A&R Factory had the massive pleasure of interviewing Cyprus-based indie singer-songwriter Apostola. This fearless young artist takes us deep inside her universe with a rare glimpse inside.
We appreciate you reaching out, Apostola. You’re one of our first ever interviews, so let’s do this.
Thank you! It’s nice to have a ‘chat’ as I don’t tend to over-share on social media; I like my music to tell the story, and I am also a bit camera shy!
Firstly, please let everyone know where you’re from and based currently.
I am an island girl! I come from a Mediterranean family and was born in London, England, where I spent my childhood years. We left the UK just before my teens and moved to Cyprus – the smaller, warmer Mediterranean island where my parents are originally from. For a few years, I bounced back and forth between my two home countries but have been permanently living in the sunshine for some years now as I don’t like the cold at all and crave the sea. Last year’s summer single ‘My Heart Belongs
to an Island’ captures that unique island feeling and why I love it so much!
Being yourself in this wild world is so key to being happy. Which specific moment drove you to write your latest release?
My latest release is a compilation album ‘Pop!’ and prior to that, it was ‘Suitcase Full of Dreams’ for the summer. Both releases are upbeat commercial pop, but they were released as a bit of an antidote to the serious ‘World for Sale’ album released in March this year. I have to admit, when I wrote and released the concept album, I was not happy. It was a dark time for a lot of people, and I poured all my frustrations and fears into those 10 tracks. It left me very emotionally drained because there was a lot of ‘me’ in the songs whereas I most often song write by ‘acting’ the role of someone going through something. As a result, I haven’t been back to the studio to record new music since… it really took something out of me. The concept albums with more serious themes started with the ‘Broken World’ album in 2021, which coincided with the pandemic, and this album was the next step; part 2 of issues I felt I needed to sing about as a form of expression and catharsis for me, and hopefully, others.
Realising the need for balance, ‘Suitcase Full of Dreams’ was released for a more ‘fun’ summer, and I then collated all my happier, more upbeat pop tracks and released the compilation album ‘Pop!’ in September. I wanted to remember that I don’t just write heavy narratives and to also bridge the gap till my next releases with something more positive.
Summertime is for Dancing is an absolute anthem and seems to perfectly illustrate current times. Does it feel like the music scene is back to normal in your hometown or not yet?
Thank you! I hope it gets people dancing! We had a very good summer that felt ‘back-to- normal’ with people enjoying themselves dancing, watching live performances and remembering how to have fun and live moments to the fullest. I think this is all the sweeter when you have come out of very uncertain and unchartered territory and have experienced what it means to lose freedom, music, dancing and good times. Let’s hope that people will be able to boogie to ‘Summertime is for Dancing’ for years to come!
How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music before?
This is something I struggle with. I kinda did myself a disservice by releasing two styles of music, but at the end of the day, it is all within the pop genre. The singles tend to be commercial, electronic pop, but the EPs and albums are adult contemporary concept releases with much heavier lyrics and a more ‘serious’ vibe, which I have been told are musical narratives. And so, I cannot really find a good way to link the two under one description!
As indies, we are advised to create a strong identity with consistency, but just like humans don’t have one emotion or have fixed tastes, my music is also based on that rollercoaster of emotions and preferences; we don’t eat and wear the same things every day, because we don’t feel the same every day.
How would your best friend describe you?
I have a cluster of different besties and not just one main best friend. I think each of them would describe me differently because we are different things to different people. I think generally they would all say that I give good advice and am a good listener and a supportive friend. I think they would also say that I give thoughtful gifts, as I always quietly take note of things they like or want. I tend to be the friend in the group who is wearing the bright colours and big patterns, which some like, but others find just too garish and over-the-top! I am also the one in the group who will go with the flow to keep the peace!
Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians just starting out?
I could write a book on this topic as a lot of it is trial and error. There are so many companies and services out there waiting to take advantage of indie artists; our inexperience in the industry and our desire to get heard as a tiny drop in a very vast ocean of music that is controlled by the majors. I would tell newbies that often it is not about how good your music is. If you haven’t got the resources to get it out to an audience it could be the best music in the world, but no one will know it’s there. There are also new gatekeepers; the ‘influencers’ and the playlist creators – select those you work with wisely! And so, I would strongly advise that the first thing they do (after creating their music, of course!), is to go on a blog called ‘Passive Promotion’ written by the wonderful indie musician Brian Hazard and binge read it! Brian tries out many services for indies and reviews them, offering a treasure-trove of information free-of-charge. Everything I know about the industry, I learnt from him!
Lastly, do you have anything exciting planned in 2023 music-wise?
As I mentioned, the ‘World for Sale’ album took a lot out of me, so I haven’t been in the studio lately despite my intentions for several planned releases. This took me by surprise as the studio is my happy place and I have the material ready. I am going to snap myself out of this and plan to get back to recording in December and release some more concept EPs in 2023, possibly giving each the theme of one specific emotion. But before that, we have Christmas! I have two Christmas tracks: ‘Christmas Smiles’ and ‘Christmas Card’ and both have an animated, accompanying video which has proven popular. Christmas songs are great in that they are timeless. They hibernate all year, then pop up for the holiday period, as fresh as the day they were released! These two tracks tend to do well on radio stations as there are many that are dedicated just to Christmas songs,
so I am looking forward to introducing them to new listeners for Christmas 2022.
Listen up on Spotify.
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Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen