Soraia has been making waves in Philly music for over 10 years — known for her dark, gritty vocals and intense live performances. Described by some as a mix of Iggy Pop and Joan Jett, the veteran musician has taken the stage nationally at venues big and small — from dive bars to the Wells Fargo Center. Ahead of her headlining performance at the Hollystock Music & Arts Festival this weekend, Soraia gives us the low-down on being a girl in a band and why she prefers performing in the dark.
How did you get started making music?
I always wanted to sing, but in high school no girls had my voice. They all had the high, pretty voices so I just assumed that I was a sucky singer, even though I wanted to sing since second grade and I sang since second grade. I was never formally trained or anything but I always wanted to be a singer. When I realized by high school that my voice was never going to be picked for a part because it was too low and husky, I became a drummer. So I started drumming in bands when I was 15. There was one time a singer didn’t show up to rehearsal and I was playing the drums so I was asked to sing. I’ve been singing ever since.
What is it like being the lead singer in a band of dudes?
For me, I am such a leader personality that I tend to forget I am a girl. It’s funny because all the guys have different views of me, I guess, but I do have a girl drummer [now]. We just added her in May. It’s different now because here is another girl and we can hang out more. The players I have now are very, very supportive, amazing players. They’ve worked on their craft and it’s obvious. There is [also] respect and that’s important because in the past our players didn’t really respect my musical vision. The vision has to be supported.
If you’re not on the same page, it’s not going to work.
No it’s not. Everyone needs that same drive. Shows are good for keeping the energy positive, especially for musicians because I have realized that they love to play. But the only way we have gotten anywhere is through recorded music. You can’t just keep playing at bars or you’re going to burn out.
So what can we expect from your Hollystock performance?
You’ll see some weird stuff. Some climbing, some jumping on stage — I like to interact when there is an audience and even when there is not. It’s a great time to see us live because it is a great time in our musical careers right now. It’s very exciting.
Why is that?
We are writing right now and we are going to be touring in October. Working on a new record. There’s more but I can’t say yet. [Laughs]
Who are you excited to see perform at the festival?
I’m excited to see Jeremy and the Harlequins. I’m excited to Marla del Ran for sure, because I have seen her before and she is amazing. I’m excited to see Plantation.
Soraia performs at Hollystock 2016 on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 10 p.m.