Interview by Chris Willow
Andry Lagiou, an exceptional blues-metal vocalist. She started to sing very early at the age of 9 and when she turned 13 she managed to perform on stage already. We can hear her deep inspiration in Ronnie James Dio and Ritchie Blackmore’s type of heavy rock. She also took The Voice Of Greece by storm in September 2017 singing Deep Purple’s Burn classic hit and Rainbow’s iconic ‘Temple Of The King’. The success was great with 1.5 Million YouTube viewers worldwide and she was on major live TV channels too. She formed The Harps in 2012 in Athens, Greece. The band was performing mainly her composition being under the influence of top-class metal bands. Her 3,5 octaves lyric dramatic soprano and classical, medieval, and ancient music fascinations put into the bluesy metal twist together with Tina Turner alike claw give the modern heavy metal a new look. Andry is a worrier and strong stage character and she is on her way now. The Harps new ‘Mistress Of The Night’ video speaks for itself…We just need to watch, listen, and enjoy!
C: How has your singing adventure begun? How did it happen you landed in The Voice Of Greece singing Deep Purple’s Burn? Tell us about it, Andry, please.
A: Hello thanks for inviting me. Well, my musical journey began when I was 16 years old, and my guitar teacher hired me as a singer. I have played many gigs and my voice grew up slowly to become what I am now.
The Voice was an amazing experience I owe a lot to the Maestro that believed in me and gave me the chance to prove what I can do. It was at a time when I had a band (Harps), but all those guys left me and wanted to play covers in order to make money so I took all my broken pieces and started over. Finally, I ended up being viral worldwide and it was something no band could offer me or no one else except my own self. I got validated in some point. I really miss those times it was fun exhausting but fun.
C: What generally does inspire you to sing? Who are your favourite composers (I mean classical and rock ones) and performers? What instruments do you play?
I get inspired by Dio and Aguilera vocally but when it comes to song writing and when I play guitar, I always have in mind what Ritchie Blackmore could have said. And then I trust myself and I do what I believe. I think of some people what would they say and then I combine it with my own thoughts. I play guitar Bass and a lil bit of drums and keys. I’m good at Harp though but haven’t bought one yet.
C: You had quite a few releases on YouTube, solo and with other successful YouTubers too. What bands and musicians did you cover?
A: Black Sabbath, Queensrÿche, Queen, Iron Maiden, Doro, Beth Hart, Aguilera. I did the Aces High my version with a well-known youtuber that wanted my backing tracks.
C: Black Sabbath ‘Heaven And Hell’ cover is a very good one. We can hear strong Ronnie James Dio vibes. Why did you do that song? Any Dio forces were at work?
A: I sang Dio on the Voice too Temple of the King. Mike Lepond plays on that one my bassist of Symphony X.I wanted to give a bluesy attitude on that song cause when I cover something I do not copy. I would say that Ronnie lives inside me whatever I sing I have that power. Maybe He’s my Godfather I don’t know.
C: When did you start your ‘The Harps’ project? What was the music idea you wanted to build the band around?
A: I started THE HARPS back in 2010 I was young I was playing covers till I found out I’m a good songwriter. Since I been doing this all alone it took me a lot of time to get the first album out, I didn’t have any guidance from other musicians I just had to do what I believed was right. In the very beginning I wanted to show people the ups and down one human being can have. vulnerability versus strength, Love versus hatred, heaven versus hell. Showing that the true colours can be all the shades of every colour and not only, black, grey, white. The diversity and complexion. The nuance of my voice that would guide people to find out who they are, Its always based on my voice and guitar riffs. I pay attention to the orchestrations and my voice. I have to put out also catchy songs and this is a small restriction. I love making music.
C: The Harps’ first album ‘Love Strikes Doves ‘was released in 2017. What does it reflect? What was the main inspiration for you when doing it?
A: As you can see from the album cover there’s a woman that breathes and sings the cords where the doves are. Some of the doves are stable on the cords some of them are flying high and some die. This means that I’m the observer that watches people and analyse their behaviour their flaws their power and their destiny. The line of the songs is important since it’s a story where it shows the ups and downs. One song soft one song hard, and it keeps going. Like life and the obstacles, we see in our way.
A: When I did ‘Love Strikes Doves’ I didn’t know exactly what I was doing to be honest. I have a song that changes beats per minute (bpm) every 2 bars. So I was young experimenting on stuff. I didn’t have the money to record in the studio during the daylight, so I was going after 12 in the night and very tired. It felt lonely but it was mine and no one could take that away from me. I had to prove myself that I can stand on my own.
C: Your ‘Mistress Of The Night’ of the new ‘Skies’ album promo video mixed by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Dio producer is already on YouTube. And it is doing quite well. How do you remember recording it? Your white snake appearance is exceptional. What vibes were at work when making the music and a clip itself?
A: Well, when I did Mistress, I was very sure what I was doing. I wanted to change the industry as far as concerned Women entrepreneurs. I had this dream about the video and when I woke up, I called my friend Tommy started reciting the story I was like” Tommy I got to find a castle and soldiers and snakes and princesses.” He was like ” ok I’m with you but it’s a bit difficult to do all that in Greece” and I was like ” Nothing is too difficult when I want something” and here we are with a crew of 30 people actors’ lights Red cameras and a castle only for me.
Yes, Mike Exeter did a great job on the mix. My snake Diamond he is the positive note in my daily routine. When we were all gathered, we were so happy cause I knew that this is going to be a hit. we were exhausted I did all the makeup and matched the outfits the script and direction. So, I had to put the make up to all of them and then to myself and act also. I miss those moments.
C: Could you tell us about your stage outfit? Who does design it for you? How do you select it and things like that? What is your favourite colour if it is about your clothes and why? Do you have any special type of stage clothing that makes you sing better? 🙂
A: Leo Theo from Germany sews my clothes he knows exactly what to give me every time, I got the Mistress Helmet and outfit it matched my personality, and this was I created the character. On Lovecircle we designed the Dio sleeves but in medieval women shape. On stage I prefer Black or Blue or Red. I might go crazy in the future and wear pink hello kitty I don’t know. Wearing high heels on stage can be really painful but I’m still working on it. I guess expensive boots don’t leave you marks on your toes. Leo and I will create the most outstanding outfit of all times…we work together on that for about a month now. It’s a surprise!!
C: You are quite a versatile singer. How do you feel being able to sing in a couple of foreign languages?
A: I speak English Spanish French and Greek of course. I got used to it I had language talent and used it on the songs also. Even if I don’t know a language, I can sing it perfectly by only listening to the way of speaking, in France this lesson is called ”phonetique” [phonetic] and it has to do with utterance.
C: Your ‘Skies’ new album is going to appear soon. Who is in your band now? Do you currently practice and rehearse with the new material?
A: I can’t rehearse with the guys since they live in other countries. On my second album the players are: Mike Lepond, Stephen Platt, Corving Bahn and on the mix / Mike Exeter, Jay Ruston and Bill Metoyer. To me it doesn’t matter who the band is because I always find amazing players and I’m really proud of them. The line-up might change again.
C: You work now with the famous heavy metal producers Jay Ruston mixing and producing Amon Amarth, Anthrax, Uriah Heep, and Steel Panther, and Bill Metoyer who has recorded with Slayer, Morbid Angel, and worked for Metal Blade Records. Having such a team what do you plan to release next? What YouTube video of the ‘Skies’ album will be next?
A: Yes, you guessed right! Skies is the next one mixed by Jay Ruston, Jay and Bill love my work and who i am and we have so much respect and love. I really thank them for being here for me.
C: What is on your wish list for the summer of 2021?
A: To come back in reality without the pandemic, to tour with my people, and have music as day job and night job. I wish for love and more great music.
C: Thank you Andry for your words and the interview.
Chris Willow – Music Journalist