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A tenor with great command

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The internationally renowned singer resorted to music as his parents went through a messy divorce. A sad beginning, but he has never looked back

George Perris is an internationally renowned Greek French musician who began performing at the age of eighteen. His incredible musical career includes collaborations with international artists, as well as using the power of his voice to support various philanthropic causes.

Alongside the charismatic and internationally renowned tenor, Mario Frangoulis, Perris will be visiting Cyprus this December to give a one-of-a-kind concert filled with popular melodies that the pair will be singing for the first time.

“Our magical event will include popular songs from Disney films, Christmas songs and music from some of our favourite musicals, with a sprinkle of magic,” Perris said.

Perris has been engaged with music since he was a child and believes that his actual music calling is one of the greatest mysteries of his life. “I’m not sure if I chose music or if music chose me. All I knew was that music had always been my only outlet since I was a child.”

According to Perris, it served as his main refuge, particularly when he was a child witnessing his parents’ “violent divorce”, and he resorted to music for comfort. “In a sense, it saved me, as it helped me escape,” he said.

Although many world-renowned performers have inspired Perris, his first and greatest influence has been Nana Mouskouri, “because I can easily identify with her music, especially because I grew up in a home that spoke two languages: Greek and French.”

diaspora with nana mouskouri
With Nana Mouskouri

“Nana Mouskouri’s voice is so soothing and healing and at the time, the affection of her voice made me look up to her,” he told the Cyprus Mail. “I also had the privilege of discovering the music of Maria Callas after inheriting my grandmother’s music collection when she passed away.”

He considers listening to her recordings for the first time as a turning point when he could feel the wisdom emanating from her powerful voice. “She was another great influence,” he said, “however it was also during my adolescence when I started expanding my horizons and began listening to music of many Greek and international artists, whom I have had the honour of connecting with and collaborating with over the years.”

According to Perris, pop superstar George Michael was also influential in his musical upbringing, and despite his classical musical background, Perris considers himself a pop singer.

“He influenced me in a totally different way. He produced his own music, and the subjects he took on were so strong, combined with an unparalleled voice; and the fact that there was an underlying Greek tone, albeit discreet, it was there,” he added.

Perris has undoubtedly become a symbol of Hellenism abroad, notably among the diaspora, who are supportive of his musical career.

“I grew up in Greece, and am very attached to my Greek culture, and enjoy sharing this with the world, but representing my country abroad comes with a sense of responsibility as I have to ensure that I put my best foot forward every time,” Perris said.

“I always start my concerts with a Greek song, irrespective of where I am, and even though I have released music in other languages, there is always that Greek element that reinforces my identity.”

Looking back on his career, Perris recalls his first concert, shortly before his eighteenth birthday, in Athens, when he was on tour with famed Greek composer Mimis Plessas. “I will never forget the exchange of energy between me and the audience, which is really extraordinary and out of this world,” he said. “It is so intense, which is why I put a lot of work in maintaining my relationship with my fans.”

Perris believes that for an artist to have a lengthy career that endures, he or she must have several peaks rather than one major success that catapults them to fame. In January 2019, after releasing his new single off his English album Who I’m Meant to Be, Perris received critical acclaim, especially after Whoopi Goldberg posted the video of the song on her social media.

As an international ambassador for the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, an organisation that provides scholarships to youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds in the United States and Canada, Perris has performed in numerous concerts to raise funds for children in need in various countries.

In June 2022, his idol, Nana Mouskouri appointed him as a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, specialising in combatting violence against children. “I am very proud of this cause, and, in any case, anything that has to do with children is very important to me, and this has also opened a horizon to a whole world that I had ignored up until now, and I am looking forward to the work that we have planned for the future.”

diaspora with mario frangoulis
With Mario Frangoulis

Throughout his career, George Perris has visited and performed in Cyprus on several occasions, and he has a special fondness for the island and its people. His upcoming performance, as part of the Christmas tour with Mario Frangoulis, titled ‘Be our Guest 2023’, will take place on December 9 at the Municipal Theatre of Strovolos in Nicosia, “which is one of my favourite places to perform”.

“It is a family event that both Mario and I have created to offer joy, unity and positivity, which is very much needed considering what is happening around the world,” he explained.

George Perris is undoubtedly one of Greece’s most accomplished pop singers who went from regional stardom to international fame. A tenor with a great command and an ear for both pop and classical music, Perris is looking forward to the future and creating music that represent his country’s deep musical heritage, while supporting various humanitarian causes, and inspiring his fans across the globe.

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