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Helena Paparizou was born to Greek parents in Gothenburg, Sweden, where she grew up. Helena's artistic talents and eagerness to excel very early became apparent, and she was soon involved in singing, dancing and acting. As she wanted to develop her talents, Helena began her training in these arts even while she was still at school. A significant turning point in Helena's life was the creation of Antique, a group she set up with her childhood friend Nikos Panagiotidis at the age of seventeen. Almost immediately, Antique signed their first record label contract with the then newly founded record label Bonnier in Sweden. Their debut single Opa-Opa became a huge hit, reaching number one on the single charts and gaining gold status following its release in August 1999. The band's rapidly-increasing fame and success in the subsequent period, strongly associated as it was with the international promotion of Greek culture, led to them being selected as Greece's representatives for the Eurovision Song Contest 2001 in Copenhagen. As lead singer, the eyes of the massive international audience principally fell on Helena, still only in her late teens, but her voice, her beauty in a revealing dress, and above all the song "Die for You" clearly fired the public's imagination, and Antique finished a strong third. Although equalled by Sakis Rouvas' effort "Shake It" in 2004, it was Greece's highest place in the competition until she won the contest in 2005. Antique's major success in the Eurovision contest led to a promising future and a successful career which included many platinum albums, a European tour, and collaborations with many highly successful and accredited artists from Greece and abroad.


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