Busker strikes it rich with record deal


Busking since the age of eighteen, Eleni Demetriou brings a ray of sunshine with her amazing voice on our streets, from Dover to Scotland making everyone happy. She talks to Sabah Abdi about her journey.

Eleni Demetriou, age 23, from Oakham first started busking at the age of eighteen. This all started after she won a singing competition at the local night club called Calico and won £10,000. This might have been a motivation for her to continue perfecting her singing skills, showing the world what a great voice she has.

“I am 18 and have a passion for performing and making music” is the first line of Eleni Demetriou’s profile description in starnow.com, which is a social media site that allows actors, musicians and models to create profiles for purposes of enhancing their visibility. Eleni studied Music technology at Leicester College in the hope to pursue a career in the music industry.

Eleni’s busking engagements are very strong; it became a loving passion where she clearly says: “I love to sing so much that I couldn’t imagine not singing. I needed to find a job that let me sing whenever, regardless of the mood I am in.” Eleni describes herself as a normal person, a little outgoing with a kind heart, the character traits that have seen her through all odds to fame. Her idol is Etta James and she says “Etta James is my inspiration, from her carreer to her personal path in life, that woman was just a rock. She has been through so much and always came out stronger each time.”

When she has been asked if she ever took any singing lessons, she replied with confidence: “No singing lessons, apart from one I took few years ago because I was losing my voice a lot, but that was it.”

Eleni shines as a busker in so many places that she goes to, but Leicester remains her favourite.

Eleni is intrinsically motivated because the reason for engaging in singing is not driven by any external reward such praise or earning money. She states: “I love that I can make people happy.” This is a clear indication that she feels happy when she makes other people happy.

Eleni loves spreading happiness and gaining recognition mainly from home before venturing outside.

“I have worked in Cyprus and Spain, singing in pubs” she says. However, for busking, she goes from Dover to Scotland, she is willing to travel for her busking passion, even on cold, rainy days. Also, she does sing at weddings and private functions.

In the process of making herself happy through singing, Eleni believes in Pearl Buck’s saying that, “The secret of joy is contained in one word-excellence.” Eleni strives to achieve excellence through perfect practice with the aim of achieving excellence.” She finds motivation from Buck’s quote that knowing how to do something well is to enjoy it. She enjoys singing and her success in busking has been streamlined to a great extent.

“There is always a song that cheers me and others up.” She gives an account involving a Saturday when someone called her and told her that he has been stuck in a state of depression for a week. People in a state of depression are in dire need of something to cheer them up. Eleni did not resist. She positively responded to the person’s call.

“Hearing me sing and watching people dancing with me had lifted his mood and made him realize that he can be happy again.” Her satisfaction is making people joyful through her singing, and that is what makes her happy.

Dealing with the public is never void of memorable moments, these are always part of the journey. Some memorable moments can be good while others may be sad to recall. For Eleni, she takes all challenges and sad memories positively as part of the learning process. When asked what her most memorable moment was, she listed, “I have had a few, a touching one was when someone asked me to sing out loud and he proposed to his wife at the end! I have a few funny ones, I have been bitten, someone tried to strip me once and of course all the older people that come to dance for me!” The funniest one was when she was bitten by someone who pretended to kiss her hand but latched it. Although this was assault, she did not report the case officially to the police, but requested them to closely watch the man.

Eleni started singing as a Jazz artist but later, she ventured reggae and ska. “I sing everything from 1920s to modern; the only genre I don’t cover is rock” she clarifies.

Eleni can sing anything from Beres Hammond I Feel Good, Bob Marley Three Little Birds or Inner Circle Sweat Alalala, putting her own twist on it, to much modern type of songs such as Don’t Cha from the Pussycat Dolls. She rocks stages, but also the streets of cities to a point that her crowd don’t hesitate to dance around her, and that always put a smile on her face.

Previously, she had auditioned for the X-Factor 3 times, but she has not reached the judges house. She also applied for the voice when she was eighteen, but she never got through.

One of her greatest successes is that she got a producer. She remembers one day when she was busking in Birmingham, “A man walked passed me and gave me his card”. Although dealing with a producer is new to her, she has a good feeling about it. “He is Grammy nominated and ex musician so we work together very well.” She describes him.

Eleni says” I have signed a contract to record music with him and actually working on writing 12 tracks of an album myself.” Which she hopes will be out the end of this year. Success is actually a long journey that requires determination, discipline and patience as the critical ingredients of success, and Eleni surely has that.

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