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Interview 2001 for Markos Papadatos
by Adrian Peel
Markos Papadatos recently penned his 2,000th career article. Here he talks to us about the achievement, his love of writing and his future ambitions.
Since his first foray into journalism, writing for his college newspaper, The Queens College Knight News, in February 2006 (where he made his predictions for the Oscars that year), Mr. Papadatos, a proud New Yorker, has tended to focus his considerable energy on music – specifically country – interviewing some of the biggest names in the business.
Stars who have succumbed to his easygoing charm and down-to-earth interviewing style – where politeness and a natural ability to listen intently are key – include: Martina McBride, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Ted Nugent, Joe Nichols, Hank Jr., Chris Young, Carlo Astuti, Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line and Sunny Sweeney.
“Article number 2,000 was my interview with country singer Jaren Johnston from the group, The Cadillac Three,” says the Queens College alumni of his impressive milestone. “I love their single ‘The South’. I am a huge fan of the trio; they are super-talented and are signed to Big Machine Records. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Reaching 2,000 career articles was a dream come true…”
Reflecting on the many artists, of various genres, he has spoken to over the years, the hardworking Greek American states, “Ted Nugent was an awesome interview. He was such a character – I loved talking to ‘Uncle Ted’. I love his electrifying live shows too. Even at his age, he is like a rock version of Garth Brooks. Plus his concerts truly ‘cleanse the soul’, to quote the man himself.
“Other amazing interviews this year include Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall-of-Famer Brenda Lee and Grammy-winning American icon Judy Collins, gospel sensation Amy Grant, Country Music Hall-of-Famer Emmylou Harris, as well as country queen Martina McBride.”
As he has already ticked a remarkable number of big names off his ‘wish list’, I asked the writer also heavily associated with Broken Records Magazine, Examiner and a number of Greek American publications to inform me as to who his next ‘targets’ might be.
“I would love to interview football player Tim Tebow someday… He is one of my all-time favorite people in the world and an impeccable humanitarian. Other than that, I am fulfilled in the male interview department with the ones that I have already done in the past. As far as female interviewees are concerned, Lee Ann Womack and Lorde are next on my list.”
While working for Broken Records, where he rose to the position of Managing Editor, Markos became known as ‘The Machine’ for his reliability and extraordinary work rate, usually having the completed article ready to publish an hour after an interview had taken place – a practice he continues, for the most part, to rigidly adhere to.
“I like to write them quickly while they are fresh in my head,” he explains. “That way they can be as accurate as possible. Also, lately I juggle several interview requests per day, so rather than letting them all pile up, I knock them out quickly. After the first 500 articles, you get narrative journalism writing to an exact science so it becomes second nature to you!”
An avid fan of popular culture, Markos never really received much encouragement from his teachers as a teenager, as far as following a career in journalism was concerned, and is a shining example, therefore, of what one can achieve through hard work and dedication.
“In high school nobody took me seriously, especially since I loved country music – thus making me an outcast in New York,” he recalls. “Advice for hopefuls: never give up! Write anywhere and everywhere you can and somebody will notice your work, whether it’s a music fan, friend, reader, artist or publisher. Keep at it. I did and proved every naysayer wrong. Develop good relationships with publicists and fellow journalists, network and share ideas.”
Finally, I asked the respected journalist, who grew up in the Greek town of Aigio (a country song that reminds him of his happy childhood in Europe is “Signs” by Brett Eldredge), to tell me his plans and ambitions for the next few years, professionally speaking.
“I am extremely happy writing for the Greek American press, Examiner and Digital Journal, as well as Country Pulse Magazine,” he concludes. “I love the creative freedom that I have as a freelancer, especially writing for online media. I would love to someday get an article published in Country Weekly, Billboard Magazine, People Magazine or Vogue, but if it doesn’t happen, that’s alright. It would only be the cream filling of a Boston cream doughnut.