Saving The World by MONIKA.
Following the release of her charity single “Saving the World”, we had the privilege of interviewing – via zoom of course – MONIKA, to find out a bit more about the inspiration behind the song and how she is dealing with the current pandemic.
OTC LDN: It is very kind of you to make this beautiful song for the very deserving “Everyday Heroes”, how has it helped you deal with the current situation?
MONIKA: It is really tragic what is happening and so, initially I really struggled to be that creative at all. Everything has obviously been postponed, so I knew I should take the time to write music, but first, I had to deal with the situation and absorb what was going on in the world.
Since “Save the World” has been released we’ve had some incredible feedback, honestly unbelievable, so it has been a comfort to know I am helping in some way.
OTC LDN: Your work with your husband, Stavros Xenides is amazing. Both the music and lyrics for “Saving the World” work so beautifully and harmoniously together. Who came up with the original idea for the single and how did you work together to make it perfect?
MONIKA: Saving the world was never part of a plan or anything. This global pandemic has been so hard for all of us and it’s so awful to hear of all the suffering. During the beginning, as I started slowing down from everyday life, I just needed to absorb as much information as I could about the virus and process what was going on around us.
Eventually, during the more difficult nights when I was particularly anxious, a melody began to form in my mind.
We have a piano in the kitchen, and one evening, whilst my husband was cooking, I began playing the melody. Stavros said it was really good and asked if it was a new song. When I told him that it was just a melody, he encouraged me to make it into a song.
We usually work together as a couple; I am the melody person. I can give direction and provide the theme, but Stavros is a business and technology man, and he is great with words, so both of our artistic sides work brilliantly together.
Stavros kept saying that this situation we are all in right now is like a dream and that one day will wakeup from it. This formed the beginning of the lyrics. Over the course of the evening we threw words around and by the morning the song was finished. It is always fun working together, but this really felt like it was meant to happen.
Thankfully my team also loved it and when they asked what we wanted to do with it, it seemed like a no brainer. We knew we wanted to help fight the pandemic somehow, so we decided to contact the NHS and worldwide equivalents and donate the rights.
OTC LDN: The music video with paper people is great and really impactful alongside the song, what inspired the artistic idea behind it?
MONIKA: Obviously, we couldn’t do a big production from our home. The rest of the team are in New York, so we had to work out a way to do it together despite being other sides of the world. The parts showing a side profile of my face were actually shot in just one take by Stavros using his phone! Then we had to devise a story that worked with the song. The first idea was to include shots of doctors and nurses on the front line, but we decided that this had been done several times before. We wanted to create a more romantic plot and the paper people theme seemed very sweet. The most important thing to us all is that it portrays the message that we wanted to get across.
OTC LDN: You can really see your emotions coming through in the video and your voice. It must have been really hard to control during such a powerful song with so much meaning, how did you manage to keep it together?
MONIKA: I feel every song I sing, but especially so with “Save the World”. There is something very powerful for me in the song: with what is going in the world, the melodies and the lyrics, together they touch the bottom of my heart. That feeling is rare and doesn’t happen very often, so I am really happy and grateful to have had this experience.
OTC LDN: Is there anything you’d like to say to any of our readers who maybe “Everyday Heroes” during this situation?
MONIKA: I’ve been asked this a lot recently, and I question what it means to be a hero right now. A hero in music, or any industry is someone who gives without limits; who thinks of the group and not himself or herself. If there’s something we have to learn from this adventure, it should be that we ought to give more and not expect anything in return. Humanity hasn’t been through anything like this before: as a world all facing the same enemy. I am hoping this experience will provide us all with good habits that we maybe did not have in the past. Already I have noticed that we are all genuine when we ask each other if we are ok and safe, and I hope people won’t forget this. I don’t believe we will, I think deep inside we will remember this lesson, be careful and take care of ourselves and our loved ones.
OTC LDN: How do you feel Covid-19 has inspired your music and approach to your work going forward?
MONIKA: I can’t say right now, it is too soon. But it has been an important experience. I feel every artist in every field will feel this way. That’s our role as artists – to express something everyone feels but can’t find a way to. We HAVE to find the way. First of all, as humans of society we have to be responsible, then we can be creative. We have to have our eyes open and be efficient. Realise what we have, what we don’t have, and what we want to give value to going forward. People – family, friends.OTC LDN: The lyrics “we, imprisoned within our home” describes how many are struggling through this required but difficult period of lockdown. How have you been relaxing and practicing selfcare during this time?
MONIKA: Lots of movies, cooking and food! I have a two-year-old, so it has been nice to spend time with her and my husband. But of course, with all the bad news, it has been hard to see others suffer. I can’t express just how lucky I feel and how very grateful I am of everything we have: great family and friends; a roof over our heads; a little studio to be creative; and lovely surroundings. I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to clear my mind, to appreciate things, it makes you more balanced inside. I believe if you are balanced on the inside you can be truly happy and make others happy as well.
OTC LDN: Finally, we have to ask – what is that instrument behind you?!
MONIKA: Ah this? It is a Greek bouzouki – it is very beautiful and a piece of my culture, but I am not great at playing it [laughs]. It is more for decoration. I would love to take it to America when we can though!
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