From the United Kingdom to Melbourne, Australia, and later finding herself on a small island in Greece during the COVID-19 restrictions, a two-week break turned into a three-year affair for Dr Erica Myers-Davis, also known as Lady Erica.
In 1995, Erica moved to Australia and was one of the first deejays to play ‘Jungle’ music in Western Australia. Before relocating to Greece, she was based in Melbourne establishing herself as an artist in Australia’s music scene.
Lady Erica founded Show Pony Music, distributing UK Garage, Grime and Dubstep vinyl, CDs and DVDs across Australia from 2000 to 2008.
After years of playing in Melbourne’s laneway joints and hidden basements in the city, the Jamaican artist would land a permanent slot with her own show called, ‘Underground Flavas,’ broadcast on Saturday nights on Triple R 102.7FM, reaching millions of listens.
Erica is also cousins with Jamaican runner Usain Bolt.
With Jamaican roots, an English accent, and an epic story of how she landed on Poros island, The Greek Herald spoke with Erica about embracing an entirely new culture and learning the Greek language.
Unable to return to Australia during COVID-19, after visiting her sick father in the UK, Erica decided to visit Athens and figure out her next move. It was by chance she would find the island of Poros by randomly pointing on a map to decipher where she would head next.
Planning to explore Santorini after visiting Poros, Erica wouldn’t know it at the time, but life had other plans. Within three hours of setting foot on Poros, she was ‘adopted’ by a local family who housed, fed and entertained her.
Within a short time, Erica was exploring the island by foot with new friends, watching football with the family and pappou, and learning how to make Greek food.
“It was so much fun,” Erica says about when she first arrived, “and it was a distraction from what was going on with my dad.”
During this time, her father was still very sick and encouraged her to stay on the island instead of returning to the UK. So, Erica would create little videos of her adventures to send to her dad, inviting him to share the experience with her.
Sadly, Erica’s father passed away and the stark reality set in.
“I couldn’t go back to Melbourne at this point. I was stranded, so I had to think about what I was going to do long-term,” Erica explains.
She decided to explore the idea of staying on the island permanently.
“I called on future Erica… she comes from the future and tells me, ‘Erica, just do this thing! Just apply for residency!” she says.
And that’s exactly what she did. Erica was granted residency by the Greek government within two months of applying, giving her the right to work and live in Greece.
“My family heritage is Jamaican; if Jamaica was in Europe, it would be Greece, which is one of the reasons I like it. There’s a lot of similarities; it’s loose, everyone is loud, it has amazing beaches,” Erica says.
“Some people think it’s a bit backwards here. In some ways it is, but in other ways it’s not. It’s all about family, food, singing, dancing – and that’s Jamaica!” Erica says.
While the family who took her in spoke English well, Erica felt embarrassed that she was unable to speak Greek, especially with the older relatives who don’t speak English. Almost immediately, she began learning the Greek language online with an app and a local teacher.
The family were amused by her commitment to learning as they looked around her apartment and saw it covered in post-it notes describing each item and room in Greek.
Last year, Erica was able to return to Melbourne and decided she would do six months in each country. She continued learning Greek through the Greek Community of Melbourne’s (GCM) language school. Learning the language deepened her love for and of Greece.
The in-person and online classes by the GCM gave Erica the confidence to speak Greek. While she finds the pronunciation of words with more than four syllables challenging, people often say her accent is very good.
Erica now works on Poros island remotely and deejay’s in Athens, whilst also travelling back to Australia during the summer months. Her end game is to retire in Greece.