Ilia Darlin first appeared on our pop radar way back in 2011 with “Car Crash” (a catchy Lady Gaga-lite pop song she subsequently disowned), before gaining wider attention last year with edgy synth-pop gems “Hit Me” and “Even When I Lose”.
It was only a matter of time before the best-kept secret in pop had an international breakthrough and it finally happened this summer when Pop Justice named new single “We Do What We Like” their song of the day (giving it an 8/10 rating, no less) and blogs finally started buzzing about the raven-haired beauty.
We invited Ilia to Idolator studio to chat about her budding pop career, evolving sound and love affair with Los Angeles. Learn all there is to know about the Greek diva after the jump and make sure you check out her live version of “We Do What We Like”. It’s extraordinary.
REAL NAME: Ιλια Παταπη (or Ilia Patapi)
SOUNDS LIKE: When Ilia first made waves on the international pop scene with “Car Crash” she was widely compared to Lady Gaga. Although that had more to do with the crazy outfits she wore at the time. Since losing the theatrical garb and experimenting wildly with her sound, the closest comparison is probably Charli XCX on acid or Bjork — if she dabbled in HI-NRG dance music.
WHY SHE SINGS IN ENGLISH: The Greek music scene is heavily dominated by divas that sing in their native language — making the LA-based pop star something of an oddity. “I don’t know why it felt so natural to me to write in English,” she tells us. “Maybe because I was traveling from a very young age and I felt that the world communicates in English.”
HOW LOS ANGELES SAVED HER: “I got an overdose from everything and I felt I had to restart, so I moved in Los Angeles and I locked myself in my apartment,” she explained. “I wrote my EP, I made most of my clothes, I shot my pictures and part of my videos in the very same room overlooking the palm trees.” The change of scenery revitalized. “I don’t know why but I felt I found myself here.”
ILIA’S INSPIRATIONS: The Greek diva was heavily influenced by DIY artists, saying: “[they] have really inspired me and made me realize I can do everything myself. I think there’s been a saturation over the past years of polished fake images that have no substance. I didn’t want to be a part of it.” As for her personal spirit animal? “I keep saying how inspired I’ve been by Maria Callas. She was an opera singer which has nothing to do with my music but she was Greek, they called her tiger and she was on top of the world at some point.”
ON “WE DO WHAT WE LIKE”: Ilia describes her breakthrough hit as follows: “It’s kind of a lighthearted, up yours, rebellious song.” But she’s not finished. “You know in this field you meet some people and face some situations you would never imagine,” she continues. “There are some people that have seriously pissed me off, trying to make me believe I should conform to their wishes in order to get somewhere.”
FUTURE PLANS: “I am working on two more videos for the We Do What We Like EP and then I’ll start writing again,” she confides. “I believe there will be an album, I just don’t want it to be too long before it comes out. I owe it to so many people who’ve been supporting me all this time and I’m ready to make it happen.”
As a special treat, we invited Ilia to perform an acoustic version of “We Do What We Like” and blew the roof off the studio with a stunning rendition. Watch the masterful display below.
You might also like