Name: Soraia (Zou) Mansour
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, and performer in Soraia
Family: My band, of course.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in English at St Joseph’s University but mostly the school of rock and roll.
Favorite Moments: Opening for Bon Jovi and Halloween in Auggen, Germany.
Quote: Learning to work in the music industry is difficult. “Everything that drowns me taught me how to swim.”
If you want to find Soraia Mansour, she’s likely hunkered down chasing down her dream with her band. The mastermind behind Philadelphia rock band Soraia is an absolute workaholic who is always juggling multiple roles.
Music is in Mansour’s soul and she learned that from an early age. “Since I was in second grade, I wanted to sing, but all the girls that I knew had a high pitched voice. Because my voice was different, I thought I wasn’t a singer,” Mansour says. “I remember being scared to death so I just pushed through, started pursuing music and kept doing it.”
“At heart I always knew I was a songwriter, singer, and performer,” she says.
She makes sure she oversees all the projects so she can ensure everything is going smoothly. She explains, “I play the role of the general manager, executive producer and a creative visioneer to make sure everything comes together at the end of the day.”
Her day-to-day responsibilities often include a lot of planning and business work, but it’s knowing that she could inspire people that keeps the fire burning in her.
“I want to write something that’s true and honest. I write for the impact on people who are going to hear the song, to positively change them in some way,” she explains.
Her fans often attend multiple shows, hanging around to talk with her afterward, asking about her history, how she got started and what her lyrics mean.
“Most people who are in my life are in my band or I met through music or a show,” Mansour explains. Even some of the band members were fans before joining and now they mean so much to her. “This band is a family and we all have to be here for each other,” she says.
The results of her work can be seen by her past. Her band has opened for Bon Jovi, worked with Steven Van Zandt and toured across the world. But most recently, Mansour’s latest album, Dead Reckoning, received national attention.
“When I just started doing open mics I remember sitting on the couch thinking, if I ever make Rolling Stone Magazine I’ll know I made it. It was never about money or being signed to a big label,” she explains.
“Here I am 16 years later, published in Rolling Stone. When I got the news I dropped the phone and started crying. I made it,” she says. Today, Mansour’s picture is featured front and center for the ‘Year of Rock, 2017’ story.
Mansour’s hard work is paid off by her success.
She explains, “Big labels had put their noses up at us, but our success reminds us that they really missed out.”
Mansour encourages artists to keep at their dreams and never give up, especially if it’s not a traditional job.
“No matter how difficult, you have to just go for it, for the music's sake, for your sake,” she says.
Want to meet Soraia? Catch them on tour: