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. Despite the group's major success, their journey as Antique came to an end in 2003. Making one of her most difficult decisions ever, Helena decided to pursue her passion and her musical journey alone. This brought her to the dynamic team of Sony Music where she signed her first contract as a solo artist. In December 2003, she released her first single as a solo artist, "Anapandeetes Klisis" ("Missed Calls"), a song that was written especially for her by famous singer and songwriter Christos Dantis. Quite naturally, "Anapandeetes Klisis" became a major hit and remained at the top of airplay charts as well as the sales charts for a long time, reaching gold status. During the winter season of 2003-2004, Helena appeared beside one of Greece's biggest male singers, Antonis Remos, at Studio Pireos night club. In spring 2004, she released her first personal album Protereotita ("Priorities") from which "Antithesis", "Anamnisis", "Katse Kala" and "Stin kardia mou mono thlipsi" became major hits. Her major success brought her to Fever music night club for the winter season 2004-2005 alongside of Sakis Rouvas. Following her popularity in Greece, where she ended up spending more and more time, she became a popular choice to represent the country for a second time in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005, in which she won the contest for Greece with "My Number One". It was the first time in the contest's history that Greece had won. This time she acted as a solo artist, but had backing vocals sung by Alexandros Panayi. She has admitted that Greek music had been something of an acquired taste for her, saying that the name "Antique" was probably a reflection of her childhood impression of it being something rather distant and old-fashioned, that she only really associated with her summer holidays in Greece.