She is both traditional and contemporary! She’s simple in whatever she does but at the same time complex in her artistic attitude! Marina Satti is a Greek- Sudanese girl who has fascinated people from all over the world over the past few months by investing in contrasts. She may, of course, respond to the very deep opposition of Greek reality, which, after seven consecutive years of crisis, attempts to find its way and look at a bright future based on traditions.
Satti’s music combines tradition with the untamed dynamic of youtube. A musical journey to the infamous neighborhoods of Athens with one camera and the escort of ten girls compiled "Mantissa", a song that in just a week reached the five million shows on youtube, a number not usual for the Greek reality.
“Fortune teller told me that to find you i must have had wings and that to drink from your lips I must travel the seas”, Marina Satti sings in greek and from the very first day the song was published on the popular online platform, it triggered a variety of social networking discussions, while press and print media publications followed each other. Today, four months later, views have reached 24 millions and the dithyramblic comments under the video are literally from every corner of the globe.
Satti is a cultivated girl studying at Boston's Berklee Music College, collaborating with international and domestic music industry stars, and with a strong multicultural element in her life that has been sealed on her own job as her father comes from Sudan.
She, however, despite her tremendous success remains modest and committed to her goal. As she told me, although she did not expect all this fuss around her song "Mantissa", she does not really care about numbers, but she is particularly pleased with the fact that a communication bridge has been built with people of all ages.
"I certainly did not expect this to happen, but I really do not care about the number of clicks on Youtube. What matters to me is that many people have been coincided. I get daily messages from young people going out to the streets and dancing “Mantissa”, I am so excited about it. My dream was not to say a song and become viral but to do what I really like and to have a follow up on it. I don’t bite the bait, I'm very happy about what happened but I hope it's one piece of the puzzle”, she says.
She believes that maybe the public attention was focused by the fact that her video clip was a low-budget project that took place in the center of Athens and more specifically on roads that have for years been stigmatised by prostitution and drug use. Indeed, as she explains, the video of "Mantissa" can be "perceived" with many different ways.
“For some people, it may be inspirational and joyful, while for others it may be a video that presents the situation of Greece in general and of Athens in particular. Someone else might have been impressed by the "gang" of girls dancing on the street, we are accustomed to this by groups of boys only. Also, the streets that the video clip took place, might play a big role too. We went into this landscape and imposed our attitude not vice versa. So we have tried to show, among other things, that it is up to us to change the attitude in general without being influenced by what is happening around us”.
This much-talked video clip was her own idea, as she loves working with her friends and wanted to do something with them. She also chooses the single shot because, as she explains, she wants to show the natural flow of things. However, “Mantissa”, apart from all of the above, was a challenge for herself .
“The choreography combines Greek tradition and has some other Bollywood elements. I love the mix of cultures and I constantly search for it. When someone tells me something is wrong or cannot be done, I will just go into the process of searching and proving them wrong. They told me, for example, that I could not be able to make video without money, but I did it or that I could not make a song without belonging to a record company, but that's what happened.They also told me that I cannot go to the center of Athens, on the street with ten girls and dance but it was done. Everything is possible".
Her answer to the satirical videos of "Mantissa"
Apart from the benevolent videos that were released on the Internet with groups of people dancing "Mantissa" and have good time, there are also some satirical videos that have paraphrased the verses of the known song, which one could consider them even offensive for her and her group. She has not been able to see them as her professional duties do not leave her much free time, but her answer is more than disarming:
"I'm glad for what happened. Even if some people did not like my song and wanted to make fun of it or just because they were willing to do it and enjoyed it, it is important that this song created the opportunity for someone to react, even if this reaction is negative. For me it matters that it has the power to provoke reactions. In general, anything that puts us in a process of thinking, or being put up for or against something is positive”.
At the same time, she receives almost on a daily basis remakes of her video clip which she uploads to her personal instagram account. Groups of young people come out on the streets and dance “Mantissa” in their own way.
“The remake videos of my fans are very touching. It is very encouraging for me to see that someone else may have been inspired positively, and to go out on the road with his friends only with a camera, singing, dancing and making fun”.
Eurovision- "I'm not ready yet"
After the great success “Koupes” cover, an old Greek rembetiko song she recorded with her friends at her apartment and later the hit "Mantisa", the young songwriter gained countless fans, many of who ask her to represent Greece in the international Eurovision contest believing that she can even win the first place.
Satti says she does not feel ready yet but she does not reject the possibility of happening in the future, under the right conditions.
"For me it is still the beginning of my career. I make my team, myself, the way I work. Of course, it can be done in the future only if I had the right team and we had something great to suggest. Only in this way I would make such a move. I would not take part in such a competition just because it it Eurovision”.
Greek crisis -“There are difficulties but I’m trying to change everything I don’t like”
However, Satti believes that the way someone perceives the meaning of crisis and the extent to which it affects one has its own significance. As she says, returning from her studies in America she was depressed. However, gradually she decided not to let her youth pass through thinking that everything is prescriptive and dependent on external factors.
"I’m trying to change everything I don’t like in my life and make the best of it" she says with disarming sincerity and adds: "I see people who are happy with their lives and this has not to do with money. Of course, I have difficulties and there are some practical ones in my own life that probably did not exist in other countries, but I think the phrase "Greece of the crisis" is somewhat dramatic.
“I remember my grandmother telling me that she had come from Asia Minor after the disaster and was sleeping in graves because she was afraid. Ok, obviously things are not easy today but I hope, like any recession, a period of recovery and regeneration will follow”. In fact, as she emphasizes when she’s focusing on negatives, she does not react properly. "I'm not creative, I'm not bright, I'm not good company, good girlfriend or good musician, when I’m anxious”.
Her advice to young people
As our discussion was approaching to the end, I asked her to give some advice to young people who want to get involved with music. As she told me, she would tell them the same things she would say to those who do not want to become musicians. Apart from studies, courage plays a great role for her and the resistance to anything that can disorient someone from his goal.
"Everyone has the power to carve his own way, I strongly believe that. When I was younger I was thinking more and acting less, now I do the opposite. Furthermore the word “wrong” I was listening as a child has haunted me but I realized that even mistakes are useful because you learn and you come closer to your goal. There is no beaten track. If it was, we would all be happy, rich and successful”.