Getting to perform at Coachella? That’s a big deal. Doing it as an independent artist? That’s even more impressive, and that’s exactly what Chicago duo DRAMA will do next month. 

While they prepare for the biggest stage of their career to date, the pair – smooth producer Ne’el Shehade and sterling vocalist Via Rosa – released their infectious new single, “Tighten It Up”, last week.

There’s an endearing story behind the track: DRAMA were inspired after hearing from a remarkable amount of fans who’d fallen in love at one of their concerts, a romantic narrative primed for an uplifting hit.

“”Tighten It Up” feels like going out and finding exactly what you’re looking for,” the group says about the track. “It’s inspired by how it feels to meet someone on the dance floor and share a moment of feisty, confident energy.

Writing it at the very place Michael Jackson wrote the immortal “Bad”, Westlake Studios, probably didn’t hinder DRAMA’s pursuit of a hit, and there’s hints of the King of Pop’s ’80s heyday bounce and bop in the duo’s creation; it’s delightfully groovy and infectious, in other words.

With the track arriving on the 10th anniversary of Shehade and Rosa first meeting each other, “Tighten It Up” should remain a memorable track in their discography for a while to come.

Following Coachella, it’s surely not long until DRAMA hits Australia: despite never having played any shows Down Under, Australia remains the group’s third biggest streaming country, with thousands of listeners in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane liking the verve in their Chicago sound.

Love Pop?

Get the latest Pop news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

To celebrate the release of their new single, Tone Deaf caught up with DRAMA as part of our Get to Know series to find out more about their lives and music.

DRAMA’s “Tighten It Up” is out now. 

YouTube VideoPlay

How did your artist name come about?

A friend suggested DRAMA and it just clicked.

How would you describe your music to your grandma?

It’s smooth, it DRIVES, it makes you want to overcome your sadness then call your ex and thank them. It’s a melancholy feeling but the beat will make you want to dance and the lyrics will make you want to sing  – it’s a perfect combination of happy and sad music. 

Tell us about “Tighten It Up”, what is it about?

We’ve heard countless stories of people falling in love at our concerts and this song plays off the storyline. It’s inspired by how it feels to meet someone on the dancefloor and share a moment of feisty, confident energy. It’s a fun and playful song, very different from anything we’ve done in the past, so much so that it’s a little terrifying but also very exciting. 

What do you love about your hometown?

Via: There’s two kinds of people in the world – people who were born in Austin TX in 1990 and people who wish they were born in Austin TX in 1990. It was a magical time! AAH Soccer, Zack Scott theater, Barton Springs, Zilker Park, Mr Naturals! The list goes on and on. 

Na’el: Chicago is no bullshit city – you have to hustle and you have to know how to pivot. It’s a working class city that embraces everyone, as long as you’re willing to work for it. As a child of immigrant parents, and as an entrepreneur myself, Chicago is truly the embodiment of drive, passion, and history. 

Career highlight so far?

Getting booked for Coachella this year is definitely a career highlight! It’s incredibly encouraging after years of hard work, dedication and perseverance to see the fruits of our labor recognized at this caliber; even more so, it speaks volumes that we are able to grace the Coachella stage as independent artists!! 

Fave non-music hobby?

We both love to cook! One of us (Via) went to culinary school and the other (Na’el) is a partner at a few restaurants in the States, ranging from California to Chicago.

What’s on your dream rider?

  1. Lots and lots of different varieties of sparkling water from all over the world
  2. Fresh fruit and berries, vanilla vegan yogurt and matcha strawberry granola for parfaits
  3. French fries
  4. Brand new socks and white Air Force Ones 

Dream music collaboration?

We look up to so many artists but dream collaborations would be Sade, Drake, and Robyn – if any of y’all see this or your teams, please hit us up!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Making music of course! We plan to keep doing what we love and to keep on inspiring people to embrace their feelings. 

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Via: “Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen 

Na’el: I don’t do karaoke… I’ll leave it to Via on vocals

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Phrases that always ring true in our head are “it’s not a race, it’s a marathon,” and to not compare your journey to anyone else’s. And to start a band and call it DRAMA. What a great idea, 10 out of 10.

What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?

Watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding at every Airbnb. It’s a classic! Gus is hands down our favorite movie Dad.

YouTube VideoPlay

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine