Behind the Music: Xenia Ghali – ‘Places’ music video
A DJ, producer, songwriter and classically trained musician, talented Greek artist Xenia Ghali has made quite an impact ever since her arrival on the dance music scene. After debuting on Pitbull’s label Mr. 305 Records and collaborating with Grammy Award-winning rapper Wyclef Jean, Xenia followed up in style in the summer of 2016 when she released ‘Under These Lights’ on her own label Funky Sheep Records, which reached #1 in the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart.
Having performed at events such as Greece’s ‘MADwalk’ fashion and music event, DJ-ed on Greece’s version of The X Factor, composed the soundtrack for internationally renowned designer Michael Costello’s Fashion show video, and appeared on leading publications such as Billboard and The Huffington Post, it is clear that this talented young musician is showing no signs of stopping. Her hard work and drive is also reflected in the fact that global brands like Adidas, G-Star Raw and Eastpak in her native Greece chose to collaborate with the talented newcomer.
Xenia’s new track ‘Places’ once again showcases her gift for writing dance anthems. Xenia has enlisted the help of singer/songwriter Raquel Castro on vocals for the follow-up and the result is a radio friendly bass-influenced affair that is as at home being played on the airwaves as it is on the dancefloor. The luscious pads and warm piano chords permeate throughout the breakdown, finely paired with the dreamy and catchy vocals of Castro. The deep-house inspired bassline gives the track the grit it needs as the song works towards its climax. When it does overtake, strong drums combine with the bass to provide the groove while cleverly pitched, choppy vocal stabs demonstrate Xenia’s obvious abilities in the studio.
We Rave You had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of her latest music video and catch up with the artist herself and this is what she had to say during our exclusive interview:
“‘Places’ is a song based dance/house record. Production wise I have combined melodic elements and layering with a driving and bass driven rhythm. It features Raquel Castro and the lyrics are playful, fun and open to interpretation. “
Tell us about the concept for the music video for ‘Places’. We love the dancing and stop motion you used extensively, is creativity something you wanted to focus on throughout the whole process of the video?
“Thank you! The concept of the video was quite similar to the song itself. It is a fun, fresh, open to interpretation video featuring a love story, amazing dancing and visually appealing moments (such as the stop motion technique). I really love being as creative as possible when it comes to the things I do both musically and visually. Stop motion is a very interesting and creative technique. It opens up a whole other dimension with regards to what you can do visually. This was very interesting and appealing to me. Due to the nature of stop motion, it takes an incredibly long time to shoot a sequence, so we combined stop motion with live video.”
How involved were you in making the video? Did you create the concept entirely yourself and have creative control over everything?
“I am very involved with all of my videos. From the creative direction to the concept to the editing process and the post production. Having said that, I love collaborating and exchanging ideas with other creative individuals. The concept of the video was a combined effort between the director, his team, my team and myself.”
What was the most difficult thing about creating a video, and turning an idea into reality?
“Personally, it’s trying to find a way to turn my imagination into a realistic and doable project. My imagination can get very crazy so I always have to work hard on figuring out how to do what I would like to do.”
How did the collaboration with The Voice and Empire star Raquel Castro come about?
“My manager thought Raquel would be perfect for the record so he approached her with it. After Raquel heard it, she recorded the vocals and absolutely nailed it! That was it! She’s a wonderful person and very talented, so the collaboration was fantastic. “
The video stars Teen Wolf’s Ryan Kelley which is quite unusual for a dance music video. What lead to this collaboration?
“The video involves a love story between myself and a guy, so of course we needed a male lead. Ryan fit the part perfectly so my team approached him. He loved the song and the concept so he flew in from LA to shoot the video in New York. Like Raquel, Ryan is truly a fantastic person, very professional and very talented. Shooting the video with him was really fun and a great experience. “
What do you think makes a good music video and how important are they in dance music?
“Originality and creativity make a good music video in my opinion. Dance music has always been a genre that focuses on the body and the mind (especially in clubs) so therefore the music video should try to trigger the same senses. I like experimenting with my videos. I always try to come up with something original but also something that relates to the actual record itself. One thing I always say is that the video should be the visual to the record vs the record being the soundtrack to the video. An example of this is my love for tight synchronisation of the video with the record (the edits, the actual footage. the story line and the speed)”
Your sound has evolved over the past couple of releases, but one thing that remains constant is their ability to work on both a dancefloor and on the radio. Do you see yourself predominantly as a DJ/producer or as a more mainstream artist?
“I would say both. I try to maintain a balance between the two. Both are very important to me and make up who I am and what I love to do.”
Leading on from that, where do you see yourself in 1-2 years time?
“I want to make as much music as I possibly can, collaborate with artists and musicians who inspire me and of course do as many shows as possible! Having said that, time will show where I will be in 1-2 years time.”
What’s next for you musically?
“I’m already working on my next releases and I’m also working on a few more underground records and remixes. I’m in a very inspired and motivated stage in my life so I’m excited!”
So there you have it. It is clear that ‘Places’ is a different direction for the multi-dimensional Xenia, an artist in possession of a kaleidoscopic range of originality, clearly keeping her finger on the pulse when it comes to writing songs that both her fans want to hear as well as drawing in new devotees to her cause. Xenia’s diversity and ability to create music that is instantly memorable ensure that she is on course to continue her impressive rise in the dance music world, and cement Xenia Ghali as a name to pay attention to.
You can check out the video for her latest track ‘Places’ below: