Despina Malea (Greek: Δέσποινα Μάλεα; born 22 July 1969), known by her stage name Despina Vandi (Greek: Βανδή, pronounced [ˈðespina vanˈði]), is a Greek singer. Born in Stuttgart–Tübingen, West Germany, Vandi's family returned to Kavala, Greece when she was six years old and she later enrolled at the University of Thessaloniki, but eventually dropped out to begin a career in music. After moving to Athens in the early 1990s and performing in nightclubs for several years, Vandi signed a record deal with Minos EMI and released two commercially albums Gela Mou (1994) and Esena Perimeno (1996). She then began an exclusive collaboration with songwriter/producer Phoebus that would become one of the most successful partnerships in Greek music history and struck commercial success with her third album, Deka Endoles (1997), followed by the multi-platinum Profities (1999), where she incorporated pop elements into her music in addition to laïko as well as a more pop stage performance style and image, becoming one of the most prominent portrayers of the laiko/pop genre that was thriving into the mid-2000s. Her single "Ipofero" (2000) became the best selling single of all-time in Greece. Following Phoebus' departure from Minos EMI, Vandi followed him to the newly-formed independent label Heaven Music and released Gia (2001), which became and remains both Vandi and the label's biggest commercial success as well as one of the best-selling albums of all time in Greece and Cyprus. This string of commercial successes established Vandi as one of the most successful acts of the late 1990s and early 2000s. With some of the singles from Gia having broken into neighbouring markets, Vandi released the album abroad with the addition of some English-language singles in a brief attempt at breaking into the international market. While "Gia" witnessed some success, topping the US Billboard Hot Dance Airplay and making her the first Greek artist to top a Billboard chart, the two later singles were less successful and the artist made no further attempts. She released her first live album in 2003 and after a hiatus following giving birth to her first child from her marriage with football player Demis Nikolaidis, she returned with Stin Avli Tou Paradeisou (2004). Although its sales were significantly lower than that of Gia, it was commercially successful, having been certified multi-platinum and becoming her third album to achieve six-figure sales. Vandi gave birth to her second child, leading to a three-year hiatus that ended with 10 Hronia Mazi (2007), a ten year celebration of her collaboration with Pheobus. Vandi once again followed Phoebus' departure in favour of his new label The Spicy Effect. Her eighth studio album C'est La Vie was the label's first release.
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