Although she's only recently burst onto the UK pop radar, the opera-prodigy-turned-fashion-icon-turned-pop-startup Ilia Darlin is already a big name in her home country of Greece. Along with the customary comparisons with Lady Gaga, she's also famous for her front cover appearances in Vogue, her awesome live TV performances and even her own movie. EQ got in touch with Ilia Darlin from her home in Athens to find out about the music behind the madness. Be sure to catch the crazy video to her song 'Car Crash' below, too.
How are you, Ilia Darlin?
I'm great, thank you. This moment I'm replying to your questions in my garden sunbathing in Athens. I'm here for a few days on a business trip.
How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
It's pop electro dance with a neon point of view.
Nice. Your website is full of photos of you with other fashion icons. How closely are music and fashion linked for you?
I would say they're one. I'm not just singing, I'm offering a whole experience and costumes are part of it. You can't go swimming wearing a cape for example.
You recently moved to Soho. What about London attracted you?
I've been living in Soho for the past 2 and a half years and I absolutely love it. London is a melting pot, it's the centre of everything right now and I wanted to be in the centre of everything. Pictures, sounds, events, people that interest me are here and I wanted to be part of it. One day you're at the BOX watching these weird shows with Juliette Lewis and the next you're watching Jessie J live. What is there not to like?
You’ve recently been caught hanging out with big UK names like Mr. Hudson and Jessie J – which other acts are you excited about at the moment?
I watched Jessie J perform in a TV show that my friend was presenting and we met, had a chat and I have to say she's an amazing talent and person. With Mr Hudson we were in the same group of people on a night out and he's great too! He's very down-to-earth and I love his view on the music industry; we had fun.
You’re classically trained – did the glamour of pop music make you change your focus?
I always wanted to sing and make pop music but I always had love for the opera and classical music. They always coexisted in my life. I have passion about Maria Callas but interest for Mariah Carey too! I think it's interesting to have different backgrounds and influences when you're an artist. No one is one-sided.
How important is artistic integrity for your music?
As important as personal integrity. I don't mind what people think or say as long as I stay true to myself and I don't betray my vision. To be fair integrity is a quite subjective virtue and I don't mind when people have a different perception of what it is, as long as they stay true to their own.
Your lyrics are quite violent and fierce – is this a true reflection of your personality?
Definitely, without that meaning that I'm violent. I'm just a very passionate person who experiences everything to the maximum and my songs are a way of casting out my personal demons and also making fun of them.
What do you think about being compared to Lady Gaga?
On one hand it can be flattering cause she's extremely successful but on the other hand I think it's a very superficial approach. Our music is not alike and neither are our voices. The fact that we both love fashion is not enough and the meat thing is just a coincidence. We shot the video in July and I'm not wearing meat or anything. I'm just in a butcher shop chopping up my ex boyfriends…
Do you think pop can ever get too outrageous or crazy?
Of course it can. Only the fact that pop can influence generations is too outrageous.
Greece has given us Ilia Darlin, and we’re very grateful. What would you like from the UK in return?!
Aww thank you. That's a very nice thing to say. All I want is love. What I want to get out of everything I do is love and genuine acceptance I think. Instead of visiting a therapist I do music you see.
You’ve worked in London, LA and Athens – where next?
The cycle of my work in the places you mentioned is not done so I don't know yet. I have a long way to go but hopefully I'll travel the whole wide world.
Can we look forward to hearing more music from you soon?
Yes, yes and yes! I'm in discussions for my next single and video right now so it will be very soon!
And what would you like to say to EQ readers?
To love themselves as much as they can cause it's the only way to be able to love and be happy with the rest of us.