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Less Than Zero: An Interview with ZouZou Mansour from Soraia + Album Release Show this Friday at Milkboy!!!!

30 Sep

Soraia Instagram

Back in January, I heard a song on Little Steven’s Underground Garage that rocked so hard I stayed in the car until it was over even though I arrived at my destination. I took a picture of the band’s name to remember to look it up later, somewhat ashamed. How have I never heard of this badass babe from the 70s named Soraia covering The Kinks song “(I’m Not) Like Everybody Else”? To my surprise, when I googled the musician, it turned out to be a band, and a current one, from my hometown of Philadelphia. I immediately found out who was singing and reached out to ZouZou Mansour the powerful, earth-goddess vocal machine who sounds like she’s from another time. We soon met at a coffee shop for an interview. I wanted to know everything about her life and her band, and I was pleasantly surprised at how raw, honest, and open she was. ZouZou’s story not only moved me, but it ignited the fire and passion I have for music talking to such a strong, influential woman in the industry.

In honor of Soraia’s album release show and music video shoot at Milkboy in Philly this Friday, I am releasing our interview in three parts over the course of this week. Read part one below and buy your tickets to this Friday’s show and music video shoot now here! Tickets are only $10 and with The Good Excuses and The Droogettes opening, you do not want to miss this epic night of pure rock’n’roll.

Soraia TBird and ZZ (Beth)

“I grew up in an upper middle class family. My father was Egyptian and my mother was Belgian, so they were both from other countries. I remember very early having the idea that I couldn’t tell people about my family life because it was very secretive. There was a lot of domestic abuse, a lot of yelling, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of adjusting to people’s moods from an early age and sensing people’s moods. Which I think helps me- it’s a gift and a curse. You know, because in relationships- not so good, in music- great. It’s a good way to work with an audience and change their mood. But several suicide attempts as a young person, just feeling hopeless, and never really telling anyone about them. But I remember when I found music: it saved my life. It absolutely saved my life so many times. No matter what happened or what was going on at home, this all happened through high school into when my mother died. I was seventeen. Music was my way of detaching from the pain of watching people I love self destruct. I always had this feeling that I could control them in some way and fix them. Music was the one thing that I did for myself that I found joy and solace in and always gave me a sense of hope. So music to me is something I not only honor, but I always hear Joan Jett say, ‘it’s like a religion’. For not many people it is, but for me it’s absolutely a religion. It’s the one thing that made me feel safe, made me feel joy, made me feel every mood that I would squelch in every other way. You know, songs have done that for me.”


“I’ve always been attracted to female artists more so, even though I listened to a lot of male artists I was always a fan of songs more than bands. Though in high school I was very attracted to a certain type of band. I loved raw bands. I loved melody. It’s like what I liked hearing was the opposite of what I liked seeing musically. I loved melody. I loved melody (she emphasizes). I loved stories. I loved all genres. I just loved songs. There wasn’t many artists I didn’t like growing up. I did listen to popular radio I would say until…I remember Nirvana being so big at one point and all those bands of that ’92, ’93, ’94 period being such a big influence on me. Because it was so different than what had come before it and I remember just thinking, ‘I found something that spoke to me’. There were so many great female fronted acts like The Breeders at the time, the song “Cannonball” I’ll never forget that song. Just great music in the early to mid 90s and that’s kind of been my biggest influence on my writing and on me getting in touch with a lot of things that are darker inside and accepting those parts. I don’t have to be happy all the time. Its okay. But I never really thought of music as a career except I always was a drummer. In high school I started an all girl band and it was ‘we were going to be famous, we were going to be huge’ we just learned cover songs constantly. I played drums because I wanted to be a singer, but I had this belief which I thought you were either born to sing or you weren’t. My voice was so masculine was so low, that in my high school it was considered not a very good voice. I don’t know if that message was said to me or if I just thought that because all the girls who got the parts had those ‘high voices’, she sings out before joking, “I can’t even reach that note. So I thought well I’m never going to be a singer but I still want to be in music so I’ll play drums, I loved playing drums. That’s how I started out and it was until a birthday I had I remember I was playing drums for a band and that’s when I started singing because their singer didn’t show up. So I just jumped.”


“Growing up music always gave me comfort, but there was a period where I got really lost after my mother died. At 17, I made a conscience decision the day of her funeral that I was going to stop doing the right thing and doing anything good and if there was a god in the world it wanted nothing to do with me. So I was going to do everything to destroy my own life. It was a very conscience decision on my part to pick up drugs and alcohol. When I picked up I picked up hardcore. I didn’t pick up and dabble. I wasn’t there to experiment. I was there to get lost. Because I felt so much. Most artists feel very deeply and most humans do but especially artists. I think they tend to feel weird about their [sensitivity], because it’s not the common sensitivity. It’s hard to deal with life on life’s terms often, but at that point I didn’t want to feel anything because everything I felt was pain. So drugs and alcohol helped me to squelch that. But it also led me down a lot of bad roads. That part of wanting to die and everything, I felt bad and it kept following me around. The people I got involved with and the things that happened to me have made me into the singer I am today. It’s a blessing, first of all that I survived it, and second of all, I have a message, and it’s a strong one. I think it comes through when people hear my voice, they hear it and they’re either attracted to it or repelled by it,” she laughs. “Hopefully attracted to it and it’s just a deeper [meaning] when you go through stuff. That’s why I that lotus. It grows through mud and becomes beautiful. I feel like you can take anything that happened and make it into beauty.”

Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Soraia tomorrow and listen to a new track from their upcoming record Less Than Zero “Radio Sister” below.

Come out to Milkboy this Friday for Soraia’s Less Than Zero record release show with The Good Excuses and The Droogettes opening at 8:30 PM. Tickets are $10 and you can get them here.

xx Cher

For more new music follow mylifeinsound on Facebook and Twitter!

late night listen: Oh Wonder “Heart Hope”

22 Sep
Listen to UK duo Oh Wonder's gorgeous new track "Heart Hope" now!

Listen to UK duo Oh Wonder’s gorgeous new track “Heart Hope” now!

The UK duo Oh Wonder are at it again, releasing a gorgeous new single “Heart Hope” to sing you into the sweetest dreams. Oh Wonder has been sending me tune after stunning tune this year and I could not be more excited for the world to hear their debut album out now. If you don’t already have your copy, download the new album now via CD/Vinyl or iTunes now!

Listen to “Heart Hope” and watch the new music video for one of my favorite Oh Wonder tracks “Drive” below:

xx Cher

For more new music follow mylifeinsound on Facebook and Twitter!

late night listen: PAULi “i DON’T CARE”

21 Sep
Listen to the new track from PAULi "i DON'T CARE" now!

Listen to the new track from PAULi “i DON’T CARE” now!

I am so stoked to hear new music from one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever met, PAULi. The London-born NYC-based artist just released his new track “i DON’T CARE” and to say it lightly, I’m obsessed. I may or may not be responsible for 2,000 out of 2,631 of the new music video’s views. The epic new video was directed by Rohan Blair-Mangat and you can try to catch up with me by watching it below now!

To keep up with new music from PAULi follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud!

xx Cher

For more new music follow mylifeinsound on Facebook and Twitter!

morning jam: Society “Protocol”

26 Aug


Kick off your Wednesday with this new jam “Protocol” by London’s Society. The epic new track is available for download now on iTunes with a new music video on the way soon. Get your copy now here!

Like what you hear? Follow Society on Facebook here!

xx Cher

morning jam: Day Wave “Drag” + ‘Headcase’ EP

18 Aug
We can't get enough of the new EP by Day Wave Headcase available new on iTunes.

We can’t get enough of the new EP by Day Wave Headcase available new on iTunes.

California-based Jackson Phillips who makes music under his project Day Wave, hit us with his one-two punch of music in the form of his singles “Drag” and “Total Zombie”. Now, he’s knocked us out completely with his Headcase EP.

“Drag” is a song that I’ve listened to basically on repeat ever since I first heard the track. Guess what? I’m still not sick of it. I might listen to it on repeat for another five hours now. The song is warm, nostalgic, lonely and uplifting all at once.

This theme is present throughout the rest of the EP and is definitely what makes it special. With self-deprecating lyrics and upbeat dream pop instrumentals the EP is fit for your next favorite indie movie soundtrack. Listen to the EP below and buy your copy now via iTunes here.

Day Wave is playing a show at Mercury Lounge in NYC tomorrow night! Tickets are only $10 and you should get yours now here. The show starts at 6:30 make sure you get there on time to see any opening acts, they could be your next favorite band.

Find more tickets and tour information for Day Wave by following him on Songkick!

xx Cher

morning jam: Darwin Deez “Time Machine”

13 Aug
Darwin Deez, just released a new single "Time Machine" to usher in his next album Double Down due out September 18th.

Darwin Deez, just released a new single “Time Machine” to usher in his next album Double Down due out September 18th.

One of my favorite artists, Darwin Deez, just released a new single “Time Machine” to usher in his next album Double Down due out September 18th.

“Time Machine” is an imaginative, explosive new pop track you will want to listen to on repeat. This windows down, radio up jam will make you dance and sing along at the top of your lungs.

Double Down (due out September 18th) is available for pre-order now on signed CD and LP via the Darwin Deez store and iTunes download. Pre-order your copy now and listen to the new track below!

xx Cher

morning jam: Amateur Best “Marzipan”

12 Aug

Amateur Best’s new single “Marzipan” is taken from his upcoming sophomore album The Gleaners due out October 2nd on Brille Records.

Dance your way through Wednesday listening to Amateur Best‘s new single “Marzipan”. The track is taken from his upcoming sophomore album The Gleaners due out October 2nd on Brille Records.

Amateur Best is the alias of Joe Flory, a Birmingham-based pop musician, songwriter and producer. If this track didn’t have you dancing enough, Amateur Best released a version of “Marzipan” remixed by disco and dance producer Ray Mang. Listen to both tracks below now!

xx Cher


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