It was probably inevitable that Christina Elenni would take on the challenge of writing her own songs, and producing her own videos despite having no prior experience in doing either. When she makes up her mind to do something it’s either 100% or nothing as far as commitment goes.
She was born in Auckland’s North Shore, but has also lived the rural life. Horse riding and competitive showing played a major role in her life, and even a cross-country course accident that left her with a broken back did not lessen her love for horses, or her enthusiasm for riding. ”I’m still going strong and have my own horse and still riding, I think everybody thinks I’m a bit mad getting back into it after the accident! But I couldn’t not, they are a huge part of me and I adore them” she says.
Christina and her three sisters grew up in a very musical background, her father played the drums, piano and trumpet in dance bands, and her mother and singer-songwriter auntie both studied piano. “Even though the music history in my family was strong, I was so busy riding horses, music wasn’t something I ever thought about doing as such” says Christina, ”I used to play the piano a lot, but as the horses became more and more a part of my world when I was growing up, everything else got left behind! I would love in the near future to take up my playing again as I just adore the sound of the piano”.
Since starting her musical projects she has learned a lot about her heritage and family history.“It has been really cool” says Christina, “this has been something that has helped me find out who I really am. I really wanted to bring the Greek side into my music in some way”. Her mother was born in Cairo, of Greek ancestry, but grew up in Auckland. Her father has Sicilian and English blood. There are stories of her great-great-grandfather who was the leader of a band of freedom fighters in Crete.” I’d say that’s where my passion and drive comes from when I believe in something!” laughs Christina, “I haven’t had the travel bug yet but when I do the first place I want to go to is Greece”.
Her work experience includes modeling, interior design, and fashion design amongst other things. “Maybe it is my background or something, but the whole family is creative in one way or another”.
Christina’s journey into pop music began when she was discovered by a vocal coach. “I was at a Karaoke bar with a bunch of girls having a blast when I was talked into going up on the stage to sing, I’d never tried it before so me being me, gave it a go! I couldn’t believe it but loved being up there and just had some fun without caring what anybody thought. When I got off the stage a lady came up to me and said she was a vocal coach and said she heard something unique in my voice and that I had the x-factor stage presence and she really wanted to work with me. My first reaction was ‘You’ve got to be kidding! I’ve never sung before!' - then I thought : I sound unique? Unique is a good thing?!! Anyway I decided why not try and see what happens and if I like it. Well, after a couple of lessons I found out I really loved it. My vocal coach put me in touch with a recording studio in Auckland and after a couple of sessions the offer was made to record my first single”. Even at this early stage her potential was recognised!
Studio owner and musician John Michael Stevens was also quick to spot Christina’s potential as a performer, so much so that he offered to act as session musician and producer for the album project that the pair have been working on at The Digital Kitchen. "This has all been about stepping into the unknown, it has made me realise that you never really know just what you are capable of, what is hiding inside, and that you can’t be afraid to just give it a go. You can live your dream”.
And now with her third video 'Hold On Tight To You' pushing her career along further, along with her brand new debut album 'Welcome To Me' now completed, we look to the future with anticipation as to what is next for Christina. Both her two previous songs, one which got her Kiwi Newcomer of the year on New Years Eve 05 on C4 and her videos have done incredibly well on the MySpace website, hitting over 33,000 plays and growing. “I can’t believe the awesome response I have had from this site!” says Christina, “the feedback has been amazing and I have already made contact with so many people from all over the world”. Her fan base is sitting to date at over 6,500 and growing in the short time since she started on the website. "I wanted right from the start to answer my fans personally and keep in touch with them as I really am blown away with their support and love, and I wanted to show them all how much I appreciate that! That’s where starting up another site called the Street Team came into play. I wanted this site to be all about the fans and only the fans” says Christina.
With a sound that has elements of such artists as Gwen Stefani, Alanis Morissette, Pink and Shakira, and punchy guitar-driven catchy tunes, she brings a much needed presence to the NZ music scene: fun, in-your-face, entertaining pop-rock. Her voice walks a tightrope between soft and seductive on one side, and raw and emotional on the other. Along with a glam/rock chick look that is all her own.
Christina Elenni (vocals)
John Stevens (music production)
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