Drama, the Chicago based duo is making a move on this year’s festival circuit. Drama is Via Rosa (“Via”) who fronts the group, and producer/musician Na’el Shehade who lives in the shadows on stage working the keyboards and mixers to create the backing under Via’s vocals. They have their own spin on this year’s trending movement to sad songs. Drama call their songs “happy sad”. They are certainly more melodic than they are rhythmic, which is a nice change from the heavy rap presence which this sort of a front man plus a DJ behind suggests.
I stumbled into Drama by accident at the Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas where they were playing an early evening set on the Bacardi stage. There, in front of the iconic Atomic Café, Drama took the stage. From the setup I thought they were going to be a vocalist in front of a DJ. But quickly it became apparent that Na’el was doing more than just playing back pre-recorded tracks, he was also creating sound on the fly with a variety of digital tools and keyboards.
Na’el has a solid grasp of the mechanics of touring, how to work the finances in the treacherous world of touring bands, and what it takes to build a show without getting destroyed by runaway costs. He’s talented and practical. Those skills are the cornerstones of having a long career in live entertainment. Almost anyone can get on a stage but not everyone should. Either way, it’s what happens in the down time which determines your ultimate success or failure. I find the combination of Na’el and Via’s skills promising. Drama is just the stage name. Offstage they’re a promising partnership on an upward trajectory.
Via has both stage presence and the ability to carry a song which is a relief from the more and more frequently seen auto-tuned experience. Her ability to connect with the audience and deliver the show is critical to how Drama is turning out larger crowds.
Drama’s new single Dark Rain release today, October 21, 2021. They describe it as being simultaneously “timeless and of the moment with throwback synths, funk laden guitar riffs and lush futuristic soundscapes.“ That’s a lot of words. My brain works quicker the point: Dark Rain is cool. You can hear it, along with many other of their songs on the remainder of their tour.
Drama catches your attention. They’re certainly a group to be seen live. Luckily, they still have some shows left on the western leg of their current tour. Double luckyis that tickets are very well priced. Get some here:
I had the good fortune to spend some time with Drama after their performance at Life is Beautiful, and again on my podcast. Who knows what’s next? Likely you’ll find me at their Halloween show in my hometown of San Diego. I love the idea of a costumed night. My job is to be in the know. Theirs is to be Drama. We fit together like a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. Together we are know drama.
Our conversation was lively and interesting. It’s here in both video and audio podcast format. Do listen.
Before she took to the stage as a singer, Via was a chef. So, looking across the arc of her career there is a constant presence in her choices. Whether preparing a meal or standing in the spotlight you must be prepared at any time to go down in flames. Via’s strength is to take her confidence in flame control forward and deliver a scorching performance. From that, we might all leave a little bit hungry for more, perhaps even thirsty, but always quite satiated. One thing is for sure. Drama is a misnomer. Their performance is not Drama, it’s art.
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