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Q&A: Benji Adeyemo, performing artist, yoga teacher

BENJI Adeyemo is a multi-talented jack of all trades, and going to his yoga class changed my life (and physical form) for the much better at a time when I was feeling a little down and out, with his uplifting energy, great teaching style and contagiously good vibes. He teaches Bhakti Flow Yoga for which he received training from its creator, Rusty Wells and at NYSY Studios, where he also teaches. He is also a performing artist whose West End credits include Starlight Express, Fame and Saturday Night Fever, and his Greek theatre credits include Saturday Night Fever, La Cage Aux Folles, The Producers and most recently, Priscilla Queen Of The Dessert. Since 2013 he began to sing and his first track ‘The Way’ with Thodoris Triantafillou and CJ Jeff became a big club hit, and many other popular releases followed suit. At the end of May he will be releasing a track called ‘Proud Of You’ with house producer Tsalikee with legendary New York house label ‘King Street’ and is also working on two tracks with The Echonomist and another two with French house producer Rafel Cerato. His sassy drag personality, Miss Diamond, lives on, appearing in various Athens nightspots with great aplomb.

How Greek are you?
Pretty Greek with a heavy dash of London. I’ve been living in Athens for nearly 14 years now, so I think I qualify, but you’ll never take the London out of the boy!

What is your biggest role in life?
Hmmm I guess a father to my cat, a sometimes annoying brother to my brother and sisters, and a crazy son to my mother..! But seriously, I think my role is to create a good vibe, I like the people around me to feel good and have a fun time…I’m a good partner in crime.

What is most important to you right now?
My mother’s health, as unfortunately she is battling cancer and it’s been a very stressful period for her but she is very determined. I love that about her.

What are you most grateful for?
My mother and my sobriety. My mother fostered me and my younger sister when we were babies (even though she already had a daughter of her own) and gave us a great childhood in a home full of love. She always encouraged me to reach for my dreams no matter how crazy they may seem, and has always got my back. My sobriety, well that is priceless.

What scares you most?
Losing my mother, hands down.

benji beatport HIGH

What is Greece to you?
Many things; I came to Greece the first time in 2000 when I was working as a dancer for Anna Vissi. She brought the dancers from London for her summer show and this country blew our minds- I knew then that I would end up living here. Greece gave me the opportunity to do things I might not have done if I still lived in London, as I felt free to try different avenues and not to worry about what people think.

Your one favourite thing about Greece past, present and future?
Past: the crazy ass club scene, when we came in 2000 there was a club in Varkiza called Paradisio – the place was rocking, and we were there every weekend, and then we discovered Mykonos! ..nuff said!
Present: the growing yoga scene, as a teacher and student it’s great to see the yoga community grow in Greece.
Future: I’m waiting to see 🙂

Benji's drag personality, Miss Diamond

Benji’s drag personality, Miss Diamond

Your least favourite thing about Greece past, and present?
Past: My relationship with the police. I had a period when I would get stopped quite frequently and a few times when I actually ended up at the police station while they checked my details.
Present: The metro situation: people, it really is easier if you let the people get off the metro first before you all pile in!

Your fantasy / big wish for Greece?
My wish would be to see Greece come out of the economic conflict it is in at the moment. I’ve seen the good times and the bad and the effect on day to day life has been huge.

Where do you definitely stay away from?
Hmmm not sure that I have somewhere.

Your favourite Greek hotspots right now?
‘Avocado’ a great vegetarian restaurant downtown Athens, and ’ACT’ a new members club with a great cabaret show where my alter ego ‘Miss Diamond’ will be doing her thang.

Benji with his Bhakti Flow teacher, Rusty Wells

Benji with his Bhakti Flow teacher, Rusty Wells

Your favourite Greek word, and why? 
Malakaaaa of course!! It was the first word i learnt. I don’t use it very much now, but did when I didn’t know much Greek.

What smell do you associate with Greece?
The sea, and souvlaki.

What would you take with you to remind you of Greece?
My cat Posidonos, I found him in the carpark when I was working for Nikos Vertis at Posidonio club, hence his name.

 

I interviewed Benji in 2011 on my show Athens4real on Athens International Radio, click here to listen on youtube.

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