Tag Archives: music

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!

Show Review: Tei Shi and Years & Years at Union Transfer!!

26 Sep
Don't miss Tei Shi and Years & Years on tour now!

Don’t miss Tei Shi and Years & Years on tour now!

Okay music fans, this is one tour you cannot miss. Every once in a while I find a band I really can’t help but tell everyone about. One of those bands for me is Years & Years. I was hooked after hearing their first single, and during a trip to England last year, I found out they were playing Dot to Dot Festival. My friend and I bought tickets to the Bristol stop. We had no idea what we were doing or how to get anywhere so we ended up missing them, then buying tickets to the festival next day in Nottingham. I saw them play in Nottingham and I could not wait for more people to hear their music and see them live. I especially could not wait for them to tour in the US.

Fast forward to this year, the band played their first show in the US in NYC, after a blizzard almost made them cancel. I brought as many friends as I could and everyone had an amazing time. Their music and performances are definitely something to experience live: the entire room is transformed into a massive dance party. I was so stoked to see them in two different cities but their was always something missing- my own. So when I heard Years & Years were playing Union Transfer with another one of my favorite artists Tei Shi, I was counting down the days.

Tei Shi mesmerized the crowd before Years & Years took the stage at Union Transfer.

Tei Shi mesmerized the crowd before Years & Years took the stage at Union Transfer.

Tei Shi, is a mesmerizing songstress from NYC. I saw her for the first time at Milkboy in Philadelphia and I swear she had everyone in a trance from the start and finish of her set. You could hear a pin drop while she effortlessly presented us with her soaring vocals in the mic. Not a body was left standing still as the crowd heard the perfect marriage of her voice and instrumentals. Opening for Years & Years couldn’t be a better fit, and you can see the surprise of the crowd at Union Transfer as soon as she started singing. Her vocals are effortless sand seem infinite. Mix that with epic beats and instrumentals, it was no wonder she truly got the party started before Years & Years took the stage.

A sold-out crowd at Union Transfer gladly helped Olly Alexander sing every word of the band's debut album 'Communion' out now.

A sold-out crowd at Union Transfer gladly helped Olly Alexander sing every word of the band’s debut album ‘Communion’ out now.

You could feel the buzz in the crowd as the crew changed the stage for Years & Years. The show was sold out and fans were packing in to be as close to the band as possible. The band walked out on stage to the roar of the crowd and the energy in the room mirrored the band’s energy on stage. Lead singer Olly Alexander couldn’t help but thank the crowd after each song from their debut album Communion was sung back to him at full volume. Between the enchanting stage presence of Olly Alexander and watching multi-instrumentalists Emre and Mikey build each epic dance instrumental through bass and synths you can’t take your eyes off the stage. The crowd got so lost in the show they were stunned when the band finished seemingly way too soon. But with only one album comes a shorter set, even with the addition of favorite covers including Blu Cantrell’s “Breathe”. Needless to say, Philly fans are already ready for a new album and for the band to come back to play again- especially me.

Check out Tei Shi and Years & Years on tour now in the US! For tickets and tour information click here.

Check out photos from the show below and remember to tag us in any of your favorite pics from the Tei Shi and Years & Years tour by tagging us in them @ mylifeinsound!

xx Cher

For more new music follow mylifeinsound on Facebook and Twitter!

morning jam: Sundara Karma “Vivienne”

24 Sep
Listen to the new single from UK's Sundara Karma "Vivienne" now!

Listen to the new single from UK’s Sundara Karma “Vivienne” now!

Reading-based band Sundara Karma have released “Vivienne”, the first single from their second EP conveniently named EP II due out November 6th on Chess Club Records!

Oscar Lulu from the band describes the new track “Vivienne”:

“It’s a love song sure, but more to do with the escapism that love can offer than love itself. The world is pretty fucked, not that this is a revelation, nor am I saying anything new. I’m just singing about a type of love that blocks out all the noise.”

Sundara Karma will head back out on the road today playing shows in the UK supporting The Wombats and Circa Waves. Check out dates below for that tour as well as their headlining tour starting on October 20th!

Listen to “Vivienne” and watch the music video for another one of our favorite tracks “Flame” below:

Sundara Karma Tour:

24th September Keele University, Stoke On Trent w/ The Wombats

27th September Norwich UEA, Norwich w/ The Wombats

28th September Nottingham Rock City, Nottingham w/ The Wombats

30th September Southampton Guildhall, Southampton w/ The Wombats

01st October Alexandra Palace, London w/ The Wombats

02nd October Cardiff University, Cardiff w/ The Wombats

03rd October Sheffield Plug, Sheffield w/ The Wombats

13th October O2 ABC, Glasgow w/ Circa Waves

14th October Manchester Academy 1, Manchester w/ Circa Waves

16th October Birmingham Institute, Birmingham w/ Circa Waves

17th October O2 Academy 1, Oxford w/ Circa Waves

20th October King Tuts, Glasgow

21st October Manchester Apollo w/ The Wombats

22nd October Oporto, Leeds

23rd October Liverpool Guild of Students w/ The Wombats

24th October Soup Kitchen, Manchester

26th October Bodega, Nottingham

27th October Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham

28th October The Horn, St Albans

31st October Sticky Mikes, Brighton

01st November Joiners, Southampton

02nd November Louisiana, Bristol

03rd November Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

04th November The Magnet, Liverpool

05th November Community, London

07th November Thirsty @ Readipop, Reading

Like what you hear? Follow Sundara Karma on Soundcloud, Facebook, and Twitter!

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!

morning jam: SULK “Black Infinity (Upside Down)”

22 Sep
Listen to SULK's blissfully trippy new single "Black Infinity (Upside Down)" now.  Photo by: Takeshi Suga

Listen to SULK’s blissfully trippy new single “Black Infinity (Upside Down)” now.
Photo by: Takeshi Suga

Get your Tuesday morning off to a dreamy start with Sulk‘s new single “Black Infinity (Upside Down)”. The mesmerizing new psych pop track will make you feel like you are floating on a cloud, and it’s only the first track off their upcoming sophomore album.

The London-based band have two shows coming up in their city at The Garage on September 25th and The Social on September 29th. For tickets and more information click here.

If you go to any of Sulk’s upcoming gigs make sure you take us in your photos and tweets @ mylifeinsound!

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: Gorgeous Bully “Sinking Feeling”

21 Sep
Listen to music from the solo project turned four-piece band Gorgeous Bully now!

Listen to music from the solo project turned four-piece band Gorgeous Bully now!

I’ve had this jam “Sinking Feeling” by Manchester four-piece band Gorgeous Bully in my head for days and I am still not tired of it. The track comes from the EP Nobody Hates You As Much As You Hate Yourself. You can buy that EP now along with other new music from Gorgeous Bully via Bandcamp here! “Sinking Feeling” is available for free download via Soundcloud below.

Gorgeous Bully just released a new track “Beauty Don’t Give A Shit” which you can listen to below. If you like what you hear make sure you follow Gorgeous Bully on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud. For tour dates and other concert info follow them on Songkick here!

xx Cher

For more new music follow mylifeinsound on Facebook and Twitter!


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