Chicago-based duo DRAMA is a collaboration between chic producer Na’el Shehade and soulful vocalist Via Rosa. They’ve been selling out shows in the UK recently and their debut album, ‘Dance Without Me’ is out today. We spoke to them as they were in the studio working on a DJ set for their album release party.
So, how did it all start? “Na’el had been working with different artists and was just kind of tired of bouncing through different people that weren’t really taking music serious or weren’t taking him serious. A friend of his was like ‘Why don’t you release your own music?’ and he was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know’ and then we started making music together and another friend of his was like, ‘You should start a band’ and the next thing you know, Na’el was starting a band and he invited me to be in the band”, Via Rosa tells us.
Their current single, ‘Nine One One’, is intoxicating and blends genres. “That one, at the time, my friend was going through a break-up and she is known for getting really, really sad and doings that she probably shouldn’t be doing,” Via Rose explains. “So, it was kind of like talking to her and creating a ‘phone call from God’ situation, where it was a little reminder not to do anything just because you feel really bad right now or you feel like your world is falling apart.
She continues: “The second verse was actually dedicated to Na’el who was dealing with ex-business partners who were being really nasty and saying really mean things and who, in the public’s eye, you would say is very successful. So it’s watching these people who are not good people become successful and there’s really nothing you can do about it.”
Having so much support from fans so early in their career is really exciting. “Man, it feels crazy. Sometimes you can’t really believe that it’s happening. I remember, S.G. Lewis, I saw him say something on that and he was like, ‘Every night I just prepare for nobody to be in the crowd so that when I walk on stage, even if I see ten people, I’m like ‘Yay! Somebody’s still out’’ so it’s like, ‘Are there really 1,100 people waiting for us to walk out on stage right now? Nooo. there’s nobody. And then you walk out there and everyone’s freaking out, like ‘Oh my Gosh’. It’s amazing, actually.
She starts to chuckle, then adds: “A lot of people spend their whole lives trying to get people to show up for their shows and here we are early on in the game, not too early on in the game (we’ve been making music for a long time but ‘early’ as a duo I guess) just killing it! (laughs)”
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Words: Narzra Ahmed
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