the first time live at the third Arion Music Awards. At the awards, he also won the award for "Best Pop Singer" for the album To Hrono Stamatao. In mid-April, "Shake It" was released as a CD single and Rouvas began a large promotional tour around Europe for the contest. His album To Hrono Stamatao was also repackaged with the "Shake It" single as a bonus. The song peaked at number one on the Greek airplay charts for many weeks, while it continued to have popularity on the IFPI Greece Top 50 singles chart, remaining at number one for nine consecutive weeks and finally achieving four times Platinum status, becoming the best selling single of the year[unreliable source?] and one of the most successful of all time.[unreliable source?] It has since sold 110 thousand copies.[unreliable source?]
Rouvas was considered the favourite to win the final contest. On 12 May 2004, Rouvas took part in the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final, performing 10th out of 22 in the running order. He passed the semi-final, and on 15 May 2004, he performed 16th out of 24 in the final. For the stage show, Rouvas had two female dancers with him, and three backing vocalists, whom were the winner of EuroStar and the other two finalists. Fokas Evangelinos, Rouvas' long time choreographer, produced the choreography for the stage show. "Shake It" achieved third place in the final. Rouvas generated the greatest interest in the contest from the Greek public in its entire duration, with television share ratings of 86.7 percent, the highest ratings in Greek television history at the time. The participation in Eurovision was seen as a turning point in Rouvas' career from being perceived as a media-exposed celebrity to the possibly most notable artist in pop. He also became less reclusive and more open to media.
In June 2004, Rouvas performed at the first MAD Video Music Awards where he sang "Shake It". At the awards, he won the award for "Sexiest Appearance" for his music video "Pes Tis" (Tell her). On 7 July, Rouvas held a joint concert in Istanbul with Turkish artist and 2003 Eurovision Song Contest winner Sertab Erener in yet another attempt at keeping peace between the two countries. In August, Rouvas appeared carrying the Olympic torch through Panathinaiko Stadium and also performed at the closing ceremony for the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he was lowered on to the stage from the air and sang traditional Greek songs.[unreliable source?]
In fall 2004, Rouvas recorded a duet with the Russian pop singer Philip Kirkorov of his hit "Se Thelo San Trelos" ("I want you like crazy"), originally on the album 21os Akatallilos. A music video was filmed shortly after in Saint Petersburg.[unreliable source?] Following that, in October 2004, Rouvas was a special guest star at three concerts with Nana Mouskouri, two of which took place in Berlin, Germany, and the other at the Athens Megaro Mousikis. Two months later in December, Rouvas began performances with Giorgos Mazonakis at Fever for the winter season, with Elena Paparizou as his opening act. His show was critically acclaimed. Georgia Laimou of E-go, known for her scathing and sarcastic reviews, wrote "for Sakis I have only good things to say and I don't want to hear 'boo' from anyone. A more clean, well-supported, professional, and generally immaculate program than Sakis' I don't think exists on the Athenian stages."
On 5 April 2005, Rouvas won the award for CD Single with the Highest Sales of 2004 for "Shake It" at the fourth Arion Music Awards. Rouvas also appeared on stage dancing the tango.[unreliable source?] The next day, 6 April, Rouvas released his tenth studio album S'eho Erotefthi (I'm in love with you) which went platinum in five months, and settled at 3× platinum. With the help of Vodafone Greece as the main sponsors, release parties for the CD were held in Heraklion, Corfu, Thessaloniki, and Athens all on the same day. The songs "S'eho Erotefti", "Hilia Milia" ("Thousands of miles"), "Mila Tis" ("Speak to her"), "Na M'Agapas" ("Love me"), and "Cairo" all became radio hits. That same year, Rouvas also won the World Music Awards for Best-Selling Greek Artist of 2004. In September he held a charity concert at the Olympic Indoor Hall with an attendance of 20 thousand people, the largest production by any Greek entertainer until Rouvas broke his own record in 2009. This was followed by another concert in Patras.
Live Ballads, Eurovision, and Iparhi Agapi Edo (2006)
As of the second half of 2005 Rouvas had moved to Los Angeles, United States. On 24 February 2006, he held a Valentine's Day concert that was recorded and videotaped for his fans where his popular ballads, as well as covering ballads of other Greek and foreign artists. The live performance was later released as a CD and CD/DVD package in April 2006 titled Live Ballads, Rouvas' first live album and video. The CD featured two new studio tracks, "Horis Kardia" (Without a heart) and an English-language version of "S'eho Erotefthi" titled "I'm in Love With You" and topped the Greek album chart.
On 3 April 2006, Rouvas sang "Horis Kardia" at the Arion Music Awards, where he also won the award for "Best Pop Album" and "Best Pop Singer" for the album S'eho Erotefthi. In the same month, Rouvas renewed his contract with Vodafone Greece, while Village Roadshow Productions Greece announced that Rouvas would star in their upcoming film.
In May 2006, the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 was held in Athens, as Greece won the contest the year before. Rouvas was asked by ERT to host with Maria Menounos the semi-final and final in English, Greek and French. At the semi-finals, Rouvas opened the show by singing the Katrina and the Waves song "Love Shine a Light" with Menounos. For the voting intermission, Rouvas performed his song "I'm in Love With You".
On 14 June 2006, Rouvas performed "Agapa Me" (Love me) and "Na M'Agapas" (You should love me) at the third MAD Video Music Awards. Rouvas also won the awards for Best Video by a Male Artist for "Na M'Agapas" and Best Dressed Artist in a Video for "Mila Tis". That same month, Rouvas also dubbed the Greek-language version of the Disney movie Cars where he voiced Lightning McQueen, while on 13 November he began filming his feature film debut Alter Ego.
On 6 December 2006, Rouvas released his eleventh studio album titled Iparhi Agapi Edo (There is love here). The songs "Ego Travo Zori" (I'm having a hard time") and "18 (Iprahi Agapi Edo)" became radio hits, while the song "Ola Gyro Sou Gyrizoun" (Everything revolves around you) composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos became a dance hit on Greek radio, and one of the most played songs of 2007. All three of the songs peaked at number one on the airplay chart. One of the songs, "Mikros Titanikos (Se Latrevo)" (Little Titanic [I adore you]) was written especially for Rouvas by Yiannis Parios, while his son Haris Varthakouris composed the music. The song was eventually released and became a hit, being used also to promote Rouvas' live album. The album Iparhi Agapi Edo debuted at number one[unreliable source?] and was certified Platinum, selling over 40 thousand copies as of April 2007.
Film and television career, This Is My Live, fatherhood, and Irthes (2007–08)
Rouvas' Academy Awards primetime special, Sakis Oscar Songs, aired on 20 February through Nova. The special was filmed at a private concert at Athens Arena, and paid tribute to songs that have been awarded with Academy Awards. In March, he began performances at Boom in Thessaloniki with Despina Vandi. At the end of April, Rouvas held a large concert in Syntagma Square as part of Vodafone Greece's promotional campaign. On 10 May 2007, the film Alter Ego by Village Roadshow Productions starring Rouvas as Stefanos, the frontman of the rock group Alter Ego, premiered in theatres across Greece. At a budget of two million euros, it was the most expensive production of all time in Greece. It received mixed reviews and did not manage to cover its grand production costs at the box office, selling only a fifth of the needed tickets. However, at 200 thousand tickets sold, it was an average success in Greek cinema, although Rouvas was still fairly disappointed about the coverage it received. The film dealt with the themes of young musicians living the rock and roll lifestyle and drug abuse having to face their inner fears and cope with the loss of a loved one. The soundtrack of the film was recorded by the cast and Rouvas, while the theme song to the movie "Zise Ti Zoi" ("Live Life") by Rouvas became a radio hit, reaching the top 10 of the charts. On 29 June 2008, Alter Ego was screened in Los Angeles at a Greek festival. Rouvas collaborated with Vodafone at a beach party concert at Yabanaki called Sakis on the Waves. On 29 October Rouvas was awarded his sixth Arion for "Best Pop Song" for "Ola Gyro Sou Gyrizoun", while being nominated for a further four awards, although he was not present at the actual ceremony.
Following the 2007 Greek forest fires, Rouvas returned to Greece to raise money for the victims and embarked on a charity tour. On 20 July, he performed in Ptolemaida, Kozani as part of the Expedition for Environment Act Now! He also appeared on ANT1 answering phone call donations during a live telethon. On 10 September 2007 he gave a concert at Lycabetus as part of an OPAP's campaign for voluntary blood donations; the tour raised a staggering amount for the victims overall. The concert was also recorded, and released as a CD/DVD on 12 December 2007 titled This Is My Live, releasing the single "Stous 31 Dromous". In the spring of 2008, Rouvas and Antonis Remos collaborated on a world tour, visiting North America, Australia, and South Africa.
One of Rouvas' most successful hits, "+ Se Thelo", in addition to becoming one of the most successful songs of the 2000s, was the first dance song of its era to experience heavy chart and club success and longevity.
On 19 May 2008, Rouvas started singing with Peggy Zina at club Politia in Thessaloniki. A month later on 17 June, Rouvas performed a new song composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos titled "+ Se Thelo" ("And I want you") at the MAD Video Music Awards 2008 as the opening act for the show. His performance was dubbed as the best of the night by the Greek media as it included heavy choreography and elaborate lighting, as well as an overall Japanese theme. He also won the award for "Male Artist of the Year" amongst three other nominees. In July 2008, the song was released as a digital single and as a radio promo and became a dance hit, reaching number one on the Greek airplay chart where it remained for 10 weeks, becoming the most-played song of the year. An official music video using footage from the awards show was released at the end of the year. "+ Se Thelo" became a staple in Rouvas' career. In addition to becoming one of the most successful songs of the decade, it was the only dance song of its era to have significant success in both charts and clubs and exhibit longevity. Critically, the song was deemed a landmark in the entertainer's career for exhibiting a rare case of a Greek artist breaking generational barriers and producing a hit of that extent nearly two decades into their career.
In August, Rouvas' home was victim to two robberies, both occurring within ten days.
In July 2008 it was announced that Rouvas would be the host for the first season of the Greek version of The X Factor, which premiered on 24 October 2008,. On 4 December 2008, Rouvas premiered his winter season musical shows with the Maggira Sisters at STARZ for the 2008-09 winter season. Rouvas was also Greece's representative with the hit "Stous 31 Dromous" ("On the 31 roads") in the OGAE Song Contest that was held in Zaragoza, Spain, on 25 October 2008, claiming the third place with 130 points by placing only behind Croatia and United Kingdom.
Rouvas had been in a relationship Katia Zygouli since 2003, while Greek media reported in 2007 that their relationship was heading for an end as Rouvas had allegedly begun a relationship with model Vanessa Hessler. However, the two later reunited and publicly announced Zygouli's pregnancy and on 2 November 2008. Zygouli gave birth to the couple's first child, a baby girl, who they baptized Anastasia after her father, on 18 October 2009. The godmother was Emmanouela Pavlatou, a close friend of Melina Mercouri, and the date of the baptism was chosen to coincide with Mercouri's birthday. The birth of their child was widely covered by news outlets. In an interview with Eleonora Meleti on Star Channel, Rouvas stated that marriage is not in his plans with Zygouli, even though he understands it is something that has been learned within society, he believes that they are happy enough as they are at the moment, although in May 2010 Zygouli publicly appeared wearing a diamond engagement ring without any confirmation of an engagement being made. On 20 November 2008, Rouvas released the song he dedicated to his daughter, "Irthes" (You arrived). On 3 December, Rouvas released his 12th studio album of the same name, produced by Dimitris Kontopoulos. The next day on 4 December 2008, Rouvas premiered his winter concert series with the Maggira Sisters at STARZ.
Eurovision, Duress, Parafora, business career, and second child (2009–2012)
Rouvas' second Eurovision entrant won the national final with the largest margin in the program's history.
After being asked internally every year after his first performance, Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) made an early announcement confirming that Rouvas would once again be Greece's participant in the Eurovision Song Contest. Rouvas performed his three candidate songs, "Out of Control", "Right on Time", and "This Is Our Night", all composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos, at the Greek national final on in February where the latter was the runaway winner with both the jury and the viewers, winning 81% of the vote, the largest margin ever, but also the most overall votes attained by ERT in a national final. The song subsequently debuted at number one on the Greek Digital Singles chart, while Rouvas embarked on an extensive promo tour throughout Europe. He had expressed that his goal was to bring the contest back to Greece the following year and a win was widely anticipated by the Greek public, with the country being one of two major favourites to win. Despite this, in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, Rouvas finished seventh. The singer and Greek public were both deeply disappointed with the result and he issued a public apology to the Greeks for his loss. Despite this, Rouvas received universal support from the public and media, a first-case scenario for a Greek Eurovision entrant following the contest, regardless of how high the result.
On 27 March, Rouvas was appointed by President of ELPIDA Charity Foundation and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna Vardinoyannis as "messenger" of ELPIDA foundation, a charity supporting children with cancer, after being a longtime supporter of the charity without wishing for his involvement to be publicized. In support of the charity, Rouvas teamed up with fastfood chain Goody's for their ArGOODaki campaign, and in April 2010 made a charitable donation in the amount of 300 thousand euros to the foundation. In April, Rouvas and partner Katia Zygouli launched the beauty franchise Mariella Nails Body and Mind Care, in which they own 25 percent of the share.
On 1 July Rouvas performed a sold out concert in support of the environment at the ancient ruins of Kallimarmaro Stadium to an audience of 40 thousand people. As one of the few artists given permission ever to perform at the venue, it was the largest attendance ever at the stadium for a non-sporting event and the largest attendance by a single musical artist in Greek history. The concert —organized by the National Youth Council— coincided with the startdate of the national public smoking ban. The sold out Sakis Live Tour followed to a further 10 cities from July to September, while he additionally performed a sold out concert series at Politia Live Clubbing in Thessaloniki.
In October 2009, Rouvas returned as host for the second season of the Greek version of The X Factor, while he dubbed the voice of Captain Charles T. Baker for the Greek version of Planet 51. He made his American film debut in the psychological thriller Duress opposite of Martin Donovan. The film was screened at various film festivals, such as in Poland and Russia and received a wide theatrical release in December 2009 by mainstream Greek distributor Hollywood Entertainment. It is also expected to be released on home video in the United States.
Rouvas performed at the newly constructed venue The S Club for the winter 2009-10 season, where he is the owner, with Tamta as his supporting act as well as Eleftheria Eleftheriou and American rapper Gifted. He additionally opened the sushi club/restaurant EDO. On 2 March, The S Club –which was a huge success for Rouvas– caught fire with damages estimated up to four million euros. The cause of the fire was unknown, but was investigated by the Athens police as a possible arson by rival club owners. Evidence supporting this theory was that some witnesses reported having spotted containers of gasoline. The show was stopped for the repairs to be made, and resumed on 19 March to 9 April. The show moved to Thessaloniki on 7 May for a six-week engagement at Politia Live Clubbing. He is also featured on Tamta's single "Tharros I Alitheia" for her album of the same name. The song became a major club hit and won a MAD Video Music Award for Best Duet–Collaboration Video.
Rouvas' 13th studio album, Parafora, was released on 14 December 2010 and topped the IFPI Top 75 Albums chart. It distributed enough initial shipments to be certified double platinum within its first week, denoting shipments of at least 24 thousand units. The album's first single, "Spase Ton Hrono", reached number one on all Greek charts, becoming his fourth consecutive single to do so. The song won Rouvas the award for Best Balkan Song from Greece at the first Balkan Music Awards, while its video earned him five MAD Video Music Awards nominations, —more than any other video— winning Best Pop Video, Artist of the Year, and Fashion Icon of the Year and equaling the most awards won by an artist in one night, with four. The song also contributed to Rouvas' win for Best Greek Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2010, and he was then shortlisted in the category Best European Act. "Emena Thes", the second single, was released in May and peaked at number five on the mixed airplay chart as well as on the digital sales chart while the title track, was released in October. and peaked at number one on the domestic airplay chart for three weeks. and number two on the mixed airplay chart. The album's fourth single was released in late February 2011 titled "Oi dyo mas". The video clip of the song was released at the end of March 2011 were the song topped the National Airplay chart. For the second consecutive year, Rouvas received the Singer of the Year title at the Status Men of the Year Awards.
In June, Rouvas and his brother Vasilis launched their own television and film production company, Sakis Rouvas Kinematografos EPE, while on 14 July Rouvas closed the French Embassy of Greece's celebratory commemoration of the national French anniversary with a performance of the French and Greek national anthems. Rouvas embarked on his eight city summer tour from 24 July to 19 September. At the 27 July stop in Corinth, he inaugurated his Sakis Rouvas Collection clothing line, in which he had creative input, exclusively to Greek department store retailer Sprider Stores. The collection was inaugurated on 16 September, is available from October and caters to both sexes. Rouvas performed at the Mykonos Xlsior Festival in support of LGBT people on 27 August and was scheduled to perform at the first Εurovoice on 23 September, as one of four celebrities along with performers Enrique Iglesias, Anastacia, and host Pamela Anderson, although his appearance was later canceled one day prior to the event due to undisclosed issues. For the winter season 2010–11, Rouvas teamed up with Anna Vissi for a concert series at Athens Arena called Face2Face, beginning on 15 October. ANT1 is in negotiations with him to star in a new television series following The X Factor and also presented the third season of the talent show from 29 October – 11 February. For his performance on the show, Rouvas was awarded Presenter of the Year at the 2011 Cypriot Men of the Year Awards. On 2 February, Rouvas was one of eight main acts participating in the first MADWalk, an equivalent to the international Fashion Rocks, where he represented Celia Kritharioti Haute Couture. In the spring he did ten appearances at Thalassa. After a short break he continued his live appearances at Puli Axiou in Thessaloniki,while he announced his upcoming winter performances at Athens Arena with the band Onirama and Eleni Foureira as his opening act... He also released his new single called "Kane na mi s' agapiso". On 15 October he and his longtime partner, Katia Zygouli became parents for the second time to a baby boy who they named Alexandros. At the 2012 Johnnie Walker Men of the Year Awards in Cyprus, Rouvas was presented with the highest honour of Greek of the Year for his philanthropic contributions, particularly with the Elpida foundation. In February 2012 Rouvas performed his new single "Bad Thing" with American singer Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6 at the second MADWalk, where he represented designer Apostolos Mitropoulos. The single is expected to be released worldwide after the show. Rouvas released his new single "Tora" (now) which he performed at the 2012 MAD Video Music Awards. He was nominated for four awards including Best Pop Video and Video of the Year and won Male Artist of the Year and Artist of the Year for "I Dyo Mas".
Third child, theatre, and current projects (2013-present)
On 3 January 2013 Zygouli gave birth to the couple's third child, another daughter. Rouvas returned to television as a presenter for ANT1's humanitarian project Iroes Anamesa Mas (heroes among us), a ten-part documentary series that focuses on the stories of real-life people who have been nominated for their heroic deeds in an effort to help others. The series debuted on 23 May. During production Rouvas traveled all around Greece to conduct the interviews with the featured nominees. In the summer, Rouvas will make his theatrical debut at the prestigious ancient theatre of Epidaurus in Euripides' tragedy The Bacchae, portraying the lead role of the God Dionysus.
Rouvas is currently working on new music; he released a new rock-Zeibekiko mash-up ballad titled "Niose Ti Thelo" (feel what I want) and is set to release a new ballad as a single titled "Mia Hara Na Pernas" (have a good time).
At the 2013 MAD Video Music Awards Rouvas has been nominated for four main awards in the categories Best Pop Video, Video of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Artist of the Year. Additionally, "Tora" is nominated as one of the most-played songs of the year on radios and, as part of the award ceremony's ten-year anniversary, his live performances of "+ Se Thelo" (2008) and "Pio Dynata" are contenders for the best live performance in the program's history.
Rouvas' musical roots lie in rock music and as child and young adult he followed mainly the international music scene. Elvis Presley became his biggest musical idol. He came to like the music of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kiss, and Queen, being most influenced by the musical styles of the 1960s, as well as expressing his liking of George Michael and Michael Bolton. He has called Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" "one of the ten best songs that have ever been written." Similarities between Presley and Rouvas have been noted by critics; during his STARZ performances, the Maggira Sisters' opening sketch was based on the joke that Presley had become concerned that a popular Greek musician was imitating him. Rouvas also covered Presley's "Suspicious Minds" for the film Alter Ego and its soundtrack. He stated that what he found most impressive about Presley as a child was "the way that he sang, that he danced, that he felt what he interpreted and what I believed that his audience felt when they heard him". He has also been influenced by Greek artists outside of his own era and musical style such as Giannis Parios, Marinella, and Nana Mouskouri, who became a personal mentor to him, and has cited Haris Alexiou and Anna Vissi as the two greatest female artists in Greece.
Later on, pop, R&B, and funk influences became more prominent, and Rouvas has noted that he listens to a broad range of music in order to educate himself and further develop his own style, with these genres ranging from rock, classical, and jazz. Michael Jackson became a great influence on many aspects of his vocals, dancing, and views on the music industry and humanitarian issues. Jackson's "Earth Song" is another favourite, particularly for its environmental message. Following Jackson's death, Rouvas dedicated a song to him at his Concert for the Environment and spoke to the public of Jackson's legacy, igniting ongoing applause from the audience:
"[Michael Jackson was] one of the most significant singers ever on this planet and the biggest showman that has ever passed by on this planet [...] a person whose life was a 'thriller', but however complicated his life was, he dedicated it for the good of the children and of the planet. Many people want to remember him for the complex persona that he had, I want to remember him for everything that he gave to us all of these years, and for all the reasons that he inspired us."
In addition to musical influences, Rouvas' work has been influenced by literature, Greek art, and spirituality. He has credited his success to his faith, which he associated with more as he got older, saying "I am very thankful. I feel blessed. And everyday I thank God for that. Everyday. That is something that I didn't do in the past. Once, I didn't understand, I didn't value." He has a close personal relations with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who baptized his first-born child.
Rouvas is fluent in Greek, English, and French, having presented the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in a mixture of all three languages. He has previously recorded songs in all three, while he has also studied Turkish and Russian phonetically for recordings, namely for his 1997 collaboration with Burak Kut in Cyprus and for his Russian duet of his hit "Se Thelo San Trelos" with Philipp Kirkorov called "Kak Sumashedshij Ya", that became a hit in Russia, being recorded in three different versions. Rouvas can play guitar, bass, piano, and cello at a fluent level as well as some percussion. On several tours Rouvas appears playing his black Gibson Les Paul electric guitar, while he also plays acoustic guitar for unplugged performances, such as his Live Ballads performance.
Rouvas has expressed disappointment that a lot of younger generations are ignorant of music legends from past decades. Rouvas has described his music style as being "always more rock" as an artist than he has been given credit for, however he has never felt the need to push this persona. Overall he self-identifies as both a pop and rock artist. He has been praised for not tapping into traditional Greek genres in order for more commercial success, as pop music is a minority genre in Greece. In response to whether he believed it was difficult being a pop/rock artist in a folk market, Rouvas replied that he believed that there was a need for variety of music genres, adding that while he has experimented with some more traditional Greek styles, it is not what he feels he does best.
The power ballad, Rouvas' signature style, possesses many of the singer's vocal trademarks, including belting, dynamics, and high notes.
Rouvas never had any formal vocal lessons as a boy and taught himself mostly aurally, so during the recording of his first studio album he had to learn music theory in a relatively short time. The singer's voice changed significantly from his early performing period as a teenager to his fully developed adult voice. Rouvas' detractors have alleged that his voice is only average or limited and that the reasons for his appeal are based on image, although they typically did not elaborate on his vocal weaknesses. While supporters labelled these accusations as stereotyping and biased, many —whether critical or lauding of Rouvas' vocals— agree that his vocal abilities have often been overshadowed by his other qualities, such as stage performance skills and physical appearance which have received more emphasis in the media; many preferred to watch him perform rather than just hear him. However, these generalizations were mostly diminishing by the second decade of his career and critics have often praised Rouvas' technical skills, particularly his range, power, and versatility, as well as the distinctive expressive qualities of his voice.
Rouvas possesses a tenor vocal range; while he can also sing low, below the treble clef staff, he usually prefers his higher range and can hit notes beyond the typical tenor high extreme, reaching notes above the staff without the use of falsetto. Rouvas nuances his dynamics from quiet whispers to high-powered belts. His vocal power was prominent even in his earliest recordings, notably on songs such as "Mia Fora" from Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas —which was the first album in which he fully exhibited his vocal abilities. During the hiatus of 1997–98, Rouvas received voice lessons from American vocal coach Raz Kennedy, focusing on rock and blues techniques. The subsequent album Kati Apo Mena was an important album in Rouvas' vocal development. Throughout the album he exhibited with consistency a depth and new dimensions of his voice that could previously only be observed on a few select tracks on his first five albums. He won the Pop Corn Music Award for Best Male Vocal Performance twice consecutively in 1999 for "Den Ehei Sidera I Kardia Sou" and 2000 for "Se Thelo San Trelos", the latter from 21os Akatallilos. By the release of Live Ballads in 2006, Pavlos Zervas of Music Corner was under the impression that Rouvas' voice had reached its most mature form.
Tasos P. Karantis of Orfeas, no fan of Rouvas' musical or vocal style, admitted that Rouvas sang repertoire with competence and technical precision, and that his voice has a distinct quality that makes it easily recognizable. Ilias Malasidis of Athens 24, also not a fan, commented that initially Rouvas' voice was more intriguing than his songs. Rouvas' vocals have been most favoured in power ballads, a style that became his signature. One particular reason for this was because of the enhancement his sensual timbre provided. Reviewers have also praised Rouvas' live vocal performances, specifically his ability to execute "especially difficult and demanding songs", hit very high notes held for an extended period of time as well as dance while singing. Down Town commended him for always performing his shows live, when it is commonplace for Greek artists to perform even concerts using a playback track, while Billboard noted that his ability to sing well in English would increase his international appeal. Over the span of his career, Rouvas has manipulated his voice to perform in various genres and contemporary and traditional styles; in some songs, such as "O Iroas" from Iparhi Agapi Edo, he performs spoken verses which have been described as a "light rap." He has also performed both in crooner styles and as a classical tenor. Above his technical vocal abilities, Rouvas' defining characteristic as a vocalist has been his capability of expression. Rouvas maintains his voice with a strict diet of organic food, as well as by not drinking alcohol or smoking, and also prohibits anyone from smoking in his dressing room. Singer-songwriter Stelios Rokkos, who collaborated with him for three seasons described him as "probably the most disciplined singer I have ever met. In fact to the point of insanity."
Live performance and music videos
Often cited as the nation's greatest performer, Rouvas has received universal acclaim for his live stage performances and presence, even from his biggest detractors and those who did not particularly admire his musical style. "With a smile worth many millions and a stage presence that fascinates you even if the genre of music he represents doesn't interest you. With the gold dust his presence radiates. With his rhythm, in which you follow him whether you want to or not" said Billboard Greece's Kalli Polemi of his appeal. Additionally, Nico Mastorakis noted "if someone has not yet accepted the Rouvas phenomenon then that means that they have not been exposed to even three minutes of his live stage performance. Even those who understand the word endurance, will have difficulty comprehending it in Sakis' case[: an hour and a half] every night dancing while singing and singing while dancing...and the amazing thing is that he does both so wonderfully to the point that you don't know which you prefer." In his first club performances, Rouvas self-choreographed swing-style performances for his Presley covers. In the late 1990s, he began a long collaboration with choreographer Fokas Evangelinos for his performances. Evangelinos also collaborated with Rouvas for his two Eurovision performances. In the first, he combined contemporary and traditional Greek dance, while in the second, EBU credited Greece for making high technological advancements in the contest's standards. The performance which was described as "advanced and modern" with "intense choreography", made use of a rotating podium that transported him from left to right and back on the stage, was used as a base to lock in the feet of the performers during the bridge where they performed the anti-gravity lean inspired by Michael Jackson in the music video of "Smooth Criminal", and finally to lift him into the air and reveal a Greek flag only visible to television viewers. For his STARZ performances Rouvas embarked on a musical-type show. In 1999, Billboard wrote "a great live performer, he combines dancing and singing skills with impressive costumes" and acknowledged him as the "most promising new Greek pop male artist on the international scene."
Rouvas was amongst the first Greek artists to regularly use music videos as a promotional tool. From his albums Gia Sena to Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola, Psinakis played a part in the production of his music videos, either as a director or screenwriter. The video for "Disco Girl" was shot in Cape Town, South Africa at a budget of 300 thousand euros, making it one of the most expensive Greek music videos of all time. The concept brought a humorous approach to a James Bond-inspired theme. "Shake It" was shot in Santorini on various inaccessible locations, including dancing on the edge of a cliff, climbing a hill, and swimming in cold waters. The video was nominated for "Video of the Year" at both the MAD and Arion awards. Rouvas' forthcoming music video "Emena Thes" will incorporate a "highly atmospheric" visual and will possess a cinematographic effect that has never been used before in Greece.
Rouvas holds a number of records at the MAD Video Music Awards, including the most awards won by a male artist (seventeen) as of 2010, being the second most honoured artist overall. His five-time nominee "Spase To Hrono" received more nominations than any other video in the awards' history (including contribution to the nominations Male Artist of the Year and Artist of the Year) until he broke his own record with "I Dyo Mas", which received six nominations between 2011 and 2012. Excluding the two special categories awarded by MAD Radio and MAD TV Bulgaria, he has received the maximum six nominations more times than any other artist (2006, 2009, 2010), is one of the few artists to have received nominations on every year since the ceremony's launch in 2004, and has won at least one award every year with the exception of 2005. Rouvas has won in eight different categories and been nominated in ten. Additionally, he has won more times than any other artist in the Best Male category (four), and is tied for most wins in the fashion (two) category, while since 2009 he has won the most coveted prize, Artist of the Year, an unprecedented four consecutive times.
Film and television
As of moving to Los Angeles in 2005, Rouvas had been studying acting and attending classes, but also received some training from his friend Tom Hanks. He had been interested in cinema from childhood and finally made the decision to make films, while one year and a half after he began studying he received a proposal from Village Roadshow. In his first feature film, Alter Ego, where he also served as associate producer, Rouvas played a role similar to what he is in reality. Before that he had dubbed English-language animated films in Greek. When comparisons between Rouvas and the protagonist Stefanos arose, with speculations of the scenario being autobiographical, Rouvas replied that despite some similarities in their characters, Stefanos was a "much more aggressive person." Rouvas adopted a new look for the film, which was credited by Nitro as assisting the new emo movement emerging amongst Greek youth. While Rouvas was able to garner some critical acclaim as a singer-turned-actor, some critics felt that it did not offer enough to judge whether Rouvas possessed any exceptional acting talent. His second feature, the indie film Duress was a Hollywood psychological thriller, where the actor plays the antagonist role of a serial killer, a role differing heavily from his perceived public image amongst Greek audiences. Rouvas cited the film as the most difficult thing he had done in his career up until that point. In the film's plot theme of "cat and mouse", Giannis Zoumboulakis of To Vima believed Rouvas to be highly convincing: "You accept the proposal from the first moments, forgetting completely that the 'bad' guy in the story is the host of X-Factor." He concluded that "Going against his own image Rouvas creates a very exceptional psycho killer. With his gray-beige [,] old[,] wool coat and grimey[,] parted hair and without his bright smile he creates from scratch a hero that is all his." Panagiotis Timogiannakis however argued that Rouvas had begun showing a different side of himself since Alter Ego, and that the fact that this was being widely ignored was unfair. Timogiannakis also noted that in the silver screen Rouvas seems to lose the luster he has on stage and television as the lighting does not flatter him; seeing as how this was the case in both films, he pondered whether the actor had chosen this effect himself to be deglamourized in order to become an actor of serious roles, saying "he needs to clear up whether he wants to have a career of a star or of a role player. A born role player he does not seem to be. A born star he is."
The presentation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 was a catalyst for longterm hosting roles such as The X Factor, where Rouvas further presented a glib side of himself. Television producer Giannis Latsios stated that Rouvas' presence contributed significantly to the show's success and called the presenter's first season performance "great", adding that "We had a program that had to do with music and Sakis, on a collective level, is an icon that the generation which participates in this show has as an idol. He is a glowing character with much higher capabilities of expression and, if he decides to continue this path, will improve. He has immediacy, critique and most of all he gave to a program a luster, which was not standard from the beginning."
Rouvas has mentioned that personal fitness and health play an important role in his life. He has said that being physically fit is not only important to him for the purpose of physical appearance, but also for the purpose of physical health, while it helps improve his psychological state. In order to maintain a good physical condition, Rouvas participates in water-skiing, surfing, tennis, football, and skiing, while also taking part in extreme sports, claiming to have sky-dived from 3,000 metres.
Rouvas became a major fashion and stylistic icon. In his early performing period, his most characteristic fashion was a series of jackets, beginning with leather styles during the Min Andistekese era and evolving into more militaristic styles following Gia Sena. He revisited this trend later on with his white "Shake It" performance jacket. This look later evolved into the black leather pants and open white shirt that he wore in all four music videos from Aima, Dakrya & Idrotas. Additionally, his aviator sunglasses have remained his signature throughout his career. Following the media attention attracted by his Valentino skirt, it became more common for male celebrities in Greece to wear skirts at public events in the future, such as singers Nino and Giorgos Mazonakis, and French footballer Djibril Cissé, a striker for the Greek Panathinaikos FC.
Rouvas' image and personal life has at times generated significant controversy. Pertaining his fashion and stage antics, Journalist Thomai Karathanou has suggested that controversy towards this would most likely not be as intense if Rouvas were abroad: "The Greek societal reality, denying to accept a skirt on a man in a show setting, something that compared to Lady Gaga of today, seems like a simple stroll with a shirt and jeans."
Rouvas has been recognized for his acts of philanthropy in the support of numerous charitable organizations and causes, particularly ones directed to children and the environment. Rouvas had been bothered by social and environmental issues since childhood. In a January 1992 interview that exhibited the homes of young upcoming artists, Rouvas was asked about his wildest dream, to which he responded "I dream about a new planet that will have all of the beauties that the Earth had a few years ago. The environmental destruction that our planet has suffered hurts me and for this we are all responsible. Only with some kind of crazy dream like that can we save it." The artist also supports equal rights for LGBT people and performed at the Athens Pride 2010, and has openly supported the creation of a proposition that would oppose Proposition 8 and legalize gay marriage and equal rights for all.
His relationship with Zygouli has been highly publicized and recognized as Greece's most prominent supercouple, being equated to Brangelina. The birth of their child was highly anticipated; this was largely in part due to the result being a combination of genetics of two people considered to be the most beautiful in the entertainment industry. From his early career Rouvas has been considered a sex symbol and has been cited as one of the most attractive men in entertainment and an icon for youth and beauty, To Vima published a 1997 study that found Rouvas' facial structure and features fit the golden ratio to near perfection. Ηe has been featured on several lists. Ιn 2009, he was ranked number three on Glamour's Sexiest Men list, being one of six Greek men featured and the highest ranking, and later fourth on its list of 50 Sexiest Greek Men in 2010. He was voted the Most Handsome Greek Man in 2009 in a landslide victory by readers of Yupi, who also described him as having "the most attractive abdominals in showbiz." Greek People named him its first Sexiest Man Alive in 2010. Α 2009 study found that the entertainer was the man women would most want to marry. On the topic of being a male role model, Men's Health stated Rouvas was equivalent to a "Superman" figure to men and "the archetype of a highly successful man", while also describing him as the nation's "ultimate health icon". With the exception of entertainers who chose to be professionally recognized mononymously, Rouvas was the only entertainer to be widely recognized on a first-name basis. Rouvas' media fame often allowed him to break traditional gender boundaries and he has often been featured on covers of women's interest magazines or men's magazines that exclusively feature female models. He became the first man to be featured on the cover of Greek Vogue in 2002, the first man on the cover of Nitro in 2004, the only man to date on the cover of Glamour in 2009, as well as the only man in the world to ever make the cover of Cosmopolitan (Greek April 2004 edition) and in April 2010 resumed this role in celebration of the magazine's 10-year Greek anniversary, reaching unprecedented sales. For this he received positive attention from American celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, making him one of two celebrities working in Greece to be mentioned on his blog. He has also been featured on the cover of Down Town more than any other man as of 2009. Rouvas' widespread appeal makes him particularly sought after by advertisers, as his seal of approval is a significant addition to a brand's credibility and marketability, according to Forbes; he has had more endorsement deals than any other Greek celebrity including Martini, Pepsi, Vodafone Greece, BU Perfume, Trident, Kri Kri, Luxottica, and Fage's Ageladitsa yogurt. He has been noted for his use of technological trends to efficiently communicate with fans and promote himself, and admittedly has an obsession with gadgets which led to him serving as the jury president at the 2010 Digital Media Festival that was held in Athens. Rouvas is the most popular Greek celebrity in terms of social networks; from its beginning in 1996, his official fanclub, the "SRFC" (Sakis Rouvas Fanclub) became the largest fan club of any Greek entertainer, a title that it holds to date. As of 2010, he has over 200 thousand Facebook fans, making him the sixth most popular Eurovision participant on the network following Canadian singer Céline Dion who represented Switzerland, the band maNga of Turkey, ABBA of Sweden, Lena Meyer-Landrut of Germany, and Toše Proeski who represented Republic of Macedonia, while within the first year of use he had 15 thousand followers on Twitter, a trend which he pioneered among the nation's celebrities. Additionally, he has multiple videos on the file sharing website YouTube that have surpassed one million views.
Legacy and influence
Rouvas is frequently cited as Greece's biggest and occasionally only superstar. He has played a major role in breaking cultural barriers through the popularization of Western music genres and the development of pop music in the Greek industry, being widely credited as the genre's primary performer. Even by 2006, Pavlos Zervas of MusicCorner alleged that Rouvas was the primary performer supporting the pop/dance genre in Greece with such success. Jarmo Siim of the EBU characterized Rouvas as "undoubtedly the ultimate pop star in Greece with great international appeal." In the early 1990s, Rouvas became a dominant figure in Greek music, gaining notoriety for having a mass fanbase, especially with youth, leading to him being recognized as a phenomenon, a first in Greek music; he was compared to international phenomenons, Presley and Jackson, and the effect was often dubbed "Rouvomania", while the term "Rouvitsa" was coined for female members of his fanbase, who were distinguished by what were considered to be extreme reactions towards the singer. By the late 1990s, Rouvas had gained the largest fan club of any Greek figure. His success led to him being dubbed "The Golden Man of the Decade" by Down Town in 1999. In 2009, five of his singles ("1992", "Ela Mou", "Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola", "Shake It", and "+ Se Thelo") were included on Mega Star's 20th anniversary as songs that defined the past 20 years. In the end of 2009 Down Town named him "Εntertainer of the Decade", its highest honour, for his contributions to music, film, television, and overall cultural relevance, indicating that Rouvas was the only case of a full-out entertainer in the nation. Greek Forbes also listed him as the third most powerful and influential celebrity in Greece and top ranked singer. Describing him as a "commercial phenomenon", Rouvas was recognized as the most commercially successful entertainer with his name being associated as the strongest brand in Greece. During 2009–2010, Rouvas earned 18 thousand euros per night at The S Club, as well as a percentage of the venue's profits and makes 250 thousand per season on The X Factor, as well as 35–40 thousand in personal gain alone per concert, while he is paid 100–350 thousand euros per campaign in advertising. At the same time, MAD TV described him as "unstoppable" for continuous success in a wide field of ventures, while its presenter Themis Georgantas called him the standard for radio deejays in doubt what to play, and considered that at this point he had broken generational barriers, having a wide fanbase of varying ages as well as continuous popularity with newer audiences. MTV Networks summarized him as "an exceptional artist who encompasses pure devotion to music and brings evolving inginuity to all of his performances." Nearing the third decade of his career, Rouvas had already been cited as the most popular Greek artist by varying sources as well as of the most internationally recognizable. Rouvas retained a standard of autonomy. Unlike most artists, he no longer needed commercial success to maintain a high degree of cultural relevance. Rouvas achieved financial and entrepreneurial control by becoming the first Greek entertainer to market themselves through products and business ventures, such as having his own line of dolls and ready-to-wear fashion line, having pioneered both.
Rouvas has been referred to as the "king" of both Greek pop and showbiz. Amongst his other achievements are multiple number-one albums and singles, Pop Corn, Arion, and MAD Video Music Awards, an MTV Europe Music Award, and a World Music Award, being one of only four artists recording in Greece to ever be a recipient. His total record sales have been estimated at nearly two million records as of 2008, making him one of the most commercially successful Greek artists of all time and also one of the most influential, with the artist having been considered analogous to Michael Jackson to Greece from the beginning of his career. His distinct musical, fashion, and performance style has heavily influenced the new pop generation and movement, and has also generated a number of others who have been deemed copycats. Michalis Hatzigiannis, Nino, and Kostas Martakis have all been cited as artists who follow in Rouvas' pattern. As one of the most media exposed Greek celebrities, Rouvas' influence went beyond the arts as he has had an effect on social issues affecting the nation and younger generation. He became nationalized into a cultural icon and throughout his career has had an "unparalleled" influence over the younger generation. Swedish-Finnish journalist Lilian Brunell stated that from her perspective as a foreigner, Rouvas seemed to be a modern-day cultural equivalent to Alexander the Great. His contributions to the music and entertainment industries, as well as Greek culture and society, have kept him a part of popular culture for nearly two decades.
|Year||Title||Role||Notes and Awards|
|1996||I Panagia ton Parision
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
|Lightning McQueen||Protagonist, Voice|
Also associate producer
|2009||Planitis 51: Episkeptis Apo Ti Gi
|Captain Charles "Chuck" T. Baker||Protagonist, Voice|
|2013||Γενέθλια της Αλίκης||Professor Seleznev||Voice|
|Year||Title||Role||Notes and Awards|
|1996||Kalinyhta Mama||Himself||1 episode|
|2006||Eurovision Song Contest 2006||Himself||Host with Maria Menounos|
|2007||Kostas Statiris Song Contest 2007, Farsala||Himself||Host with Kostas Statiris|
|2008-2011–present||The X Factor||Himself||Host
|2013||Iroes anamesa mas||Himself||Host|
- Tora Arhizoun Ta Dyskola Summer Tour (1997)
- Pepsi Tour (2001)
- Ola Kala World Tour (2002)
- Sakis Live in Town Tour (2003)
- Sakis on Stage Tour (2005)
- Fire Victims Tour (2007)
- Antonis Remos - Sakis Rouvas World Tour (2008)
- Kalokairino Randevou me ton Saki Tour (2008)
- Sakis Live Tour (2009)
- Sakis Summer Tour 2010
- To Ekati (1990)
- Athens Show Center (1991)
- Posidonio (1992)
- Posidonio (1994)
- Chaos (1996)
- Pyli Axiou (1997)
- Chaos (1998)
- Vio Vio (1999–2000)
- Pyli Axiou (2000)
- Apollonas (2000–01)
- Rex (2001–2002)
- Fever (2003–04)
- Fever (2004–05)
- Boom (2007)
- Politia (2008)
- STARZ (2008–09)
- Politia Live Clubbing (2009)
- The S Club (2009–2010)
- Politia Live Clubbing (2010)
- Face2Face (2010–11)
- The S Club at Thalassa: People's Stage (2011)
- Pyli Axiou (2011)
- Underworld S Club (2011–2012)
- Underworld S Club at Politia Live Clubbing (2012)
- The S Club at Thalassa: People's Stage (2012)
- "Afti Einai I Zoi Mou" (2009); An article co-written with Petros Kostopoulos featured in the April 2009 issue of Nitro.
- "Info-diet 370" (2011); An article featured in the November 2011 issue of Athens Voice.
- Honorific nicknames in popular music
- List of Eurovision Song Contest presenters
- List of Greeks
- List of Pepsi spokespersons
- Mononymous person
- Sakis Rouvas at Wikipedia books
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Ειδήσεις http://www.rodacino.gr/article.jsf?id=4B927664EBD387D470383F4FD38B5649&at=1Ο Σάκης και η Αναστασία του!
- Stavrou Karayanni, Stavros (2004), Dancing Fear & Desire: Race, Sexuality and Imperial Politics in Middle Eastern Dance, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, ISBN 0-88920-454-3
|Find more about Sakis Rouvas at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|News stories from Wikinews|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
- Official Sakis Rouvas websites: Professional, Web TV
- Official Russian site
- Sakis Rouvas at Discogs
- Sakis Rouvas on the Internet Movie Database
|Awards and achievements|
|Eurovision Song Contest|
with "Never Let You Go"
|Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "My Number One"
with "Secret Combination"
|Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest
Giorgos Alkaios & Friends
Pavlo Shylko & Maria Efrosinina
|Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Maria Menounos)
Mikko Leppilampi & Jaana Pelkonen
|World Music Awards|
|World's Best-Selling Greek Artist
|Down Town "Entertainer of the Decade"
|Greek People's "Sexiest Man Alive"