You Create Your World - Singer Irene Athana
1. Irene, I love your voice, how did you develop your sound and tone?
Irene: "Thanks Sarah. In high school I took a great interest in the arts and participated in many theater shows, choirs, and solo performances. I then realized that I wanted to further my education in voice by studying classical music.
That was the beginning of the cultivation of my voice. Singing has to do a lot with controlling various muscles in the body, and this takes time to accomplish. You just have to keep at it until you achieve the sound and tone that you desire."
2. How many hours a day do you practice?
Irene: "Ideally a singer should be practicing at least 45 minutes daily; however, this can be unrealistic if you have a hectic schedule. If time allows, I try and practice daily for about 45 minutes to an hour."
3. Why did you decide to study music and voice?
Irene: "The reason why I studied music and voice is because vibrations move my spirit. I think vibrations are healing for the body and soul. Its amazing how the sound that is created by the oscillation of the human vocal cords, the strings of a guitar, or even a Tibetan bowl can fill us with so much emotion and effect our health and our psychology. I also feel that it is so important that we are able to express ourselves in one way or another; either through music, painting, or any other art form. For me, music is essential for keeping the body and mind balanced and in tune with the universe. Besides all those reasons, I simply love to sing. It just feels good."
4. Who are your top 5 favourite singers?
Irene: "I absolutely love Loreena Mckennitt, Fiona Apple, Lisa Hannigan, Jeff Buckely, and Chet Baker."
5. What are your plans for the next couple of years?
Irene: "I am currently working on an album of original songs, so that is definitely in my plans for the next couple of years. I am also excited about mingling and working with other musicians that are living here in Cyprus, and of course performing as much as possible."
6. Tell me about Zen Circle, who are its members and what type of music do you play?
Irene: "Zen Circle is a special kind of trio. It is a trio that recreates pop and Jazz tunes into fresh and innovative pieces of music. It can be extremely mundane hearing the same songs being played the same way, so we are going to spice things up! Covers with a twist! The members of the trio are Nektario Cassar on Double Bass, Philip Zilfo on keys, and myself on vocals/guitar."
7. What are your plans for the band?
Irene: "Zen Circle plans on having a lot of fun performing for audiences all over Cyprus."
8. Do you teach voice? How can someone contact you to start voice lessons?
Irene: "Yes I teach voice and music theory. If any one is interested in taking singing or theory lessons they can contact me via e mail at Irene_athana@hotmail.com. All ages are welcome."
9. How do you feel as a young singer coming into the Cyprus market? What are your impressions so far?
Irene: "It's a small community, so if you are new to the island it can be a bit daunting. Nonetheless I am very excited about working here. I also think that Cyprus has been doing a fabulous job evolving in terms of the acceptance of different genres of music and the growing numbers in musicians. Although Cyprus still has a long way to go, the journey to a musically rich and artistically stimulating Cyprus, I'm sure, is just around the corner."
10. Do you have any messages for other young singers?
Irene: "My message to any young singers out there is that you shouldn't be afraid to follow your dreams. If music is what you want to do, then do it! Remember that you are the creator of your world. No one else should be creating it for you."
You can hear Zen Circle by clicking here
IRENE ATHANA – Vocals
PHILIP ZILFO – Piano
NEKTARIOS CASSAR – Double Bass