Following the incredible success of ‘Under These Lights’, which earned a well-deserved number one slot on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, Greek DJ and songwriter Xenia Ghali releases ‘Places’. In an interview with Essentially Pop, Ghali gets candid about what her music means to her and the inspiration behind ‘Places’, which has as of May 6, 2017, has become the second of her singles to reach number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
EP: What is the inspiration behind your single ‘Places’?
XG: Places is a fun, open to interpretation and slightly sexy record. When I produced Places, I wanted to create something that would be able to relate to people in their own ways. The track is easy to listen to, it grooves and combines very melodic elements with rhythm. Lyrically, the song speaks of taking the person to ‘Places she won’t go’. These Places could be physical places, places in their minds, circumstances, fantasies etc.
EP: What was it like working with Raquel Castro and Ryan Kelly? And how did this collaboration come about?
XG: I have been very blessed in that my collaborations so far have been with genuinely really great people. Both Raquel Castro and Ryan Kelley are above all else incredible people, very easy to work with, we had amazing chemistry and we established friendships after our collaboration.
They are both exceptional professionals in their own fields and truly have added so much to the project over all.
EP: How would you describe your sound? Have your Greek roots influenced your music style?
XG: I would have to say that my sound is based on melodic elements, rhythm and passion. My Greek roots have definitely influenced my music style in that I grew up with a lot of House and Dance music around me. It is very embedded in Greek and European culture, so therefore that genre of music is very close to my heart.
EP: How do you prepare for your performances?
XG: Generally, I don’t have a specific way to prepare for my performances. I always like to perform my set according to the vibe I’m feeling from the crowd and from the venue/club/event. I allow the energy I feel from each performance to guide my set.
EP: Do you have any specific superstitions or habits that must be done before every performance?
XG: Not particularly. I always try to remain calm and clear minded before my performances.
EP: Has music always been your dream career? When did you realize this is what you want to do in your life?
XG: I have been involved with music since I was very young. I started playing classical piano and flute at the age of 5 and later when I was 15 I picked up the guitar and the drums. That was when I started songwriting and realised that creating music was my true passion. After high school, I moved to the UK to receive my Bachelors in Film Scoring, Music Composition and Production. That was also when I began spinning on turntables and vinyl. After the UK, I moved to New York to do a Masters in Film Scoring, Music Composition and Production at NYU and simultaneously began working professionally as a music producer and a DJ.
Music has always been a very vital means of communication for me. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything other than that, to be honest.
EP: In previous interviews you described ‘Places’ as a song that talks about taking someone places, “she won’t go”, be it a physical place, a fantasy or somewhere in your mind. Name one place you want to see but haven’t had a chance, or fantasy of yours that comes to mind.
XG: I have always wanted to visit Thailand!
EP: You’ve worked with quite a few big name artists if given the chance which artist would you want to work with?
XG: Yes, I have had the absolute pleasure of working with some incredible artists. I admire a lot of musicians, artists and producers so it would be almost impossible to pick just one!
EP: Would you share a memorable piece of advice that keeps your strength up during tough times?
XG: What keeps my strength up during tough times are my family, my friends and the people that support my work. It is truly a blessing to have support and love. At the end of the day, human connection whether with family, friends or with people who support you is really what makes everything worth it.
EP: What can we expect from you in the rest of 2017?
XG: I am currently on a three-month summer tour in Greece and also in the studio working on my next releases! You can definitely expect a lot of new music, collaborations and a lot of shows!
Check out the video for “Places” below: