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Thursday 30 April 2015

Effie Stephanides: Interview + Classic 90s Hits CD

When Josie's Juice interviewed Effie Stephanides, little did I know it was going to be a strap yourself in and get ready for the madness kinda interview.

The thing is, Effie is bloody hilarious in interview - wildly funny and hugely un-PC and she owns it completely.

I start off by stating the obvious: that she's suddenly very busy this week.

"Yeah, I'm very popular this week. One of those weeks."

Effie's entrance into the 'Today' show was something else (see the clip and CD release info here), where she arrived in a Hummer, with bodyguards and dancers, and performed some slick 1990s dance moves, while announcing her double CD release 'Effie's Classic 90s Hits'.

"I know, I know… there's no point doing things by halves!"

The playlist on Effie's new CD is 1990s gold. Think 'Things That Make You Go Hmmm', 'Another Night', 'Shy Guy', 'Pony' and much more, two CDs more. Michael Bolton, Peter Andre, Backstreet Boys… argh! It's ALL there. The CD is brilliant, you guys. It's a must buy for Nineties dance and love song tragics. It's a pump it up and make it doof, doof, doof out of your car speakers, manaia!

We all know the power of a song spiralling you back to a time and place and I ask Effie to essentially spill some secrets on why she chose the songs she did for her album… surely there is some connection to these songs, some secrets to reveal?

"Well, you know, being the type of chick that I am, I wouldn't use the magnet, you know, I attract furniture, animals, pets… but certainly the attention of most things, and even gay guys can't help but be drawn to me, so I suppose 'U Can't Touch This' became a bit of a theme song, because I'm quite frigid by nature, I suggest, but I don't do much, I am quite naive and inexperienced in that department, so 'U Can't Touch This' well that was big for everyone, but for me I remember being on the dance floor and I was: "Seriously, don't touch this."

"And the C & C Music Factory song - 'Things That Make You Go Hmmm' - that was one of the first songs I ever heard that was really funny for a dance song. I thought, oh this has a different take on it. Most songs are blowing the same trumpet, which is love, sex, you know, you rooted around on me, you don't want me, I want you, all that sorta stuff, but I thought this track was different. And I got excited by Dee-Lite's song 'Groove Is In The Heart', and I thought, oh my gawd they're gonna be the next Beatles, and they came and went. You know I was like, spewing. And I remember at the time the lead singer said she was gonna be bigger than Madonna and I thought, oh they're big words. I thought, I don't know if I would say that if I was you. She's a legend. Sometimes new artists come out and they poo poo the other ones.

"Anyway, there's so many different tracks, and when you hear them, you go, of course! That;s what I wanted. I like my audience to be proactive. I don't want them to sit and dumb down. I want them to feel, ya know. I want them to have the urge to get up and get amongst it. To have fun, life's tough and pretty serious, and you gotta fight for your right to party. Was it the Beastie Boys that said that? And you do.

"I mean, people fight for their right on a Saturday night. In the old days, they did. Now they party whenever. But in the olden days, I remember getting ready to go out and it taking hours of planning, I mean it was a whole ritual, listening to all those old songs as you were getting ready. It's almost like the getting ready was better than the going out. I'm a very much a fan of the Nineties even though I was born in the Eighties. The Nineties were very kind to me. I am there, but I'm here, ya know. I'm the type pf person that hoards around anything good and fun. So I hoard around the past past, but I am very much now and very into tomorrow as well… ya know? I am a lover of new school, fun, good times, people being together.

"And the second CD, it's not for the lactose intolerant, ya know. It's slightly cheesy. There are cheese elements. I love the songs where ya go, okay daggy, but good. Like a dirty secret. Like Michael Bolton. I know I shouldn't… but I do. I like him. He's one of my dirty secrets. Not on any other level though. I feel for the guy. I mean, I am so blessed follicularly and he hung on, he really hung onto those sideburns and then the ponytail… look, I don't want to talk about it, it would be my worst nightmare, what he had to go through, hair-wise. I know he can sing, but… you don't sing every time someone's looking at you, but you have hair every time someone is looking at you, so…

Josie's Juice tells Effie: For me, the 1990s was about my uni years, and dating, and being messed around my idiots, and all of that fun… how would you define the 1990s for you?

"Look, if I was up myself in Eighties, I don't know multiply that and the times square it, I mean I  thought I was king shit in the Nineties, I'm just walking around like Puff Daddy, but without the Daddy, just the Puffy bit. I thought I was greater than some sorta superhero, a cultural superhero, and I still think that. But I know that I am. It was the Nineties that I got out and about, you know, just did shows, and enjoyed it. You know when you're young and you wanna do as much as you can, because you've got so much adrenaline, so much energy, you don't have responsibilities, you only have them to yourself, like I'm still trying to hold on to that concept. I try to take the oxygen mask in every possible scenario… I'm the type that takes care of my business first. It's very healthy. Instead of being a martyr. I can't stand people that go, oh my God I did this to this person or that person, no… you did it because you were tryin' to suck up, you wanted to be liked, or you didn't want to spend that time doing something good for yourself, so stop complainin' about it.

"I don't whinge. I don't whinge about anything. I am very grateful. I'm very committed to my own wellness and bigness, and I like to take everyone with me. You know, I see my boofhead fans as my spiritual entourage. I feel like they look to me for a little bit of carbonation. They look to me like a laugh and a half and go yeah, alright, it's alright to have a go. It's very Australian but very Greek at the same time."

Josie's Juice says here that she grew up with Greeks, dated them, hung out with them in her area, but… "Greeks have a particular… er… hope you don't mind me saying Effie, but they have maybe an inflated view of themselves sometimes, would you say…?

"Oh, no, don't even apologise. I don't even know why you're torturing yourself like that… there is no… it's very rare to find an insecure Greek. I'm not mucking around, they're very sure of themselves. See, because unlike you Catholics we don't guilt ourselves up that much. You know our religion is so easy, I don't even know if there is a confession, and if there was there, that's where everyone would be. And they make no apologies for being human. Humans are gonna do that, and do that. And the thing about the Greeks is that they're very contradictory, but we're very community orientated in a way that empowers us. You know, we feel like we're part of something great, part of something big, ya know. And you feel it, even though you might not be in amongst a crowd of Greeks, you feel the history, and you feel the attitude of Greeks, as an asset to who you are. And at times, a friggin' liability. You know, they don't mind a chat, they'll sit down and have a coffee and chat, and they'll talk about it all. There is no actual word for privacy in the Greek language. I mean, if that doesn't tell you everything, I don't know what does.

"And you know, when they talk about depression, the number one cause of depression is feeling isolated, feeling alone. And the Greeks, they don't have that. There's no chance of feeling alone, I mean I don't think I have had a thought of my own when I'm in the presence of Greeks. I don't think they've given me a chance to think a thought of my own, they're so busy vocalising theirs. It's like, exhausting."

Josie's Juice declares here that Italians have invented a 'shit-load' of stuff, but the Greeks claim it as their own. What's with that?!

"Oh my GOD, hello?! Are you on drugs? It's the complete opposite, let me tell you something: we started it all, you copy everything.

"We've got Zeus, you guys go off and do Jupiter. We've had Aphrodite, oh, guess what, we've got Venus. What's with that! Hello, you stole our gods. We brought coffee to Sicily when were there, you guys just make money out it. You guys don't even have the dignity to sit down when you drink coffee, you know why, because you're too busy running off and making money out of other cultures' ideas."

(More on this very funny Effie interview up shortly… Josie's Juice and Effie could not stop our chat, like good wogs who can't shut up. Although everyone knows Italians do it better, Effie… ouchhhh!)

And now, more about the fabulous 1990s CD from Effie.

You guys, if you love the 1990s, you basically have to buy this CD immediately.

Here is the fantastic track listing - all killer, no filler:

CD1 – On Your Feet! 
  1. C&C Music Factory – Things That Make You Go Hmmm 
  2. En Vogue – Free Your Mind 
  3. Ini Kamoze - Here Comes The Hotstepper 
  4. MC Hammer – You Can’t Touch This 
  5. Dee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart 
  6. Guru Josh – Infinity 
  7. Paula Abdul – Opposites Attract 
  8. Kris Kros – Jump 
  9. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Boom Shake The Room 
  10. RunDMC – It’sLikeThat 
  11. Snow – Informer 
  12. RealMcCoy – Another Night 
  13. MarkMorrison – Return Of The Mack 
  14. MontellJordan – This Is How WeDoIt 
  15. R Kelly – She’s Got That Vibe 
  16. Genuine – Pony 
  17. LaBouche - BeMyLover 
  18. Dr. Alban - Sing Hallelujah 
  19. Kulcha - ShakaJam 
CD2 – On Your Back! 
  1. Maxi Priest – Close To You 
  2. Michael Bolton – How Am I Supposed To Live Without You 
  3. Vanessa Williams – Save The Best For Last 
  4. Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You 
  5. Silk – Freak Me 
  6. SWV – Right Here 
  7. Boyz II Men – I’ll Make Love To You 
  8. Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl 
  9. Diana King – Shy Guy 
  10. Brownstone – If You Love Me 
  11. Toni Braxton – You’re Making Me High 
  12. The Tony Rich Project – NobodyKnows 
  13. Groove Theory – Tell Me 
  14. Az Yet – LastNight 
  15. Backstreet Boys – As Long As You Love Me 
  16. Brandy – I Wanna Be Down 
  17. Next – Too Close 
  18. ColorMeBadd – I Wanna Sex You Up

The press release is typical Effie. It's in Effie's voice, and demands a cut and paste right here:

Fellow boofheads, I have exciting news that will have youse dancing in the streets... to quote my good friends David and Mick...

Yes. I’ve signed a record deal! Genius I know. None of youse will be surprised but I have been chased, sleazed on and schmoozed for years to release an album. Of course the only condition being that I don’t actually sing on it. If that works for Britney it can work for the Effster.

This piece of ‘must have music’ is called, ‘Effie’s Classic 90s Hits’. It’s a collection of my favourite songs from that unforgettable decade.

CD 1 is to get you on your feet, busting moves.

CD 2 is to get you on your back, to make a little music of your own - if youse hear me knocking.

Dance away to MC Hammer, En Vogue, Paula Abdul and Real McCoy. Or get all loved up to Michael Bolton, Boyz II Men and Peter Andre! It’s unbelievable.

If you want it hard - buy the CD or if youse want it soft - download it from iTunes. I’ll give it to you any way you like it.

If love slash lust doesn’t find you after playing this album – please, see a doctor.

It’s gonna be huge people. And I thank youse in advance for my ARIA award. It has a special place next to my beloved Logie.

‘Effie’s Classic 90s Hits’, two CDs for the price of one and half. When it comes to CDs I don’t mind being called cheap. Always, Effie.

Effie’s Classic 90s Hits – physical and digital album released on 17 April, 2015 through Social Family Records

Some tickets still available for her comedy show at her Sydney Comedy Festival show 'A Date With Effie' go to this link. The show is very, very funny and classic Effie. And - she's got a rocking' bod, the Effster - for a virgin mother who apparently pushed out a bambina, Aphrodite (Effie and Affy, get it!)

And, Effie will be at Westfield Liverpool (NSW) this Saturday at 11am:

Buy Effie's 90s CD on iTunes here.

You can follow Effie on Facebook here.

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