Photo by Eilon Paz
Monika Christodoulou is known simply as Monika in her native Greece, and there she’s a huge star (as in, “selling hundreds of thousands of records” kind of star). But a brush with death in 2012 changed her outlook on life. A boat trip with friends turned into a nightmare after the boat caught fire. Monika swam nearly eight hours in complete darkness to the shore.
The incident prompted a rebirth, both emotionally and artistically. Monika traveled to New York and worked with Homer Steinweiss–drummer for the Dap-Kings and an accomplished producer–on her third album, Secret In The Dark. Her first two albums featured that classic European folk-pop sound a la Carla Bruni or even Nico in places; Secret is a much livelier affair. Monika tries on an American fusion of funk and disco, and it’s exceptional. That’s because she pours some real soul into the upbeat songs, like on the title track. “Secret” pulses with life; it’s the sound of an artist getting a second chance and grabbing it. Download the song below.