Jo Soul (Georgia Achilleopoulou)
by Sherif Awad
-I was born and raised in Athens, in an environment full of infinite stimuli. My family had nothing to do with arts, however, they help me come across with different artistic stimulus from early age, especially painting and dancing. I was always very enthusiastic and very passionate with the artistic world. I remember singing with my hairbrush and dancing in the middle of the living room under different styles of rhythm from Michael Jackson and Nirvana music to Greek folk. That was my first personal attempt in musical performance in front of an invisible audience!
-Greek TV had a mixture of domestic personas and international one. From folk musicians to MTV channel, international music industry, which resulted to inspire me under different perspectives. Performers that had their own unique distinct style I would say were the ones that caught my attention. In international stage Madonna and Ella Fitzgerald are two strong examples. So different and so strong. In cinema I was mesmerized by Cabaret and Liza Minelli’s performance. Her strong personality was so obvious in her body and voice performance and thus, it was inevitable for me not to fall in love with her stage character, Sally Bowles.
-I believe that we are all creators, and by studying we reveal to ourselves hidden aspects of our being and new perspectives open by starting our personal trip of learning and teaching. I perceive that life is not a straight line but more of a spiral one, nonstop. I’m still a student as well as a teacher. Starting with voice studies, then jumping to musical and theater resulting to my long journey on performance research I would say that is the best gift I gave to myself. When I was in Plymouth University, undertaking my research master’s on performance training, I went for Erasmus in Poland where I met with physical theater and I experimented it with merging it musical theater practices. Returning to Plymouth, I combined it with Somatics. This new aspect of methodology, analysis and synthesis resulted to my body voice connection through breath methodology, called ‘SomaFoni’, which I teach now in National Conservatory. Through it, performers enhance their perception, awareness and authenticity. A new era of performance training started for me as a creator as well as a teacher in musical and theater performance. I travel abroad giving seminars on ‘SomaFoni’ technique, helping not only performers but also people who use their voice and body as a communication tool.
I’m happy and fulfilled that I found my personal route through this journey called life. I started by studying business, followed by a career as a businesswoman and now I’m a singer performer, creator and teacher in performance training and singing. I’m open to all the perspectives if they don’t oppress my way of living and seeing life. Nothing is permanent, time is limited for projects that don’t tune with my scale. I’m open to jazz though!
-I avoid gender stereotypes, although I find myself the last two years working mainly with female artists, professionals, directors, colleagues, business owners. However, how one cooperates with others, has mainly to do with the personality I would say. In general, from my experience, I have realized that when the roles are clear and everyone respects the limits of the other human being, this results to smooth collaboration and everyone contributes to the best result of the final performance. Of course, there are always exceptions, that’s why people are so interesting!
-Even if it wasn’t an easy decade, taking into consideration the economic crisis in Greece, there were many theater performances and music events based on our population. Theater and music are very popular, and people attend an event either domestic or international one. Although the creativity outcomes are well-received and respected by people, it’s almost impossible to live only with the salary of an artist. Adding the COVID-19 crises, stages and performers were the first to suffer and it may take longer to recover. On the other hand, it’s a period that challenges us to find new ways of communicating our art and connect with the international community.
-I have developed certain style and I remain faithful to my beliefs, dreams and choices. At the same time, I remain open to new things as I always enjoy discovering new elements to challenge my creativity. I can admit that I have no balance between personal and private. I have difficulty finding the equilibrium between resting, enjoying myself and working. It’s a good period for me now, to think how I will go back to the job that I love and find the balance between practice and personal time.
-I was singing and performing in ‘Poetry Cabaret’ music theater performance, and as the name reveals it is a mixture of poetry and cabaret music, by the director Mei Sevastopoulou, and three exceptional musicians and performers Lucia Gardiakou (accordionist), Virginia Michael (actress) and Angeliki Della (pianist, actress and composer) played in Red Jasper Cabaret theater in Athens. It will start again when the theaters will open. Currently, I’m working on a piano and voice duet project called ‘Piano Fatale’, with my colleague, Angeliki Della, composing our own music. My immediate projects involve the recording of two new songs, written for the third book of a phantasy trilogy named ‘The young magician’ by Christina Nakou, to be published by Ostria publishing house. My teaching practices involve two fields, singing lessons and ‘SomaFoni’ technique. Both are now taught online for singers and actors as well as for people that want to find their true voice and communicate with expressivity. Everyone is welcome. Furthermore, as the lock down continues and many people complain of feeling anxiety or short of breath and discomfort, I decided to give free seminars regarding body and breathing techniques for relaxation, connecting through a platform. The dates and time will be posted on my Facebook page, Instagram and Linked in profiles.