Nefeli is unbiasedly moving between two worlds, making it hard to say whether she stands on the West or on the East


Nefeli Fasouli

A girl that popped out of a Νouvelle Vague film

Text: Eva Kousiopoulou
Nefeli Fasouli

As soon as your eyes set on Nefeli Fasouli, it is as if “Your World” is filled with light, smiling at you. It’s hard not to single her out in a crowded room, as her smile illuminates the space. Her voice, her aura, her profiles, her moves and gestures, evoke the Nouvelle Vague girls of the French cinema, even though she is a girl living in today’s Athens. Foivos Delivorias is the producer of her debut solo album, titled “Your world”, released last year by United We Fly, a collaboration that took her to the center stage, through their joint appearances. Nefeli recalls thinking that Foivos is no ordinary man, but a Marvel superhero, after first meeting.

“It is as if he possessed a superhuman force. We played a game backstage, where I would say the first movie that would come to my mind, and he would lay out a ton of trivia on the film and its protagonists, like a cinema robot. At first, it seemed like an incredible memory skill, maybe endowed with a tiny hint of compulsive obsession, but as time went by, I realized that it was nothing less than a proof of profound knowledge and study of cinema and art as a whole. I was unaware of many of the things he said, but Foivos managed to inspire me right from the very first mοment.”

As for the “scouter” that spotted her talent, that is something most people ignore. Nefeli and her brother played alongside Vassilis Kazoulis for about three years and Nefeli always makes sure to give him the merit he deserves. “Vassilis singled me out when I was just 18 years old and very inexperienced, proving his generosity and kind spirit,” she recalls. Over the last months, she has been playing solo, gradually making a name for herself. Nevertheless, it’s not easy to get rid of cold feet. “I suffer from stress, anxiety crises, and panic attacks. And if I left something out of this list, you just name the word and I can assure you that I have that as well! On stage, I am choking, I feel as if I’m running out of air. The symptoms appear days before the live show, even during rehearsals. I started out this job ignorant of the risks involved, like a blank page, with a thrill for the stage and the audience. This year, for the first time I experience the transition to “a status of responsibility” that becomes part of every artist performing solo concerts. The way I see it though, it’s better to swim in deep waters right from the start, make early on all the mistakes bound to be made and be left in the end with a feeling of relief. Foivos offered me the best comfort, when he saw me one day down on my knees, torturing myself. He was tenderly smiling, saying: “What you are going through is a blessing in disguise. I am very proud of you, because it shows that you care. You are set to accomplish great things”, he told me”.

Casa Malaparte”, one of the lesser-known songs of her debut album, renders homage to the recently deceased legendary director Jean-Luc Godard. This song, the cover of the song “Silence” by Xylina Spathia, as well her own “By any chance”, reflect Nefeli’s jazz side. Can she handpick her favorite song, though? “It’s safe to say that ‘By any chance’ holds a special place in my heart, as all songs featured in the album Your World. It is as if I had written them myself; Foivos masterfully expressed everything I had to say. I have a particular liking for the song ‘When you fall’ that carries within two or three separate worlds, while its sound alludes to Tom Waits and its lyrics are like a knife stuck in the heart. However, in almost every concert of mine, ‘Casa Malaparte’ is the farewell song, serving as a prayer to meet up at some point in place we’ll never experience autumn.”

Nefeli is unbiasedly moving between two worlds, making it hard to say whether she stands on the West or on the East. “Our first live, last year in Thessaloniki, might have been the only one so far where I performed my own jazz compositions with self-confidence. That’s why we had another two sold-out nights this year. I walked out of the venue almost floating in the air. I will never take the trouble of answering the question “West or East?”. As time goes by, I won’t even bother asking myself this question anymore. After a full year of concerts, I believe the audience is trained and prepared to hear a blend of different sounds. The charm of my performances lies in their unpredictable nature! The audience is bound to hear songs with meaning, soul and emotion. So, if I were to locate it in geographical-cultural terms, I would say that I’m right in the middle, where the West and the East converge; in other words, in Greece.”

Many seem to believe that her most demanding songs, in English lyrics or in jazz tunes, are addressed to a more limited audience and that is one of the reasons that she is not solely focused on them. “I love these songs very dearly, and maybe I should have delved into them. However, I have gradually come to the conclusion that the main goal as an artist is to share your work with a large audience, to make sure that what you have to say has an impact on people. I am not that attracted by this elite singularity, nor I am fan of “the art for art” doctrine. But that’s just me and maybe this attitude has to do with a particular phase of my life.”

Nefeli is centered on the deeper meaning of the songs, providing an answer as to what makes songs endure and last in time. “Whatever a song wishes to express, if the meaning is clear, it can keep on expressing it forever, no matter how one chooses to dress it up, regardless of its sound or style.”  The next question revolves around Foivos Delivorias’ Noumera, screened at ERT, a TV series that has gained a loyal fan base. Nefeli is not starring, but lends her voice to the character of Danae. Many have asked her how come she has not yet appeared in this show, or in a film. “The reasons for not appearing are purely practical, as I will be travelling abroad for a few months. Before making sure that I would not be available, I went through a casting audition for the part, as I wanted to help out Foivos. Music has always been a priority for me and I decided that it was best not to lose the pace I had found by giving concerts and taking part in music events. I would be interested in any project I could contribute, as long as it did not have a toll on my music career.”

Nefeli is dreaming of travelling through her music. “I want to experience a tour – if I have the chance to perform my own songs, event better – and travel around the world: America, Asia; I would love to perform in Japan at least once in my life. I admire many artists, but I’m way too shy to even think of playing by their side sometime in the future. If things turn out this way and I get this chance, I will not reveal it to them until after the concert is through.”

Nefeli graduated from Law School in 2018 and for the time being she admits not having fully abandoned the prospect of becoming a lawyer. Or maybe she has? “I was once joking with friends that if I ever go through a professional orientation test, the result would be a technocratic profession, an accountant, or something of that sort. It’s just the way I think, I’m a down-to-Earth type of person, I’ve been often criticized about it. I haven’t dismissed the idea of becoming a lawyer, as I consider it an emergency exit from the world of art; a wonderful yet not always bright or easy-to-handle world. As far as I am concerned, I would never urge someone to make a pick; as long as one is capable of going down a two-fold way, they should carry on and see where it leads them. I have not ruled out becoming a lawyer, even though if I have been into music for the last eight years.”

Ιn the video clip of the song “Your World”, of the titular album, directed by The Boy, we are watching an everyday girl, Nefeli wearing her glasses, in a balcony, in the familiar setting of an unadorned Athens. “Athens is a charmer that drains our thoughts, our free time, often our good mood. In the last few years, I have witnessed Athens being transformed into an urban web, where people are swarming in to work and end up feeling suffocated. In the video clip, we are watching a girl being entrapped in her own flat, that’s the feeling I wanted to bring forth. I have been living in Pangrati over the last 27 years, moving from one flat to another but always sticking to a lively neighborhood that I fear of quitting. At some point, though, I dream of finding the courage to try something new, away from the city. My favorite habit in Athens is a kind of cultural tour, watching a movie in one of the many open-air cinemas, going to a theater show or a music gig. Art events is what keeps us here; they are so many that you don’t know what to pick.”

Over the last months, Nefeli has appeared in concerts, in hundreds of stages, receiving love, as in the cases of her sold-out appearances in Thessaloniki’s Duende and Athens’ Six Dogs. But now the time has come for a short break. “I will travel to seek and find new ideas! I have been active for many months now, so I don’t think I’ll have a problem having a short break. In the meanwhile, I will lend my voice to Foivos’ music gang. As for what the future has in store, we’ll just have to wait and see!”, she concludes.

Who is Who

Nefeli Fasouli was born and raised in Athens. At the age of 6 she took on studying the violin, as well as music theory. In 2013, she was accepted at Athens Law School, obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in 2018. From 2014 to 2016, she attended classes of jazz singing, vocal improvisation and music theory at “Athenaeum” Conservatory, while completing her post-graduate seminar on vocal technique teaching at the National Conservatory of Athens. As a singer she has appeared on stage alongside a wide gamut of artists. Among them stand out the names of: Vassilis Kazoulis, Nikos Ziogalas, Panagiots Kalantzopoulos, Nikos Platyrrachos, Makis Amplianitis, Antonis Apergis, Dimitris Kalantzis. Over the last years she has teamed up with Foivos Delivorias. She has taken part in the albums “The perfect crime” by Panagiotis Kalantzopoulos, “The Terrace of Foivos” and “Tell me your name” by Foivos Delivorias, the children’s album “She wore a yellow beanie” by Tatiana Zografou and “Black paint on the marble” by Nikos Platyrrachos. In 2019 she discovered her love for music composition and showcased her first jazz track titled “The worst is yet to come”. In July of the same year, she released her debut single titled “For a summer”, with lyrics and music by Foivos Delivorias. In the summer of 2021 she released her debut album, with lyrics-music-production by Foivos Delivorias.


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