It’s 2012 and long overdue for someone to smack Pop Music across the face and tell her to pull herself together. Luckily for America, the ferociously talented and good hearted divas from XELLE (pronounced ex-ELLE) have stepped up to the plate by serving up a healthy dose of glitz, glamour, and vocals that could rival pop icons past and present. Their passion for great music aside, the group is adamant in their campaign to dispel the rumors that you must conform to a specific mold to achieve your dreams – whether it’s your size, age, sexual orientation, or even your penchant for gender-bending. As the first music group to consist of two girls and a drag queen (Mimi Imfurst of "RuPaul’s Drag Race"), they really represent girl power for a new generation with "something extra."
Even though the concept may sound like a novelty, their music and message are anything but. The music video for their first single – last year’s catchy dance/pop sleeper hit "Party Girl" – reached a whopping 330,000 YouTube views and XELLE has since racked up 1,200 Facebook Fans, 5,300 Twitter followers and an appearance on Oxygen’s "Jersey Couture." Proceeds from the latest empowering single "Invincible" will benefit GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) – an organization for students, parents and teachers striving for positive change in schools nationwide – and fans can expect their debut full length release later this year.
1. Who or what inspired you to become performers? We've all been performing since before we could remember. Each one of us has experience with multiple disciplines, from singing to acting to instrumental music to songwriting and beyond, and being in XELLE is a great way to be able to express all of our creativity. As far as other artists we find inspiring, we're big fans of ABBA, Queen, Grace Jones, Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and all the fabulous girl groups who've come before us.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? That's a long list! There are so many artists out there doing incredible work. If we could get ABBA to reunite, touring with them would be pretty great. It would be fun to do a ridiculously huge collaboration of some kind with the Spice Girls, TLC, Destiny's Child, the Black Eyed Peas and the Scissor Sisters. We'll make some calls...
3. I read you met one random night doing Karaoke in Manhattan. Looking back, what memory evokes for you on that now magical night? What was your first impression of each other? That was such a fun night. We just remember how everything magically clicked with us on stage. We all loved each others' voices and energy and style, and singing together was a blast from moment one.
4. What do you feel each of you bring to XELLE that you don't bring to your solo work? XELLE is definitely a project that is greater than the sum of its parts, but it's also something that's born out of parts of each of us. XELLE would be a completely different group with a completely different sound and aesthetic if any one of us weren't in it. Each of us brings her own flavor to the group, just like we did in our solo work, but when those different flavors combine, it's something none of us could do alone.
5. Your latest single is "Invincible," is a song about equality. What made you want to record this song and how did you come up with the video concept? We've been so lucky and had so many great achievements this past year, and it's largely due to the incredible support of the LGBT community, which is where we come from. We wanted to give something back to everyone who has supported us by giving our fans an empowerment anthem that could both lift them up and make them dance. And we wanted to partner with the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network and donate the proceeds from sales of Invincible to GLSEN in order to support their incredible work. GLSEN strives to provide safe school environments for students and faculty across the nation, and that's a mission we really believe in. The video concept was inspired by all the "It Gets Better" videos and testimonials of bullying on YouTube. We thought it could be really powerful to combine such an upbeat, inspiring song with moving footage of people telling their stories and fighting for acceptance and love. The response to the video so far has been incredible, and we're so glad people like it so much. Our producer, Zach Adam, who also directed the Invincible video, did a great job.
6. Your first single, "Party Girl" tore up the internet and had the video filmed, in one take, on a moving NYC subway, with no permit. I thought it was a well made and smart video. What made you want to film it on a moving NYC subway? Thanks! We wanted to make a video that would introduce us to the world in the right way and do justice to such a fun song, as well as get people talking. The video is an homage to the outlaw parties of the 90's in NYC, which took place in unauthorized public spaces just for the fun of it. We thought it would be fun to take 40 friends on the subway and throw a party on a moving train, and it's still one of our favorite things that we've done. We're always challenging ourselves to do daring, impressive, and fun projects, and the Party Girl video was definitely that.
7. What do you think you bring to the music industry that other girl groups have not? Traditionally, there has been a strong kinship as well as a divide between the communities of women and gay men. We've seen the pop girl group with its legions of gay male fans many times, but those two worlds hadn't yet been joined together before XELLE. We're girl power for a new generation because we've got something for everyone. Also, the fact that we come straight from the NYC nightlife world and that we produce all of our content in-house with our producer, Zach Adam, gives us an edge and a creative freedom to cross boundaries that other groups don't have.
8. What have you learned about yourselves from working together and from being peroformers? We all came to this group straight from being the masters of each of our own universes, so we each definitely had to adjust to working as part of a team, but we're really glad we did, because we all believe that this group is bigger than any one of us. We are constantly inspired to do everything bigger and better by our fans, who tell us we've given them hope, or made them feel better, or inspired them to go after their dreams. We've each learned that together, we can achieve great things, because we've seen it happen even in the short time we've been together.
9. What's the best advice you've ever received? It may sound cliche, but success in life really is all about believing in yourself, working hard, and never giving up. Once you know what your dream is, work tirelessly to achieve it and you can get where you want to go.
10. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? Ooh, good question! JC would probably dream about Jared Leto's hair. Mimi would dream about Bette Midler, and Rony would dream about Gerard Butler, and his Scottish accent.
11. Favorite way to spend your day off either together or separately? Together, it would probably be shopping for XELLE outfits. Separately, Rony would probably still go shopping, and end the day with a cocktail in hand. JC would go to the beach all day, then a dance club all night. Mimi would watch "Beaches" again and again and again.
12. Favorite skin care product? We love everything Olay. Have you tried their night cream? So good! Rich, but not heavy. Perfect for skin rehab after stage make-up!