Mouskouri has been a prolific performer and recording artist for much of her life. She has recorded numerous albums and songs in various languages, and has become one of the most recognized Greek artists.
Mouskouri was introduced to singing at an early age, mainly due to interest from her parents, who sent her to the Athens Conservatoire to learn to sing. She had already shown exceptional talent by the age of six, and by the age of twelve began to take proper music lessons. Her earliest influences were radio broadcasts of singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Edith Pia and Billie Holiday.
Mouskouri studied operatic singing; however, she slowly shifted towards jazz music as she grew older. As a result of her jazz influence, she began performing at local clubs and restaurants, and eventually got noticed by producers. She released her first song, Fascination, in 1957. It was in Greek and English, and Mouskouri slowly started getting noticed in Greece as a hugely talented singer.
In 1958, she met famous Greek producer and composer Manos Hadjidakis, who saw potential in the young singer and started writing songs for her. Thus, a successful singer-songwriter partnership began, which produced hits like the German song, Weiße Rosen aus Athen (White Roses from Athens).
Mouskouri set about on the path to main stream success after meeting legendary producer Quincy Jones in 1962. Jones recognized her talents and persuaded her to come to New York to record an American jazz album. The album, “Girl from Greece Sings” became a major jazz hit in the country and Mouskouri slowly started getting mainstream exposure. Her next venture was in the United Kingdom, where she followed up her first English album, with another hit, “My Colouring Book”.
Remaining in the European scene, she next moved to Paris in 1963, where she became close friends with French star Barbra, and other leading French artists. She recorded several hits in French during her stay there, including the massively successful 1964 hit, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and her 1965 cover of Carol of the Drum, L'Enfant au Tambour.
Hits like these shot Mouskouri to fame and she slowly became one of the most prominent Greek artists on the international scene. She toured with famous American calypso artist Harry Belafonte and continued to release hit album after hit. Her 1967 French album, “Le Jour Où la Colombe”, made her a household name in France and shot her to super stardom in the country.
Mouskouri’s prolific recording and touring, and especially her versatility in terms of recoding languages, ensured that she soon became a music icon, in most European countries and America. She continued to record and tour till 2008, when she announced she planned to retire from music. However, it turned out to be a hiatus, and she has been performing regularly since 2011.