Soraia is an up and coming hard rock band. They released their latest record right before the pandemic hit and had to put things on hold. They released a new single titled “Tight-Lipped” earlier this year and it landed at #23 on the Billboard Rock Chart. The band will be making an appearance at The Beachland Ballroom on December 1.
We had the chance to speak with Soraia lead singer ZouZou Munsour to talk about the band, her influences and their upcoming appearance at The Beachland Ballroom.
Greg Drugan: Hey ZouZou, how are you doing today?
ZouZou Munsour: I’m good, thanks!
GD: Are you currently on the road or are you waiting until after Thanksgiving?
ZM: Our first show was in New York last week. We have five or six more dates until the end of the year but then we will do a larger tour in the spring and the summer.
GD: I really like your last single, “Tight-Lipped.” It’s got a great, crunchy guitar and you kill the vocal. Can we expect to see this on a new album?
ZM: Yes! It’s the first cut off our new album. Only the B-sides are not on the album, which was the (Aerosmith) “Angel” cover. We will have another new single released in January and then look for the new album in late summer or early fall. We are still waiting for the artwork, so it might be closer to fall.
GD: Are you going to be releasing it on vinyl? You talked about the artwork and that is something that has been missing with downloads and streaming. I like holding a physical copy, looking at the artwork and reading the liner notes.
ZM: Oh yeah! We will have a seven inch single on vinyl and our album will be on vinyl too. Actually our last three records have been on vinyl. I love it, I just love the way that vinyl sounds. It just sounds better and it isn’t compressed. My parents had vinyl and I collect vinyl, I enjoy having a physical thing.
GD: Speaking of albums, you signed with Little Steven’s record company, Wicked Cool Records. How did that relationship come about?
ZM: He heard a song that I had written with a producer called “Runaround.” He heard it and he loved it! He wanted to have a meeting with me which ended up being a three hour conversation about music and what I wanted to do. In working with him, we became better writers. He loved what I did and when he heard “Electrocutioners” he said ‘I wish I wrote that!’ and he signed us in 2016.
GD: You first came on the scene a few years ago with your cover of The Kinks “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.” I love The Kinks and I love that you chose a deep cut to cover. Why did you choose that song?
ZM: It was a mistake. I was writing with our bassist, Travis Smith, he is so good with hooks and riffs. He said the song was in The Sopranos in a montage thing, but it was a very slow version. So that’s the way I was going to do it. Then Little Steven said we needed to get people out of their seats so he said we needed to do a call and answer. So Steven reworked it and it ended up going to number one in Peru.
GD: That’s crazy how Steven was involved in The Sopranos and now he is involved with you, it’s like it’s coming full circle.
ZM: I know! It’s funny because I first knew him as Silvio. I mean I knew about the E Street Band but I wasn’t aware that he was in it.
GD: On your latest record, you decided to cover Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” why was that song selected?
ZM: I always like to do a cover song. I had no idea what I was going to do. I’ve been a big Prince fan for my whole life. Although I never got to see him perform live. Sinead’s version was big and I had just heard Prince’s version, which I had never heard before, and I was into that version and I wanted to pay homage to him. It was a last minute decision and that’s a hard song to cover.
GD: Do you have a cover song on the upcoming album?
ZM: Our next single is a cover. We were just going to release it to our fanbase, but it is so good! It’s going to come out on January 28. It’s “My Sharona,” I heard it and I knew that I could do it so badass! Diamond Dog rearranged it and it’s such a fun song. We have another cover song too, but I’m going to keep that secret.
GD: That’s fine! You don’t have to spill the beans with everything! Looking back in your career, who were some of your influences growing up?
ZM: Joan Jett! We wanted to open for her when we first started and now we do. They are great people to work with. Her attitude, she never quit and that makes a difference. She never stopped being a musician, she kept touring and kept true to herself. So Joan Jett is my number one for sure. Then there is Tina Turner, she’s great. The Pretenders. Nirvana was my favorite band growing up. They were different and they didn’t care.
GD: Who was the first artist you saw in concert and how did that impact you?
ZM: Iggy Pop wasn’t my first concert but he changed my life. I saw him in 2012 and I didn’t want to go. My bass player said that I had to see him, so I went. It totally changed how I perform. It doesn’t have to be perfect, he freed me! I felt freedom...I got it. It was the right artist at the right time.
GD: When did you know that you wanted to make music a career?
ZM: In the second grade, but for sure in high school. Nobody in my family is singer or a musician. They are all doctors and lawyers. My father is from Egypt so we would listen to (traditional music) and some Johnny Cash. My mom loved Elvis. She was more into the older rock and roll like “Runaround Sue,” and Stax records. But I loved Elvis’ voice. I sang with a girl on stage in second grade and that transformed me. In high school, I wanted to be in all the musicals but I didn’t sound like the other girls, I went to an all-girls school. I was a drummer, I started playing drums when I was four or five. In high school I knew I wanted to be on the road playing music.
GD: So you guys will be playing The Beachland Ballroom soon, what can your fans expect from your show?
ZM: Wild! It’s very live, sweaty and we will make the audience be involved. We love playing live and we are happy to be there. It’s going to be a great rock and roll show!
GD: ZouZou, thank you so much for your time. I’m looking forward to your show and I wish you the best of luck on your upcoming record!
ZM: Greg, thank you so much! We appreciate the support.
Check ZouZou and the rest of Soraia on December 1st at The Beachland Ballroom.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.