A world-renowned songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, DJ Xenia Ghali ties her Greek heritage into her music and exotic appearance. Ghali’s most recent release, “Get Dirty” featuring Wyclef Jean, dropped earlier this year. Be sure to keep an eye out for her “Black Betty’s Worldwide” single due out on Pitbull’s “Mr. 305” label next month.
— — —
Mike O’Keefe: You are originally from Athens, Greece. How did you like growing up there?
Xenia Ghali: Growing up in Greece pretty much gave me the chance to have an actual childhood. You know, kids play on the street. They are not worried about crime as much. You have a ton of freedom. Things are much more innocent, I guess, in that way. So that’s something I really appreciated as a kid and I feel like in other countries, especially in the United States or the [United Kingdom], you can’t really experience that as much. That’s definitely something I really enjoyed and would never ever find in another area. I also have a big issue with countries that don’t have sunshine.
Photo courtesy | Danel Solabarrieta
MO: It’s true. Everything seems sad.
XG: Yeah, it’s terrible. I was in London for three years studying, and it just affected me so much that I couldn’t see the sun on a daily basis. The weather was definitely a huge part of being a very optimistic kind of kid. I think that the weather really makes a difference. Also, the general vibe and beauty of Greece. It’s a really beautiful country. You get amazing summers. Winters aren’t as popular to the rest of the world, but winter in Greece is also really beautiful. You get the best of both worlds, which is great.
MO: Yeah, that’s awesome. I have yet to go out there. Everyone that has been, has just raved about it and said it’s beautiful in Greece. That’s definitely on my list.
XG: It’s gorgeous. It really is. I’m not just saying it because I’m Greek, but it really is amazing.
Photo courtesy | Spiros Kokoris
MO: Are there any sights that you would suggest? I know that there is so much history in Greece and so much to do.
XG: Oh yeah! There’s obviously the Acropolis if you are in Athens. Athens is the capital city. If you are in Athens, obviously the Acropolis is incredible. They recently made a museum, which is actually really, really impressive. I definitely recommend anyone going to Athens to visit both the museum and the Acropolis. Other than that really, there are a ton of neighborhoods that are really gorgeous that aren’t advertised as much on tourist sites. The islands as well; the islands are amazing. That’s a huge thing.
MO: Yeah, I think my favorite thing about traveling too is getting involved in the culture and seeing the small towns, not so much the touristy areas. That’s definitely cool.
Photo courtesy | Danel Solabarrieta
XG: Yeah, definitely. The tourist places are good to see, just to see it and the really important stuff, but I always recommend going there with a local person, or at least asking someone who would know the parts of Greece that aren’t advertised.
MO: Right. Is being involved in music something you always wanted to do? Or was it an evolutionary process?
XG: I was classically trained, since I was five, at the piano. So, I kind of grew up on music I guess. My parents were very adamant about us being well rounded as kids. Neither of my parents are musicians, but they wanted us to be educated in music. So I started off playing piano when I was five. I think I was six or seven when I picked up the flute. I was classically trained on flute. Then, during my teenage years, I went through a whole rock phase and played guitar in a band. That’s when I started songwriting.
MO: It sounds like you touched every instrument.
XG: Yeah, the only instrument I haven’t attempted is the violin. I hated the kids, but actually love the violin. I never got a chance to learn it. So, maybe sometime in the future.
MO: Are there any destinations that you haven’t been to yet and are dying to see?
XG: I actually haven’t been to Asia, which is funny because I’m probably going to do a tour in Asia. So, I’m excited about that. That’s definitely on the list. It looks like I’ll be fulfilling that pretty soon.
MO: Every country has a festival or celebration that stands out. What is one that you would like to go to?
XG: Hands down, Tomorrowland.
Photo courtesy | MIXTRIBE
MO: Does traveling help your creative process when making music?
XG: Oh, definitely! Especially when I get some time to spend in a new area. It’s really inspiring for me. So, definitely.
MO: Yeah, especially because being somewhere new, you are always on your toes. Everything is so new that you are just taking everything in. I would have to agree.
XG: Yeah, definitely!
MO: Lastly, when’s your next trip and what for?
XG: The next trip is to Chicago and it’s for a show. It’s a domestic flight, but that’s my next trip. I’m headlining the show which will be fun. I’ve never been to Chicago, so that’s a new area for me as well.
— — —
For more on DJ Xenia Ghali visit her website: