DRAMA will release their brilliant debut album Dance Without Me on February 14 via Ghostly International, and have announced extensive North American, UK & European headline tour dates (see below). Dance Without Me is a refined collection that recasts romantic tragedy as moonlit self-acceptance, as heard on previous singles “Hold On” and “Gimme Gimme.” Today, the Chicago-based duo shared new single “Nine One One.” A call of encouragement, “Nine One One” registers as a cinematic slow jam aided by a string arrangement that scales the song up an octave, and can be heard here: https://drama.ffm.to/nineoneone.
The group is the multicultural collaboration between producer Na’el Shehade’s chic Chicago house-infused production style, and vocalist Via Rosa whose soulful delivery is inspired by the improvisational nature of jazz and playful patterns of hip-hop and bossa nova. The duo play to the complementary dynamics of their unlikely pairing by blurring the lines between R&B and dance-pop, heartbreak and bliss.
DRAMA’s debut album appears remarkably refined for a young band, with Rosa’s lyrical candor creating expressionistic narratives about interpersonal intricacies all finessed for the club by Shehade. As a lyricist, Rosa takes her blues and makes them vibrant — rather than wallow alone. There is lush lovelorn affliction blended into the tracks on Dance Without Me, which can be pre-ordered here: https://drama.ffm.to/dancewithoutme.
Rosa grew up in a musical household; her parents played in a reggae band and toured as a family, homeschooling Rosa into her early teens and limiting her listening primarily to Sade, oldies, Brazilian and Afrobeat music. She kept poetry journals and by high school started writing songs and making beats. After moving to Chicago in 2010, Rosa connected with THEMPeople, a collective at the center of the city’s sprawling hip-hop scene. Meanwhile, Shehade inherited an entrepreneurial drive from his late father, who immigrated from Palestine to the United States in the 1970s to build a better life. Born in Chicago, Shehade fell in love with DJ culture as a kid and took up music production and engineering; his interest eventually led to professional opportunities, including early studio work with Chance the Rapper, Kanye West, and music projects for MTV and Bravo. Since a chance meeting in 2014 lead to the creation of DRAMA, the duo has bootstrapped a subtle rise on their own terms, self-releasing several EPs and mapping multiple tours with Midwestern grit.