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Less Than Zero: An Interview with ZouZou Mansour from Soraia Part II + Show At Milkboy Tomorrow!!!

1 Oct

Soraia TBird and ZZ (Beth)

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 two 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. Didn’t read Part I yet? Click here.

Soraia Instagram

“I went to jail once. I was arrested on my 21st birthday. I remember that the woman that was checking my hair was checking my hair for drugs. She said, “Honey look I”m really going to have to mess up your hair, mess up your clothes, I am really sorry,”. She was apologizing to me and I’ll never forget that because I got this sense that I didn’t belong in the life I was living. I didn’t think I was better than or worse than, I knew I didn’t belong there. That wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing with my life, and I had that feeling the whole time. I didn’t understand with all the suicide attempts…I’d be like why don’t you just take me? Just take me. I think there was a point where I was living with a dealer and his girlfriend. She’s dead now, most of the people I used with are dead. Where I was shooting and I had one day away from them but they’re so paranoid that they thought I went to the cops or something and they started beating me up and I knew I was going to get killed and I jumped out of a window and ran.”

Throwback Thursday photo instagram and fb-002

“I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay there and keep using and keep- you know, I lived to use. I didn’t live for any other reason, but something in me pulled me out of it that was bigger than me and got me out the window and I didn’t stop running. That moment I knew that there was something. I had to stop at some point but I couldn’t imagine not doing it. I continued for a while after that but it was never the same. Finally, I did go to rehab. I did relapse after that and then I got sober. I’m clean and sober a while now but it took a few tries for me. But that moment when my body did what my mind didn’t want to do I knew there was something- that all those thoughts of I don;t belong here I shouldn’t be doing this, there’s something more for me kind of came to fruition slowly but there wasn’t one epiphany, there was just a bunch of small ones. My drinking and drugging career didn’t last long, it didn’t last long at all. It didn’t have to. But it was enough. As soon as I got sober I went back to school and it took two and a half years to finish college because I was an overachiever in everything…I was an addict in everything. I went right to teaching and I taught for a few years. In the second year I knew I wanted to be a singer because I started singing. I knew I wanted to do that full time. A friend of mine said to me you can be an old teacher but you can’t be an old rocknroller, so if you want it go after it. Which is not true, but I needed to hear it at the time. So I quit my job and put a band together and eighteen drummers later,” she laughs manically, “I’m still in the same band. With everyone different except one guy. Basically the songwriters stayed, I stayed. It’s built around that energy. People come and go but it’s a good group that I have now.”


“The last record Soraia Lives was a reaction to the record before, called In the Valley of Love and Guns. That record took about three years to make. Not because anyone in the band wanted it to take that long. But at that point we were getting the help of really big people like Jon Bon Jovi helped us. This guy Billy Falcon, I co-wrote with them great songs, great songs. We were in the studio all the time, but I was just looking at something today we had like 20 or 30 vocal takes on each track, it was crazy. More than that, but it was a really long process. At the end of it there were a lot of promises. Just not from anybody in particular but a lot of promise for that record. The promise that we thought it was going to have didn’t come through. So we kind of sarcastically called the next record Soraia Lives because we should have been dead a long time ago,” She laughs. “Same thing in my life. We thought b-movie kind of thing because we loved that stuff. We did a live show in November of 2013 in New York City at The Bitter End. Little Steven Van Zandt and his wife came to our show because they loved “Voodoo” off the last record.”

“They loved the show and Steven said, “Let me work with the band on your live show”. So we went into his studio just for three sessions and changed some things we didn’t like about the songs, added some parts, took some songs out, and ended with a live set of really great songs that were really Soraia. They weren’t trying to sound like anything but us. It fit our live show, everything we did. So we decided last summer to record them, with the new songs we were coming up with. We started following what we decided to do without this thought of writing a song for an audience, we just did what came to us. Very poetic kind of stuff and some stuff very song oriented and we went in and we already had the songs down. So we went into the studio and recorded them. Didn’t take long, maybe two or three days to do ten songs. We recorded in Philly, we consciously decided to go to a studio that was- we just wanted to get the songs banged out. We didn’t need a big drum room, we didn’t care what kind of mics it had it was like the first time we just didn’t care.”

Soraia Dobbs 8-001
“We just went in, we were like, ‘We are just going to record us as we are’, overdubs minimal, mostly just us. One vocal take, one everything. We didn’t know what would come of it and I didn’t have any pressure on us to be anything in particular. I just wanted to have fun. It was really important to us to have fun this time and we did. Out of it I knew there were two songs that really floated to the top one was the cover of The Kinks “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” because it’s such a statement of who we are. The second song was “What Imagination?” both of those songs I wanted to spend more time with in the final mix and mastering and we did. The one song, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” is the one that got picked by Little Steven [Van Zandt] as the “Coolest Song In The World” and I knew it! I knew as soon as I heard it I got goosebumps listening to my own band, and just being like ‘That’s us!’ finally we captured us. Raw, non-apologetic, not perfect, not polished, but just who we are. And if people can’t hear the magic in that, shame on them. But also shame on us if we don’t put it out or we’re scared to. Because the record before that was so well done and so polished that I was afraid to put out something that was too raw. But I really loved this record. Everything that it says is really us. People responded so much to that song, and so much to that version of it that was just us being us, [and it] is so joyful. I am so grateful for that because that’s who we really are. And they loved us for who we really are more so than they loved this polished, pretty made up version of who we are- which is also is who we are. But this time we took off all the makeup and were just like, ‘here’s what I look like, do you still love me?’ and we got a good response!”

Stay tuned for part three of my interview with Soraia tomorrow and listen to a two new tracks from their upcoming record Less Than Zero “Beggar” and “Paper Man” 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 xx: Ben Khan “Drive (Part 1)”

15 Apr

Ben Khan

I’m back from a road trip from Philly to Coachella and 4 glorious, ridiculous, absolutely incredible days in California. After two hours of sleep and a day working, I could not be more pumped to deliver you a dark, sultry, addictive new track from British dreamboat Ben Khan for tonight’s late night listen.

I’ve had “Drive (Part 1)” on repeat all day and definitely added it to the Makeout Music Playlist for your hearing pleasure. The track is from Ben Khan’s upcoming 1992 EP due out May 5th which you can pre-order now here! I’m already obsessed with the EP and can’t wait to hear more new music and am looking forward to his full length album. His music is perfect for getting down in a live setting and I’m also hoping he heads over to the States to grace us all with those knee-weakening tunes in concert.

To keep up with Ben Khan, follow him on Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter, and track future shows on Songkick here.

xx Cher

Philly show NOT to be missed xx: Temples at Kung Fu Necktie TOMORROW NIGHT!!!!!

22 Nov


This might be the longest countdown I’ve had for a show in a while. When I found out Temples were finally coming to Philadelphia months ago, I practically made an advent calendar I was so excited.

Temples, a band from the Midlands, England, had my heart at first listen…and then second, and then third. I realized with each track that they released this band was really special, bringing something new, and magical yet reminiscing to psych rock…and they don’t even have an album out yet. In fact, their debut album Sun Structures is due out through the UK’s Heavenly Recordings on February 10th and February 11th in the US on Fat Possum! You can pre-order the album now in the UK here and the US here.

Sure I can joke about how beautiful and British they are, and how incredible their hair is, but at the end of the day their dreamy, trippy, epic jams are what gets the blood pumping faster through my veins. I absolutely cannot wait to hear those tracks live, this Saturday at Kung Fu Necktie. This will be the band’s first show in Philly and you don’t want to miss it! This is definitely a concert you are going to be bragging about how you were there to everyone you meet from now on.

The show tomorrow will also feature the bands Needle Points and Bonzai and is only $10, you can get your tickets here or at the door. The show starts at 8PM so make sure you are there on time and don’t miss any of these stellar bands.

xx Cher

lovelovelove xx: mylifeinsound at ACL!!! Day 1 Schedule

4 Oct


I’m in Austin and I can’t stop smiling, I love it here. I’ve already met some incredible people, ate some stellar food, and heard some amazing music, but I could not be more stoked for today, the first day of Austin City Limits Music Festival.

This is going to be a tough weekend because so many people I love are playing, and unfortunately a lot of them overlap, but here are some bands and musicians I am hoping to check out today in order of what time they play:

1:00 PM




Thao & the Get Down Stay Down


Jimmy Eat World




Local Natives


Jake Bugg


The Black Angels

Arctic Monkeys

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens Of The Stone Age


Depeche Mode

Are you going to ACL? Tell me who you are most excited to see! Remember, if you are in Philly there are some stellar shows happening this week including The Weeknd tonight, check them out here! Stay safe, party hard, and have an epic music-filled weekend. Happy Friday!!

Tonight!! Vinyl Williams, Holy Other, and Mount Kimbie at Union Transfer!!! + Chris Malinchak at Morgan’s Pier!!!

31 May

vinyl williams

This has to be the best Friday, ever. Mystical dream team Vinyl Williams are opening up the Mount Kimbie show tonight, along with Holy Other, at Philly’s own Union Transfer!! I absolutely cannot wait… I became obsessed with LA band Vinyl Williams after hearing their trippy and mesmerizing track “Higher Worlds” from their 2012 release Lemiscate. Luckily, the rest of their record is just as magical and I am stoked to hear it live tonight in one of my favorite venues. Listen to some tracks from Vinyl Williams, Holy Other and Mount Kimbie below to get ready for the show tonight! Tickets are available online and at the UT box office for only $15! See you there.



Chris Malinchak

After the show I am heading to Morgan’s Pier to get my dance on with Chris Malinchak tonight! His track “So Good To Me” is one of my absolute favorites right now and an everyday repeat. NYC’s finest will be playing tonight for only $5 so make sure you get there as early as you can and check out his set! Obviously, I will be on the dance floor so meet me there!

xx Cher

Philly shows NOT to be missed xx: Midnight Magic at Barbary, Boys Noize at TLA, and Other Lives at Johnny Brenda’s TONIGHT!!!!

1 Dec

Happy December to Philly!! Tonight there are three super rad shows in our dear city, so make sure you spend tonight getting your dance on no matter what your style.

midnight magic

Midnight Magic are a 9-Piece party from NYC and tonight they are taking over The Barbary. Since the Barbary is small I am hoping this means members of the band will be playing their instruments randomly around the Barbary Love Actually style instead of trying to fit on one stage, but that just be me.

But on a serious this band rules!! Their music reminds me of the 1970s disco era I am very upset I did not get to experience first hand. Their music makes me want to put on roller skates and roller disco around my house.

Cheryl Skating

Just saying, the Barbary does have wooden floors and a disco ball sooo….

Tickets are $5 and you can get them at the door. Show starts at 10pm!


Boys Noize will be heating up the dance floor of the TLA tonight with DJEDJOTRONIC and Sammy Slice as support! Boys Noize just released a new track “yellow” you can buy and listen to here. He is making major moves with his song and sick music video for “Ich R U”. Show starts at 8pm and you can purchase tickets here!

Not in Philly? Check out Boyz Noise on the rest of his tour:

Boys Noize Tour:
12/02 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues * w/ DJEDJOTRONIC
12/06 – Montreal @ Telus Theatre * w/ DJEDJOTRONIC
12/07 – Toronto @ Sound Academy * w/ DJEDJOTRONIC, Rynecologist
12/08 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon *
 w/ Le1f, DJEDJOTRONIC, Destructo
12/12 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue
12/14 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre * w/ Strip Steve
12/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Palladium * w/ Le1f, UZ, Strip Steve, Destructo
12/16 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues 
* w/ Strip Steve, Destructo
12/17 – El Paso, TX @ Buchanan’s


Finally tonight I will be going to see one of my favorite bands, Other Lives, who are returning to Philly to play Johnny Brenda’s!!! After touring with Radiohead, and playing Coachella, Other Lives took some time to record and release their new EP Mind The Gap which is an absolutely brilliant taste of what their next record could bring. Thom Yorke lead super-group Atoms For Piece even recorded a remix of Other Lives’ “For 12” for the EP. I am interviewing lead singer, multi-instrumentalist, and dream of all dreams Jesse Tabish, so look for that in the future on our YouTube channel. The show starts at 9PM at Johnny Brenda’s and make sure you get there on time to see opening band Indians! Tickets are $14 and on sale here!

Have a great night, party hard and stay safe!!

xx Cher

Philly show NOT to be missed xx: Saskatchewan at Ortlieb’s w/ Orca Orca tomorrow!!!

25 Nov

This week was a little crazy, I still can’t believe tomorrow is Monday. I worked a lot, but also had a great time being able to go home and see family for Thanksgiving, and celebrate two of my best friends (twins) birthday the night before. Catching up with friends from high school that are in different states right now was awesome, and I got to do that twice this week. It’s easy to forget how stressful work can be with friends that love to dance as much as I do.

On my normal routine walk to my favorite cafe/record store in Philadelphia, Milkcrate, I saw dollar records for sale outside. I was on the phone with my mom who was super confused why I kept mentioning it was freezing outside every five minutes. I shamefully admitted that I was outside scouring through the dollar records bin… “Oh no Cheryl, stop looking….dollars add up.” I said my reply which she already knew was following, “I know, but I…can’t…stop”. Thirty-five dollars later and 35 brilliant classics to add to my collection, I walked out of Milkcrate with a smile on my face and a tear in my wallet. I definitely broke out the Nile Rodgers classic albums I bought that night for a mini dance party at my house before going out with my friends to dance at the bars. Sometimes, there is nothing better than dancing to your own records in your room, and I can’t wait to listen to all my new finds.

Tomorrow is back to work for a crazy hectic week, but I definitely have some after-work fun to look forward to. Tomorrow night, Florida-based band Saskatchewan will be playing Ortlieb’s Lounge in Philly for…um, what? Only $5… Don’t mind if I do!

Saskatchewan’s music is super chill and dreamy, and I can’t wait to hear it live. Saskatchewan will be playing five more shows after Philadelphia on this tour including dates in North Carolina, Georgia, and ending in their home state of Florida in early December. Listen and download Saskatchewan’s music via Soundcloud below!

Don’t live in Philly? Make sure you check on Saskatchewan in a city near you!

Saskatchewan Tour Dates:
Nov 26 @ Ortliebs Lounge w/ Orca Orca, Philadelphia, PA
Nov 27 @ the Cave, Chapel Hill, NC
Nov 29 @ Apothecary w/ Sin Kitty, Asheville, NC
Dec 1 @ TBA w/ New Animal Atlanta, GA
Dec 3 @ Wills Pub w/ Roadkill Ghost Choir & Day Joy, Orlando, FL
Dec 7 @ New World Brewery w/ Dent May, Tampa, FL

xx Cher


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