For Fans Of: The XX, The Japanese House, Maribou State
A budding poet who grew up being home-schooled on the road with her reggae-performing parents. A producer who has been working on beats since childhood, and has now worked with the likes of Kanye West, Chance the Rapper and Machine Gun Kelly. Their moto: “Heartbreak never sounded so blissful”.
Together, Via Rosa and Na’el Shehade make up Drama. Combining her soulful delivery of improvised lyrics with his chic house-infused production style, the Chicago artists have been blurring the lines between R&B and dance-pop since their chance meeting in 2013.
They released their debut EP Gallows in 2016; an eight-track collection that sees timeless emotions webbed around dreamy, mellow 80s synth melodies. They channelled their final farewells to their ex partners in this record, and developed their now-signature “happy-sad” sound of uplifting dance beats with cutting melancholy lyrics.
The music video for lead single ‘Hopes Up’ premiered on Vice at the start of the year, which sets out to empower Muslim women. The narrative sees a Muslim girl and mixed-race boy connect over a love for dancing, as Shehade stated “I want people to look at Islamic women and Islamic people differently. […] People think Muslims can’t dance, and can’t go out. That Muslim women don’t have those experiences. […] I’m putting a girl in a hijab and she’s gonna dance and there’s nothing wrong with it.”
Two years later, Drama followed up on Gallows’ success with the opposing Lies After Love EP. Described as “optimistically dark”, Rosa stated that the title refers to “the affirmations and lies that people tell themselves to get over heartbreak”. She also commented that time and practice had allowed for the pair to better understand where each other’s contrasting styles and strengths lie, resulting in a more polished and evolved release.
On Valentines Day 2020, the pair are due to release their debut full-length album, titled Dance Without Me. A refined collection that recasts romantic tragedy as moonlit self-acceptance, what better day to put out what may just be their most optimistic tracks to date? For example, in the single ‘Gimme Gimme’, Rosa reflects on what kind of relationship she’s looking for as she’s learnt worth, while in latest track ‘Nine One One’, they opt to rise above the hurt that’s been inflicted upon them in the past.
Drama are on a very relatable and human journey with a captivating soundtrack. No matter where you are along the way, they’ve got a song that mirrors exactly how you feel.drama / introducing