Ioanna Mouschouri, known professionally as Nana Mouskouri, is a Greek singer. During the span of her music career, she has released over 200 albums and singles in at least twelve different languages, including Greek, French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, Welsh, Mandarin Chinese, and Corsican.
Nana Mouskouri was raised by a modest family on the island of Crete. When she was three, her family moved to Athens, where her father worked as a film projectionist. Despite a flaw in her vocal cords, Nana Mouskouri took singing lessons regularly. During the German occupation, her family no longer had the financial means to pay for her lessons but her teacher saw that she had a certain talent and continued to give her lessons free of charge. She was accepted to the Athens Conservatory, where she studied for eight years and familiarized herself with other styles of music such as jazz and blues.
She was invited to the Greek Song Festival in 1958 and landed many contracts. She received awards for Addio and Weisse Rosen aus Athen (The White Rose of Athens) at the BerlinBiennale in 1960. Her success soared to international heights: she sold over a million and a half albums. After her marriage in 1961, she toured with Quincy Jones throughout Europe and the United States.
“Everywhere I see stories about my country going bankrupt. And people are aggressive about it. It’s frightening.
And it’s painful for me. Nobody wants their country to be treated badly. It’s frustrating and very sad.”
In 1974, Nana Mouskouri separated from her husband and moved to Geneva. From 1994 to 1999, she served her mandate as European Deputy from her Geneva residence, which is geographically central, but politically exterior to Europe.
She was also appointed ambassador for UNICEF, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund with its European headquarters in Geneva.
With over 200 albums released, in over 12 different languages, Mouskouri is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. She has sold in excess of 350 million albums worldwide and globally speaking, she is the biggest-selling female artist of all time.