Xenia Ghali, Greek music producer and DJ, and founder of Funky Sheep Records, travels the world with her music, lighting up dance floors and festival crowds across the globe. Xenia’s main goal: making people happy, as set by the name she chose for her latest song: dopamine after the name of this hormone and neurotransmitter, which production can be generated by listening to – good – music and creates a deep sensation of happiness.
What does success mean to you?
In my opinion, success is a very powerful word. For me personally, success is feeling complete. With this, I mean feeling complete as a human being and complete as a force who wants to accomplish certain goals in life. It also translates into being happy, which I think is extremely difficult to truly feel. Many times in life, you will get sidetracked and consequently focus on unimportant matters and thereby forget what the actual essence of life is, namely, to experience true happiness. I recently released a video for my latest single, ‘Dopamine’, which I composed as a series of short video clips that show moments from my own life. These included videos of me in a club dancing with my friends, playing at festivals, or a simple moment like holding my sister’s newborn baby. I created the music video as a window into my own life over the past 15 years or so, of moments that genuinely are the happiest I have experienced. It is important for me to emphasize that none of these moments represent any superficial accomplishments. Instead, the videoclips show moments where I was truly expressing myself or having a wonderful time with friends and family. Going back to what success means, there is no doubt that you shouldn’t neglect the importance of setting goals for yourself, and personally, I am a very goal-oriented and work-motivated person. However, for me, success is more than just setting and accomplishing goals. To be truly successful as a person, I think it is vital that you feel truly happy and complete as a human being.
What drives you every day?
People and the relationships I have with them. When I say relationships, I don’t just refer to relationships of a romantic character, but also the relationships I have with family members or the ones I carry with my friends. It can even be as simple as a momentary encounter with a kind airline stewardess or a person you bump into on the street. But all these different types of relationships are what drives me every day. It may sound cheesy, but all the music I have ever created, has always been about the feelings and experiences that I have had with other people. Being a music producer and DJ can get lonely, in the sense that I don’t have a lot of people around me on a daily basis that I can talk to beyond a very superficial level. Therefore, moments like being on a flight, where the airline stewardesses start a conversation with me ending with us taking funny photos on an instant camera become so real and genuine that they impact me on a very substantial level and that’s what drives me.
What has been some of the most challenging parts in building up a career as a music producer and DJ?
Many times, throughout my career, I have experienced people judging my job as a music producer and DJ as not being a serious or a “real” job. As a very passionate person, this used to sincerely hurt a part of my soul. However, I eventually realized that I can’t prevent or change anybody from making condescending remarks about me or my choice of career path. Instead, I decided that I will change these people by showing them my worth through the work that I do, and through my accomplishments on a professional, creative and humane level.
How do we encourage more women to embrace a career in a male dominated industry – namely as a DJ?
I love when I see more and more women being BOLD enough to be in industries that are male dominated. Over the past 10 years, it is clear that there has been a significant change within the music industry, in terms of the degree of BOLDNESS that women show. Women are truly beginning to step up and cut through stereotypes to make a difference in that way. For the women that are still insecure about their abilities to perform, which is understandable, as the majority – even today – are still men within the music industry, I would give the following two-fold advice. First, that there is nothing a man can do, that a woman can’t, and I mean this in a very literal sense. Second, that a woman should never take no for an answer. This was something I had to tell myself out loud every night for a very long time, as I was trying to have my music signed. I have walked into studios an enormous amount of times being asked whether I was a singer, because (of course) women working in the music industry are singers and not music producers. I told myself that no matter how many rejections I would experience, I would keep approaching new studios, and if they all rejected me, then I would just start my own music studio. To sum up, I think it is vital that women believe in their own abilities and never take no for an answer.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS:
A word to define yourself?
Your latest Bold moment?
- Making the video for ‘Dopamine’
An empowering quote?
- “Never take no for an answer”
An empowering book?
- “The Bold Women Guide” by Nicoline Roth and Mathilde Delonca.