The daughter of a guitar player and a pianist, Ksenia Valenti was born and raised next to the Sea of Japan in the tiny port town of Nakhodka, Russia – the Easternmost stop for passengers on the Trans-Siberian Railway.  It was her father who first introduced her to Queen’s classic record Bohemian Rhapsody, playing it loudly and on repeat in their household – her first experience with Western music and a memory that would forever change the course of her life.

Ksenia began performing at an early age, creating and directing her own shows for an audience full of family and friends during birthday parties and other celebrations. Prompted by her love of performing, she began studying classical piano at age 6, entering herself into local music competitions and beauty pageants by 13. Blown away by her sheer vocal power and charismatic performances, she went on to appear as a finalist on the national Russian television show, “Sing If You Can.” The competition made it clear that she could handle the intense pressure of a worldwide spotlight and solidified Ksenia as a rising star. The dedication she had to performing paid off when she was offered a full scholarship at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, where she was given the opportunity to hone her skills by performing across Russia.

A vigorous and focus student, Ksenia studied vocals, acting, and film training; preparing herself for her eventual arrival in the United States to chase her dreams of pop stardom. After trips to New York City, Las Vegas, and San Diego, it became clear where she belonged — The city of eternal sunshine, Los Angeles. It was a place she’d been inspired by as a child watching the popular television series, “Baywatch.”And the beginning of a whole new era in her career.

While wandering her new city in search of a place to land, she ran into Mario Marchetti, a kind soul offering her directions to a local motel, and by a stroke of luck, an accomplished music producer. This random street corner meeting became the first introduction that would launch Ksenia’s music career.

It wasn’t long before she was working alongside Marchetti and songwriter, Gino Barletta, crafting energetic, rhythmic pop records inspired by the ever changing narratives of her life. Her direction is clear on tracks like the powerful, cascading beauty of “Powerless,” where her vocals soar across an emotionally charged chorus. Or even the beat shattering intensity of “In The Night,” a song that proves her clear understanding of infectious pop music that refuses to be forgotten. Ksenia’s touchstone of writing emotionally impactful tracks that produce an ambient, club vibe is clear on every song she’s released. With each new track, it becomes more and more obvious that pop music is where she belongs.

Between writing and performing her own music, Ksenia continues to pursue her acting and musical endeavors elsewhere, sometimes even combining them. Her 2014 thesis project, the comedic musical “Mama Doesn’t Know Best,” featured her as a writer, actress, producer, and songwriter. Its critical impact was enough to bring it to the film festival circuit around the globe, honored as an official selection at the Playhouse West Film Festival, the Los Angeles Movie Award, Berlin Short Film Festival, and even the FilmQuest Film Festival where she was nominated for Best Actress.

Never one to tire of educating herself, she currently studies at UCB and participates in intensive acting training with Robert Davanzo. The stage calls to her in the form of stand up comedy as well, seeing her graduate from Pretty Funny Women and Ksenia is working on creating her own one woman show, “Russian Accent is Ruining My Career,” a performance that allows her to combined her love for acting, comedy and music. In October, Ksenia will begin work on her first feature film, “This Much,” which she co-wrote, co-produces, and stars as the lead. Until it’s release next year, you can see Ksenia on her weekly YouTube variety show, “Hello Ksenia.”

Music, however, remains her first love. She continues to write and perform throughout Los Angeles with her KGB Band (Ksenia’s Good Band), intoxicating audiences with her impressive vocal chops and hooky dance pop vibe. It’s clear that Ksenia possesses both the dedication and the talent to make her dream of pop superstardom, which manifested at such an early age, a most certain reality.

“I feel unleashed!” Ksenia reflects as she takes a look back at her journey from small town girl in Russia to the palm trees and bright lights of Hollywood. In a city where talent and creativity thrive, it still feels like she’s living a dream she never thought possible. These memories bring her back to that first time hearing Queen blasting throughout her living room. The lyrics reverberating through her mind as if she’s been carrying them inside her ever since, “Is this real life? Is this just a fantasy?”

And of course, these inspiring words from the legendary frontman himself,

“I always knew I was a star. And now the rest of the world seems to agree with me.”

– Freddie Mercury



Credit: David Walden & MUA: Kenye Hart