Under the pen name of Apalósbreeze, soloist Liana Peklivanas put her lockdown time to good use. She recorded, mastered, polished and released her second album 37 Degrees North, launched just ahead of the Easter break on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, Deezer, and TikTok.
She is her own producer, as she is a self-taught music engineer. She digitally recorded all instruments and of course her warm, soulful, assertive voice, which is the trait d’union of the ten songs featured, all so diverse in style, mood and tempo. An exquisite sort of poetic pop with jazz, ethnic, rock, country and hip hop liberally thrown in.
“This album is about the many emotional journeys I’ve faced in my life, coming to terms with my identity, my domestic situation, sleeping in my car, toxic relationships and much more,” the singer songwriter says.
“It was definitely a cathartic process for me.”
The album is titled after the latitude at which sits Alicante, the city where Liana grew up: “I was born in London, and my family moved to Spain when I was seven. I flew the nest and moved to Gibraltar at the age of twenty.”
The lyrics come from poems Liana wrote in the past and deemed suitable for musical arrangement. “A lot of emotions went into this album. I sing about the things that are often hard to talk about. It was definitely a cathartic process for me.”
The song “Close My Eyes” carries the most important message in the album: “It’s hard for me to perform it straight to the end without crying. It speaks of domestic abuse and losing one’s will to live as a result.”
“Hypothermia” follows up on the subject, telling of a toxic relationship and the subsequent dying of one’s old self, becoming someone they don’t like, in the bid of salvaging that relationship.
The title song, “37 Degrees North”, is a nostalgic poetic account of Liana’s upbringing, that she describes as the most important part of her life, and as “growing from a girl to a lady”; “Homesick” recounts her time when she was homeless and only had her car to rest her head; “In My Veins” is inspired by the story of Beauty and the Beast, and it features passionate lyrics; “She Knows” and “Neglected” are about betrayal; and “B*tches” speaks up for feminism.
“It’s hard for me to perform it without crying.”
The song “Shalom Hola Geisas Hello” alludes to her mixed heritage and multicultural upbringing, as her mother is a Polish Ashkenazi Jew, and her father a Greek Christian: “Whenever someone asks me ‘Where are you from?’, it is a complicated question to answer for me. Is it about where I was born, where I was raised, or my origins?”
Not easy to pinpoint her musical influences either, she admits, but she lists Florence and the Machine, Coldplay, Snow Patrol and other indie/alternative rock artists as her muse. She’s been writing poetry or lyrics and composing from a young age: “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write, whether music or poems. It’s such a great release, and it kept me out of trouble in my teens!”
It is a complicated question to answer…
Music steered her through some difficult times, even when life was taking a different direction, and her professional life led her towards a degree: “After winning a writing award through Relatos Juveniles de la Provincia de Alicante, I went onto study at the London School of Journalism.”
Yet, music was always playing in the background like a private life soundtrack: “Music for me is about having a good time listening to it or performing it, and transmitting positivity through it. Music is about being authentic and vulnerable.”
She shares a message of hope with musicians who “feel burnt out because they are not getting the exposure they so crave”. “I too felt intimidated by social media when I first started, because I would compare my success to others. I lost my vision; I was so consumed by algorithm, likes and follows that I wasn’t focusing on my true passion: Music.
“Then I learnt that the focus should be on what we can give, more than what we can gain. If my songs can inspire at least one person to make a positive change in their life or offer the simple comfort that they are not alone, then I have done enough. Of course, I would love to have the opportunity to perform on an international scale but until then, let’s just enjoy it, as it comes!”
“It kept me out of trouble in my teens!”
Meanwhile, she performs live gigs around Gibraltar with Apollo 23, in duet with guitarist and vocalist Yusef Moudden.
Liana’s debut album, Twenty-Three, is available on the platforms mentioned above: “The title was so chosen because this seems to be a significant number in my life. Whether good or bad, a lot tends to happen to me on this date!”
Visit ApalosBreeze.com for more information and Liana’s blog, and listen to her song on linktr.ee/apalosbreeze.