interview: Nia Lexo releases a lush debut album inspired by Sailor Moon called ‘THE SENSHI’

"I came here from a distant galaxy to spread my music and make you feel, dance and dream!"
4 May 2023

Nia Lexo is a brilliant solo artist and songwriter, offering up a truly remarkable 8track-album entitled THE SENSHI. It’s a mesmerizing blend of sounds and layers, creating an enchantment that stands out amongst the rest.

THE SENSHI is drawing from 90s Anime classic, Sailor Moon – which was something Nia loved growing up.

Music by MJ, Madge, Janet, Britney, Gaga, Roxette, Bon Jovi and Mariah have been major inspirations for her. Nia put together this project in a remarkable way, taking inspiration from Sailor Moon and Mikhail Vrubel‘s artwork. Every detail she has incorporated is just right!

The story of THE SENSHI is fascinating and immerses you in Nia‘s journey to discover a new world. It shows how she tries to be perceived as a brave warrior while dealing with her own emotions and vulnerabilities. That’s part of her struggle to reconcile those two things.

The album has a sound reminiscent of Janet Jackson’s 90’s vibe, as well as Rina Sawayama’s signature musical style. It took about 6 months to write, record and produce the project, between August 2022 and February 2023.

She went to Yerevan, Armenia, to record the album at the studio ‘The House of Musicians’, and it couldn’t have been a better option. Nia‘s debut album ‘THE SENSHI’ is a must-hear for any Alt/Dance Pop fan and a true showcase of her outstanding talent.

We recently had a stimulating conversation with this mysterious and bewitching artist…

Hey Nia, what’s on your mind?

Hi there! It’s Nia Lexo, I came here from a distant galaxy to spread my music and make you feel, dance and dream! My first album is out and I am so thrilled in the very beginning of my solo music journey. Here on Earth I’m looking for my “senshies” who will share my vibes and spread the word of beauty and music!

THE SENSHI, tell us everything we should know about it

“The Senshi” means “the warrior” in Japanese. It’s how I feel right now. Because I had to quit everything to find my inner courage and bravery to finally realize that I DO wanna be a musician, an artist…A solo one. I’m not 16 when young music wonders usually begin their journey…Or not 24 with red carpets, Grammys and platinum albums. I am at the point where I can begin with all my experience, wisdom, vision and ideas and no one will pursue me to this or that. I know what I want and I’m ready to stand for that: spread my art, music, beauty, love and inspiration! Also I do love the idea of “Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon” – “The beautiful warrior Sailor Moon”. I stick to those visual and musical vibes throughout the album (and my life, to be honest ahaha). So that is how the name of the album (or who knows, the idea for the whole further image) was born.

Talk me through the thought process of the album? 

OMG, I’m just like all those musicians “oh, it all comes from above”, ahaha. Well, it really does. Usually I see the whole concept of the track, writing down the lyrics on a random piece of paper, then mumbling the melody which I’ll recreate later with Ableton. Moreover, at the very beginning I see all the visuals for the video, to complete the message of the song. I imagine how I would perform it on stage. I love this process. I’m always so excited about new music and visuals! It makes me happy! I have always been into creating my own worlds, stories and mysteries. Pure magic!

Which version of Sailor Moon should we watch to get a grasp of your point of view and the motivation behind THE SENSHI? The uncut version for adults or the edited and dubbed versions for tweens?

Oh, it’s definitely the 90’s anime. I grew up where we all watched the uncensored version and television was pretty much free, sassy, full of experiments. Especially for the teenage segment. Sailor Moon was huge back then! I fell in love right from the first episode… The style, drawing, music, and an idea of beautiful warrior-girls was so unique for me. It stole my heart forever! Sailor Mars and Outer Senshies were my favorite characters! I admire the contrast between careless and goofy moments and true drama, death fights, broken hearts, loneliness…All in the same series! I loved these kinda “sad beauty” things even when I was a kid. That’s why I always preferred fairytales by H. K. Andersen to Disney with all their sadness and beauty. Or maybe I am just a drama queen hahhaaha 

You started as a dancer back in the 2010’s and starred as a dance team member & back up dancer for some local singers in St.Petersburg. Was that when you realised that you have what it takes to make it as a musician?

No, it was much earlier, when I started to listen to music, watch MTV, when I saw videos and live shows of Michael Jackson, Britney, Madonna… I was 8 or 10… I thought “WOOOW, secretly I wanna be them”. “Secretly” because I knew that SUCH success and talent is SO unique so I would never gonna be in that league ahaha. 

I passed the basic exam to a local music school to learn jazz vocal, but as we had been moving from place to place with my family, I always had to leave my friends behind and meet new people. It is really traumatic to a child. I decided that I don’t wanna visit a new music school, ‘cause I don’t have my inner energy to adapt even there. I was a shy teen. So I quit. But always create album covers, eras concepts, melodies and lyrics in my head. Such a nerd ahaha. Long story short, later on I started to learn hip hop and jazz funk choreography, and that was really successful. The feeling of being on stage with my team is ohhhhhh I can’t describe. I was drunk from that feeling. Dancing is one of the greatest things in the world! But yet it couldn’t feed my artistic appetite. And only one deep depression episode during the 2020 lockdown made me realize that I have one life only. And my younger self will never forgive that I have never even tried to make music…

After you graduated from University of Culture and Arts, you got a pretty amazing job at a promotion company as a backstage manager for Northern European tours of famous singers like Sarah Brightman, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Monroe etc. What did you take away from that experience?

I’ve learnt that I have my strong personal borders as an employee and as a young woman. Tour life is completely not like in the rock ‘n roll movies (thank god, ahaha). It’s even boring from time to time and extremely stressful for managers. Big musicians are usually friendly and humble, while their managers may be the pain in the ass. Sometimes it’s the opposite. That was the point when I started to travel more, meet people from other countries and cultures… And I realized that we may differ, but at the same time we all want lots of basic things: safety, someone we may trust and laugh with, someone to make a good business with… And music! People love music everywhere! It’s not a cliche. It’s the greatest power of uniting! But if you want to put away all the romance, that was a really stressful and interesting experience with a low salary. Although I still have A LOT of funny backstage stories, we may leave them for other interviews. And I don’t like gossip.

Where do you think your music fits in today’s world?

I’m not like most radio rotation stuff. I am stuck between experiments and the bitter sweet nostalgic mood of the 90’s and 00’s dance pop and rock. And I see the tendency of artists to play with it, too. This aesthetic is huge now. And I loved this vibe way before it became mainstream! I’m looking for people who wanna follow me and dive deep into the magic cosmic world of mysterious Nia Lexo!

What are your plans for the rest of this year?

To promote the album! I’m going to make 3 more music videos, definitely arrange some live gigs and continue to upgrade my PR and SMM skills. Then closer to November I’ll make some new music material. I already have some ideas. I’m an indie artist, so we should do EVERYTHING by ourselves to reach the audience and succeed. Appreciate that and support your musician friends, people! P.S. Oh, I’m gonna see Madonna’s live show in Berlin! Excited!

If you could tour with any musicians, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

First of all, Michael Jackson! I would die for that! He is such an incredible artist. Vibrant person with that right combination of mystery, amazing recognizable vocal, perfect stage image, hypnotizing moves as well as kind and important message to the audience. He will always be my no.1 inspiration! At least I used to work with some people who worked with him and shared some really nice stories about that!

Alive: Lady Gaga. Brave, powerful and talented. Rina Sawayama. Unique and close to my music vision. Janet Jackson. Icon! Britney. To make my teenage dream come true. Professional. Love her! Backstreet Boys. I just wanna jam and dance with them on stage and have the time of my life singing along with AJ McLean (what a vocalist, y’all! Underrated!)

10. If you had to describe your sound in three words what would they be?