Wednesday, February 5

Artist Spotlight - Sarantos

Sarantos is finally releasing his long-awaited and eagerly anticipated 1st solo music album in 2014. The artist has been writing lyrics since 4th grade and is passionate about the words he puts to the music. His unique sound has been best described by industry insiders as "an emotionally powerful vocal style masterfully united with music that is a fusion of classic 80s rock blended with modern soft rock and pop music!"

Having undergone several personal challenges with his father passing away after a long hard-fought battle with lung cancer, and dealing with personal health issues that affected his musical career, Sarantos' main motivation is to raise money for charity.

33% of any music related sales goes straight to charity!

Sarantos has always been inclined to help people in need and is proud to launch this CD as a way to donate a portion of proceeds to charity, hopefully inspiring other artists to do the same. The 11 charities chosen for each song include American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Heart Association, St Jude's, Hellenic Academy, ASERF, American Red Cross, Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago Medical School, Thanioton Society & the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The website, Melogia (which in Greek means "with words") was established by Sarantos, an aspiring singer and song writer.
 

Sarantos states, "My goal when you listen to one of my songs is very simple. I want you to feel the need to sing, dance, move to the groove (for those of you that hate dancing or think it's not cool), and play the song over and over again."

We got to ask the philanthropic artist a few questions which he kindly gave us his time for.

Describe your sound in one ramble on sentence

Sarantos unique sound has been best described by industry insiders as "an emotionally powerful vocal style masterfully united with music that is a fusion of classic 80s rock blended with modern soft rock and pop music!"

What inspires you to make music?
I have undergone several personal challenges in the last few years but my dad’s passing away in 2010 after a long hard-fought battle with lung cancer really put me over the edge. I had also dealt with some health issues like asthma and allergies, which severely affected my singing style. After mourning my father’s death for a long time, I woke up one day and decided that the timing was finally right. This was always my lifelong dream and I was tired of doing nothing about it and watching life pass me by.  My main inspiration, however, is to raise money for charity. 33% of any music related sales are going straight to charity!


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

Well I personally think the music business is really struggling right now. I understand why people pirate music and want it for free. I understand as an artist why you would like to be paid 99 cents for a song you poured your heart and soul into. There is so much time and effort put into it, no matter how talented you are. The one thing I have also come to appreciate is how big the machine is. Labels pour a ton of money into artists and they are a business. They have to make money somehow. I still like CDs and think they are nostalgic. But I know people don’t wanna buy them that much anymore.
Anyway, I am trying to revolutionize the industry. I want to stay in touch with my fans every day, not just once every few years when a new CD comes out. All my songs will be what I consider to be hits. There will not just be 1-2 good songs on the entire CD!  I am going to release a new song on the 1st Tuesday of every month and a new music video on the 2nd Tuesday of every month for all of 2014. I interact with my fans via social media every day. On November 18th, the CD will finally be released with all 11 songs o it along with all 11 music videos and a ton of interactive content - personal videos, interviews, just a ton of extras. Basically, my goal is to try and make it worthwhile and something my fans would really want to rush out and buy. We’ll see if it works.


What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

Probably the most discouraging aspect is that there is so much out there right now and it is hard for an artist to know whom to trust.  There is really absolutely no way to track any kind of return on investment and that complicates things for anyone other than the largest labels.  In business, you can make short term and long terms goals and allocate your investment dollars as you see fit. Obviously, in any business there will be some kind of marketing spend. This can include improving yourself (vocal or music lessons or training), making your music (expenses like producers, mastering, other musicians and backup singers), and then promoting your music. It gets very very expensive. You finally go thru all this time and effort and have a polished set of songs. Then you have to just throw it out to the world and try to market it. Well the iTunes store does not allow anyone access to its analytics. So if someone wants to spend a bit of money advertising on TV, print, google, MTV or anywhere, you will actually not be able to track anything. If you are a big label and can spend $1 million dollars to promote a single artist’s song, you think twice about it but you can do it. If you are an independent artist without a label, all you can do is just try to connect with your fans but it is hard in today’s world to do this without spending any money at all. If you could invest $500 in one area and see it generate sales you can track, that would be easy on you. But you can’t!

Additionally, any artist that has some good songs or look or some real potential is going to usually be naive and young.  They quickly jump at the first label that offers to sign them. They get tied into a bad deal and then it becomes one business decision after another and they quickly lose sight of who they are and what they were trying to accomplish. It can be a vicious circle.  Thankfully at this time, I am on my own and have never been with a label. I have said no to 2 of them already. Unless I find someone whom I can trust and a deal that makes sense (meaning I can still do what I want including raising all this money for charity), I honestly can’t see myself joining one. It is tempting but at the end of the day, you have to stay true to yourself. Since I’m not doing this for the money and have a day job, I can just say no. I am doing this all for the music and for my fans!

Is there a particular song or musical passage that never fails to move you emotionally?


I love so many different songs but I am always moved by some of the classics like “Eye of the Tiger”, “Don’t stop believing” and “the rose”.

What's one of your all-time favorite recordings?

“Eye of the tiger” by Survivor.

Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why- Living or dead.

My dad – such a source of will power and stamina and my biggest role model. I always wanted to be like him more than any other person.

Michael Jackson – he revolutionized music and music videos with Thriller and it was fascinating to see his career reach such highs and lows. It taught me a lot about what to emulate and what to avoid both musically as well as in my personal life.

Def Leppard – great performers who interacted well with the audience. They toured well and put on a great show.  Even when their drummer was injured, they never stopped and that taught me about perseverance and the power of the human soul.

Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? Tell us about it.

I am working on something really special for the CD release in November.  I think the fans will love it!

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
I love the way that you do not have to be a huge label or have a tremendous budget to get your songs out in the public. It helps level the playing field for independent indie artists such as myself. The fact it is heard internationally is also a wonderful opportunity to help showcase my music to fans that would otherwise not be able to hear it. From a fan point of view, it is free!


Is there a story behind your name Sarantos?


Yes, Sarantos in Greek means “Sam”, which is my real name. I thought it would make a cool stage name, especially given the fact that I am proud to be of Greek heritage.


How long have you been singing?


I’ve always had a passion for singing. Life has always kept me busy, delaying my dream of inspiring people with my songs and lyrics. In November of 2012, I finally decided to take the chance and pursue my lifelong dream! I said enough is enough. With my profession, I’m a very busy man and I’ve always tried to help others. But recently I came to realize that I can raise a lot more money for charity with my music than with any other business I currently own and run.


What first got you interested in becoming a singer?


My passion for music began before I knew what the word passion meant. I began writing lyrics as a small child while “people watching” in my family’s restaurant. Of course, that was when I wasn’t working and helping out as a cook, dishwasher, waiter or cashier. In those days, I always carried a pad of paper, loose-leaf sheet, or even a napkin. I never knew when the inspiration would strike. Recently as technology has evolved, my iPhone has gladly become the recipients of my lyrics.  My family was very friendly toward music and although my parents did not play any musical instruments, we routinely listened to music, danced and enjoyed each others company as much as we could.


Do you see being a singer as a career, or as a hobby?


Definitely a career. Of course, that’s especially true if my fans love my music and my message.  If they want me to do this full time, I’d be ok with giving up my full time job that pays the bills and go for it. Music was always in my blood. Music was always a passion and much more than a hobby. So I would do so without any hesitation!


What are you trying to do with your music? Do you want to help your community? Are you trying to get rich? What is your goal for your music?


Money is honestly something that I haven’t thought about at all. You know the old saying - love what you do and you won’t work a day in your life? Well, let me be honest here. I stay up until 12-1 am almost every night and wake up at 5-6am. I don’t even think about it. It’s like I have this hunger inside of me. Music and lyrics come so naturally to me. I have never considered it work and I can’t imagine ever doing so. That said, my goal with my music is simple. I want anyone listening to my music to feel the need to: 1.  Sing  2. Dance or move to the groove.  3.  Play the song over and over again.  That’s it.


I am also trying to help people in need. I am proud to launch my music as a way to donate a portion of proceeds to charity, hopefully inspiring other artists to do the same. The 11 charities chosen for each song include American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Make-a-Wish Foundation, American Heart Association, St Jude's, Hellenic Academy, ASERF, American Red Cross, Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago Medical School, Thanioton Society & the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It’s never been a matter of getting rich, but to help raise money for those who need it.


Have you ever performed live? How did it feel?
I have not performed live before in front of a huge audience for these current songs that I am releasing. However, I have performed at many public venues for a wide variety of reasons including singing.  I can’t wait until the fun begins!


Do you have any kind of management, publishing or distribution team behind you? If so what are their responsibilities?
No team behind me except at this time but I have received some kind management advice from someone who wishes to remain anonymous. I have a cool producer I am working with whom I also bounce ideas off of from time to time.  No marketing teams, publishers or distribution team yet. But hopefully the right people will email or call me soon.


What are some accomplishments that you have achieved, and are most proud of?
The accomplishment that I have achieved and am most proud of is building a loving environment for my family, helping others every day, and finally pushing myself to follow my lifelong dream. I’ve worked hard to achieve my current profession (other than singing) and am pleased to say that I’m happy with what I have accomplished thusfar.


Have you ever made any contact with major artists or other high positioned people in the music industry and do you keep in contact with them?
No, I really haven’t but I’d love to. Having a mentor would be awesome. I have a lot of people I look up to in the music business and it would be really cool to meet them someday!


What one tip would you give to other aspiring independent artists?
The one tip that I would give to other aspiring independent artists is to just go for it. Everyone has a dream of their own, but the problem is that most people do not have enough courage to go grab it. So take the chance, grab the mic and just sing…no one can stop you.  I love this quote and of course just had to use it on my 1st music video - “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” –Ralph Wald Emerson


Do you feel like the internet is helping you as an independent artist?

Yes I think so. I am very happy that I have reached over 450,000 twitter followers and over 160,000 Facebook likes. The social media time, energy and effort I think is paying off. It’s a lot of work but I do it all myself. I don’t pay an ad agency to interact with my fans. It’s all me! The internet has certainly helped me share my lyrics, song and music video worldwide. I am hoping to inspire many people.  Every time I get a bit tired or worried I might not make it, I get a nice comment or chat or email form a fan and it really makes my day. My song has had over 60,000 music plays on the internet radio in 11 days and I get an email every time someone becomes my fan, joins my fan list and it thrills me. I love seeing where they’re from, what they look like. It makes my day! I also cannot imagine how I would have so many fans in Japan, Israel, Philippines and Mexico without the internet.

How do you think social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have affected the music industry?
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have definitely affected the music industry by offering artists a way to expose themselves (not meant in a perverted way) and their profile. Artists can spread their musical talent instantly and communicate with their fans all over the world. The popularity of Facebook and Twitter is worldwide.  Virtually everyone is connected to these social sites making the best sites to promote your music.


Where can we hear your music online? 

Here are some links where for free, you can listen to the song and view the video.
Website: http://www.melogia.com
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SarantosMelogia
Facebook artist page: https://www.facebook.com/Sarantosmelogia
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sarantosmelogia 

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/1/+SarantosMelogia
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/sarantos-melogiaVimeo: https://vimeo.com/sarantosmelogia/videos 

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/sarantosmelogia


What projects are you working on at the moment? 

I am currently working on my next music video launch “Nothing To Hide” which will be released on February 11th, 2014. The song will be released on February 4th, 2014.  I have so many things in the pipeline. It’s going to be an exciting 2014 (and 2015)!

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
Hopefully performing all over the world and continuing to assign a different charity to each song I release so I can raise some money for all the good causes out there. 
 

Do you have any shoutouts you want to give?
TO ALL MY FANS – YOU ARE AWESOME AND I LOVE YOU!!