Thexele (Elena Selezneva) was born and raised in southern Russia. Since birth, Thexele gravitated towards art and all that is beautiful. Throughout her youth, she acted as a talented artist of the Russian Pop-Folk ensemble, and studied vocals and choreography. Later, she received a humanitarian education in the field of art. Thexele has a higher degree in education as a creative designer. Her debut single, “You’re Always On My Mind,” was released in November 2020. This was the start of Thexele as a recording artist. Her second record, “Forget Our Love” was officially released in July 2021. It was the first single where she acted as a songwriter. Before that, Thexele wrote entirely instrumental and piano music. Now she is continuing to work on her music development, as well as studying to get another higher degree diploma – as a sound designer.
Hi Thexele! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
This nickname was created about 9 years ago when I was just starting my career. I wanted to have something catchy and, at the same time, easy to remember. If we take a closer look, the nickname starts with “The” (an article) and then goes with a letter “x” – there was such a Russian film in my childhood. The main character was called Mr. X in the movie: he appeared on stage and played the violin, but hid his face behind a mask and, for everyone, he was a mysterious person. So “x” is a kind of mystery of my nature. My native name is Elena, and its first three letters provide the last part of the nickname: “ele”. This is how this pseudonym turned out, but I treat it like my own name.
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I was born and raised in Rostov-on-Don. This is a wonderful, warm city that I miss. Since for almost 10 years, I have been living in Thailand, on the island of Phuket.
Do you like living in Thailand and why?
Yes, my husband and I, generally, like it here. Warm climate and sea nearby, as well as fabulous landscapes and fresh food. I also like the local people. Thai people are very friendly and positive people. There are a lot of things in Thailand that are called paradises. I can’t say that it’s always easy to live here, but it’s like that in everything and everywhere. Over the years, I consider this piece of the planet my home.
What’s your favorite Thai food?
I like food of different national cuisines, but my favorite Thai food is fried rice with chicken and Thai coconut soup, “Tom Ka Gai.”
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
My background is very colorful, literally. I have several creative professions behind me and most of them were about common arts. On the other hand, my childhood was devoted precisely to the performing arts. I was the leading dancer in a choreographic ensemble from 7 to 16 years old, studied vocals, and sang in a choir. But, music has been my dream and passion since birth – (sighs) a passion that was beyond my reach… I started playing the piano at the age of three, my heart skipped a beat from the very sight of this instrument. Therefore, since we did not have it in the flat, I visited my neighbor’s house to play it. Of course, it couldn’t last long (laughs). Later, I began to write poetry on paper and music in my head without any instruments. I wrote a few songs in the Russian language back then, but at the time, I didn’t even know what music production was. I couldn’t even dream of it. I began to compose my music only when I was 16, when a first synthesizer was bought for me after I asked my parents to buy me any keyboard instrument. For various reasons, I never got to go to a music school though – the 90s were very difficult for my family.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
Absolutely! I am very grateful to my parents and everything that they put into me. My childhood, all the difficulties, and my entire life path led me to who I am today. I have always strived to complete every task perfectly, and I was used to earning love and attention of both my loved ones and other people around. But at some point, I burned out. That was a very difficult period of my life without understanding where I am going and what I really wanted. There was a time when I wasn’t dealing with music at all. It took years of creative research to decide to devote my life to music, and this is truly happening right now!
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
My sound is as versatile as I am. In general, I characterize all my music as sincere, coming from my soul. I have both light compositions, mystical, sad, and deep ones. Recently, I have switched my attention to songs in the style of Adult Contemporary and Indie Pop.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
It seems to me that everything I do can be called a hobby because if you do not like what you are doing, then it doesn’t make any sense to keep going this direction, which is why I sometimes leave a specific type of activity forever or return to it after years. I am engaged in photography, and this is also one of my creative professions to which I have been dedicated and where I continue to devote myself. I still love dancing, so before the Covid situation, I had taught fitness/dance lessons. In addition to my creative career, I am a mother and wife.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
As a child of the 90s and teenager of the 2000s, I listened to music of artists popular at the time for hours. There were so many of them! The biggest influences on me were Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Spice Girls, Enya, Avril Lavigne, and Alicia Keys. Also, I’m influenced by artists from the 80s such as the Bangles and, of course, by the songs of that era from Russian Pop and Rock culture. There are a lot. Today, I listen to a lot of new music every day. Besides Indie Pop, I am inspired by genres such as Synth-Pop, Trip Hop, Soul, and R&B.
What are some of your future music career goals?
My biggest goal and purpose is to leave behind a valuable contribution to art, which will live and speak after me. People are mortal – the fruits of creativity can live forever.
Now onto your release, “Forget Our Love.” What inspired this song?
I am always inspired by my own relationships with my partner, other people, and my life experiences. At the time of writing the song, there was a crisis in my own relationship with a partner, but, nevertheless, I hoped that everything would work out. Therefore, the song also turned out to be sad, but this sadness is permeated with hope and, of course, love.
What is “Forget Our Love” about in your own words?
The lyrics reflect the feelings of the heroine, her doubts, hopes, bright sadness, and the pain of parting. Yes, this, of course, describes a romantic relationship and doing so is a creative technique to convey the essence to the listener: can you truly forget the person you loved, and should you even try?
What is your favorite lyric in “Forget Our Love” and why?
I love the chorus because it was with the chorus that this song was born. This is the most romantic and, at the same time, the saddest moment that talks about the pain of the heroine. That even the beauties of nature are not able to drown out this pain.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Forget Our Love?”
Your feelings, events, people around – everything is contradictory. But, I believe that only the best should be remembered and the bad should be forgotten. Therefore, the last phrase in the song is “please don’t forget our love.” The funny thing is that this phrase appeared only during the recording process in the studio. Initially, it wasn’t planned. There was just the guitar solo at the end, but this is a miracle of the creative process. When we recorded this last phrase, I got the feeling that this was it, this is what this sad song was missing.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
Oh, (laughs) I don’t have any music awards like Billie Eilish or Taylor Swift, but I can already be proud of my experience and, in general, that today I have an opportunity to make music and sing. It’s really cool that my favorite karaoke application, Smule, supports me by introducing me as their rising artist from this year. I am also proud that now I can support other musicians on my blog – https://thexele.com/music-blog – and as a music curator on Spotify. Also, by the way, I’m very proud of today’s interview. It’s a great honor for me!
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
My lesson is this – these days a lot depends on you. Luck is important too, but you will never catch it if you don’t try.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
I don’t have specific dates. Do you remember what the “x” in my name means? (laughs). Now, I am accumulating my energy and material for a future EP and, I hope, the first Pop album. I’m also thinking about rereleasing my instrumental compositions by combining their remastered versions into an album. Also, a video for the debut song is coming. I’m planning to release it early next year.
Where can we follow you on social media?
Thank you so much, it was big pleasure!
The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for the great interview, Thexele!