Dimitri Stassos, together with Irini Michas and Jason Gill are the composing team behind the Spanish entry in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, they also reached the Melodifestivalen final this year with another song, performed in Dimitris' native language, Greek. Dimitri speaks to esctoday.com about the adventures of La noche es para mi until it was submitted by Soraya in the Spanish pre-selection, his views on the contest, his dreams to write a song for Greece in Eurovision and much more…
Tell us a bit more about your work outside the Eurovision framework. Who have you worked with so far?
I have been working with artists and projects all over the world, both as a producer and songwriter. For example Ola Svensson from the Swedish Idol-show, Sofia Berntson, releases in Greece and Sweden, Canadian act George Nozuka and Clea from the UK.
You are Greek, living permanently in Sweden and this year your song takes part in the Eurovision Song Contest for Spain. Can you please tell us how did La noche es para mi end up in the Spanish pre-selection? Was it offered to other artists before Soraya? Are there versions of La noche es para mi in other languages apart from the Spanish/English one?
I met some record companies in Athens, in December 2007, and I was asked to write for the Greek pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. I wrote three songs, both labels and artists were interested, but unfortunately it didnÎ�t go all the way. The only artist I think it was offered to, at least for Eurovision is Chryspa. And the voice you hear on the Greek version of La noche es para mi, circulating illegally on the net, is not Elena Paparizou, not Maro Litra, not Chryspa and not Sofia Berntson, itÎ�s just a demo singer!
The original version was in English, and since Greece rejected it, the song was still "open". So my publisher, Janet Jensen from Warner Chappell Scandinavia, send it to Spain. They liked the song, saw its potential for the Eurovision Song Contest, wrote Spanish lyrics, Soraya recorded it, and the rest is history… The Greek version was the one recorded last, it is still unofficial and unreleased, and considered as a demo. I have spoken to Soraya, and she is interested in recording the version with Greek vocals, weÎ�ll see…
This year, you were also lucky to see another song of yours in the Melodifestivalen final, Alla, a song performed in Greek by Sofia. How did you and your team come to make such a decision?
When we submitted Hypnotized in 2007, for the swedish Melodifestivalen, we sent in the original version Ipopta vlemata, in Greek, but later changed it to English, thinking that the Greek language would be too "exotic" for the Swedish audience, in such a classic and traditional event.
This time, with Alla, we wanted to go all the way with Sofia, in Greek, and since the rules allow us, IÎ�m Greek, Sofia loves Greece and everything that comes along with it, it was never a difficult decision. Knowing that we had no chance to win, but at least we could be proud of our choice. It was also a great opportunity to promote Sofia and Alla to a big audience.
La noche es para mi, which will be performed by Soraya in the Eurovision final has a distinct Mediterranean sound to it. Do you think it will also appeal to, say, northern or western audiences?
I think Soraya's song will appeal to most people, itÎ�s a dynamic song, with strong melodies, influenced by many cultures, and performed by a fantastic and very charismatic artist. So yes, I think it will appeal to northern and western audiences as well.
When composing a song for the Eurovision Song Contest what are the things you keep in mind, especially this year with the re -introduction of the jury vote in the final?
When I write this kind of songs, I always think: "simple, effective, dynamic and repetitive hooks." If you can combine those elements in the right way, with the right artist, you could have a winning combination. I never had the jury in mind, power to the people is my philosophy 🙂
Do you think there is a "recipe" to win the Eurovision Song Contest? What are the main ingredients a song must have to win or do exceptionally well?
Although I don't believe there is a recipe to win the Eurovision Song Contest, itÎ�s so much more than just a good song. The artist, the stage show, the hype and some kind of "X-factor" involved…
What's your ultimate dream for the Eurovision Song Contest in the future? Is there one country you secretly want to represent some time?
My dream is to represent Greece, I have wanted that for many years, and I would be extremely proud if given the opportunity. I already have some great song ideas, hopefully the people in charge for the Greek selection next year would like to listen to them!
If we asked you to pick you all time favourite Swedish and Greek Eurovision entries which ones would you choose?
For Sweden, Waterloo, a great song with one the most talented bands ever, Abba… I have quite a few Greek favourites, I really like Pia prosefchi by Elina Konstantopoulou, 1995 and of the more "modern" Greek songs I really like Secret combination with Kalomoira…
How about your favourite winner?
Favourite winner…of course Elena Papparizou with My number one, one of the best artists ever, and also a dream artist for me to work with!
Do you have a message for the readers of esctoday.com?
I wish all the readers a happy and creative summer, and I hope that we all will enjoy a fantastic week in Moscow!