Interview with Ksenia Valenti

Russian born pop artist Ksenia released her latest single from her upcoming album, an electrifying dance track named Locked in the Dream. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her sound and her music.

1. For the benefit of my readers who may not know much about you, can you tell us about your sound and something about yourself?
I am Ksenia Valenti! The fake Italian. Singer, actor, comedian. Yes I know it’s too much to pursue, but my main focus has always been music. I love pop music and I love mainstream music that’s on the radio, music that everyone knows, music that makes you want to jump up and dance. My sound is very much influenced by American pop music, but I remain unique to my own pop sound with a little Russian flavour.

2. Has music always been something you’ve wanted to do?
From an early age I was around music, my mom was a music teacher, my dad sang and played guitar. My parents enrolled me in music school without asking me if this was something I wanted to do. I would sing all the time and anytime I had the chance to perform. I would! Music was always something I wanted to do. I have been singing all of my life and now I am in Los Angeles releasing an album soon. I was just thinking the other day, how surreal it is for me, coming from a small town in Russia. 6 years ago I could only dream about living in Los Angeles. I randomly met my producer on a street and ended up working with him creating my favourite kind of music. I feel the universe responds to your wishes, if you put it out there and always dream big!

3. Tell me about your new single ‘Locked in the Dream’. What was your aim for the track?
I love this song! I was going to through a terrible break up and needed to get some stuff out. Everyone though a ballad would best capture my emotions, but to me Locked in the Dream has lots of emotion, especially on these trance breaks. I also believe this song is extremely danceable.

4. I’ve noticed you do covers of popular songs, how do you approach a track to make it your own?
My approach is simple, if it’s a fast song I’ll slow it down, if it’s a slow song I’ll speed it up. I like to change up the melody and lyrics up a little bit. I also like singing songs by male vocalists.

5. Lastly, do you have any projects you’re working on? Is there an album in the works?
Yes, I released three singles this year. Planning on releasing the whole album at the beginning of 2017! The new songs I am working on at the moment will be much different from this upcoming album. That’s all I will say! I also just shot some music videos for the songs Locked in the Dream and Powerless I am excited to be releasing them too!

Check out her Facebook and Soundcloud

Also if you’d like to know more about her latest single, read my review

Locked in the Dream by Ksenia Valenti Review

Released in early March, Locked in the Dream is the third single from Ksenia Valenti’s upcoming album. The singer herself is a very talented vocalist, songwriter, actor and comedian who competed in the Russian reality show Sing If You Can. Citing one of her earliest musical memories as hearing Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, it’s fair to say I had high hopes for the song and her vocals.

On my first listening, the musical aspect that stuck out to me was the electronic melodious part just after the chorus. It sounded slightly creepy but fit in with the subject of dreams that’s explored in the lyrics. I liked how it followed the familiar formula of a dance track, with the first half of the chorus using less layers than the latter half as well as a build up to a climax in the third verse. Although, I did expect a bigger climax which would have made the track more pleasing. I also think the song could have ended straight after Ksenia stopped singing. It would have made more of an impact, which in a primarily dance track is ideal.

When it came to Ksenia’s vocals I found that her voice has an absolutely classic pop sound. It was clear that she had very good vocal training; her tone was well supported and I didn’t hear one pitchy note. In fact, on the word ‘can’t’ in the lyrics ‘I keep you locked in a dream because you and I just can’t move in’ she changed into her higher register smoothly and seemingly without effort. My only issue with the vocal delivery was in the third verse on the repetition of ‘waking up in the night because I hear the music’. The first time Ksenia sings the lyric it’s fairly low, so I think the repetition could have been an octave higher. This would have contributed to the build up and climax that I discussed previously.

Overall, I think this track is catchy and worthy of a ranking on the dance charts. There were a few little things that could have improved the song, but it was well written, sung and produced. I give it 9/10.

Check out her SoundcloudFacebook Page and her Website

Find out more about Ksenia in my interview with her

Genesis by Aaalyssa DeBoer EP Review

Minimal House artist Aaalyssa DeBoer released her latest EP Genesis on the 27th of August. Although there are only four tracks included, she uses that time to show her increasing talent in the field. Especially in the middle two tracks, it is obvious that she has been honing her skills, with very smooth transitioning and amicable stylistic choices. 

The first track, entitled Genesis, employed the use of a dampened beat. I would have liked it better if that beat was used throughout the track rather than in certain sections. What would have also improved the song is if the dampened beat faded out of into a connected section. Aurora Trailing was had a much smoother sound, with interesting layers that sounded almost contrapuntal. The constant beat was also helpful in orientating oneself in the song. My only criticism of this track was that it faded out too quickly in the final few seconds. A more gradual decrescendo or a continuation of the basic beat into the next song would have been easier on the ears.

I was very impressed by the seamless fluidity in which the melody transitioned from a piano sound to an electronic sound in This Is Not Reality. As the track had a subtle beat rather than a driving one, I think this song in particular would have benefitted from a loud, celebratory climactic section. In Blue Jets and Red Sprites I was quite surprised to find myself listening to a bit of a swing beat. In techno music, the main focus is keeping a steady beat. When a rhythm is swung it feels like it lags behind the beat; because of this I wasn’t sure whether Aaalyssa’s endeavour would work. However, I was pleased to hear that it worked exceptionally well, the only negative thing about it was that it wasn’t in the forefront enough for my liking. 

Although the EP gets off to a bit of a slow start, it is clear that Aaalyssa has creativeness and talent. It would have been nice to hear at least one or two big climaxes and a few of the sound choices could have been better, but she shows promise. I give it 7/10. 

Check out my interview with Aaalyssa here