Gig Seeker Pro


Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rana - New Like A Stranger"

What a soothing voice, Rana relaxes and renews. There is relief, relief in the comfort of a voice that relates and knows, even though she tells us Little Did I Know on the first track. Rana pours it out, heart and soul, cliché as that may sound. It’s simple and pure; pure music, vocals and guitar. Rana gives the feeling of watching one of those great movies that you know you will watch again and again as she stretches your listening heart to the horizon of her expression. So Wrong, Let it All are powerful and all-encompassing, as is she. - Women's Rising

"Washington City Paper's superficially revealing inquiry into the musical mind of Rana"

To the distinctive list of single-name artists (Sting, Cher, Bono), let us add RANA. The Virginia singer/songwriter also boasts a singular sound, as can be heard on her CD New Like A Stranger. Songs such as "Little Did I Know," "So Wrong," and "Grace of Love" offer moving and soothing testimony to and commentary on the human condition. (Listen here.) And if one wishes to judge a person by the company she keeps, check out Rana's MySpace "friends:" Indigo Girls, Ben Harper, Dixie Chicks, Sarah McLachlan, Eddie Izzard, and fellow uni-namer Beck. Rana brings her six-string sweetness to College Perk in College Park on Friday, July 14. Drink up.

What equipment do you use and what's your favorite smoke?
RANA: I have a Martin acoustic SPD-16R. What do all the letters and numbers mean? I, too, wondered that years ago. I sought out a mystic in the Himalayas for my answers. After burning much incense and drinking much tea, he came to the conclusion he preferred coffee. As for the Martin, it's a special-edition dreadnaught classification.

I used to smoke Marlboro mediums, then Camel lights, then a myriad of other random brands, all out of a silver cigarette case. I thought the case added a touch of class to my nasty habit. True to the adage you never really quit, I'll sneak a smoke every now again, though only Dunhills or Nat Shermans. Cigars are always welcome, too, if you have good friends, good food, and a long night in front of you.

What kind of drums do you play and what pets do you own?

RANA: My brother is the drummer, but not in my band, so I guess it doesn't really belong in this interview.

I currently have a little runt calico cat that likes to herd deer and whose best friend is a raccoon.

What's your favorite D.C. hangout and your favorite automobile?

RANA: It's all about the food with me, and some of the best can be found at Bacchus in Dupont.

As for the car, I would usually ramble on about Aston Martin or some other fabulous Bond-type ride. However, since I just got news today that my car needs $1,000 in repairs, my favorite car right now would be one that runs and doesn't need a damn thing done to it.

What's the worst place you've crashed and your worst haircut?

RANA: Hmmm...the worst place I crashed? I am afraid the names and places would have to be changed to protect the innocent, and then the story would end up being really boring.

Unfortunately, on the haircut front there are pictures as proof, so it doesn't do any good to evade the question. I'd say the one time I cut the back of my hair—I was 8—was pretty bad. But I am not sure any amount of feathering and hairspray could make me look good in the '80s, either.

Worst roommate and best audience?

RANA: I've been pretty lucky with the roommates, but I have lived in places with roaches and mice. I'd say they were they worst roommates. But they are all dead now—the bugs and mice, not my friends—so revenge was sweet.

The best audience is the one that shows up. Everything after that is icing.

Explain your band name and define your sound.

RANA: Band name = Rana. My first name = Rana.

I just repurposed my name into my stage name. It may be very unoriginal using my first name, but I like to think I am making a statement on recycling. Reuse, my friends, reuse.

What clothes do you like to wear onstage and what do you eat on the road?

RANA: As much as a glittery cape and go-go boots sounds fabulous, I get too hot, so I am left with the very minimalist look of a shirt and pants. I have been known to rock the shiny patent leather shoes, though. I find patent leather very slimming to the feet.

I don't eat much before a show, so I always have a wide selection of snack bars (Cliff bars, Lara bars, etc). Of course, once the show is over I'm always up for a pig roast.

What's the worst stage you've played and your best payday?

RANA: What made the worst stage bad was actually not the stage itself—that part was fine. It's just that it was a really small space so all the pictures taken of me that night show the sign and door for the woman's bathroom in the background. It's hard to convince people you are living a rock 'n' roll fantasy life when then pictures make it look like I am on the Bathrooms Around America Tour.

What are your influences and worst equipment experience?

RANA: I am easily influenced by small children wearing plaid, goats with one horn, fine cheese, lollipop rings, and tin foil.

I had three strings pop one right after the next and my entire guitar go out of tune through a song. I just gave up on the guitar and sang a cappella.

What are your songs about and what's your favorite drink?

RANA: My songs are all about me. Egotistical, perhaps. But it sure cuts down on any potential liability suits against me.

I like my bourbon neat, my martinis gin, and my wine red.

What's your favorite tour memory and worst band squabble?

RANA: Favorite tour memory is being on tour. Playing music trumps all.

No band squabbles; band Scrabble. I rock the letters baby...

What's your transpo and what's the worst place you've ever dropped trou?

RANA: My transportation is the car mentioned above that needs the $1,000 in repairs. Who knew brakes and calipers could be so eye-wateringly expensive? I guess my mechanic did, or else he had a boat payment he needed to make.

Is that how you spell trou? I had no idea.

What are your current projects and political thoughts?

RANA: I am currently working on trying to figure out why we are just now talking about global warming and alternative energy. I think that answers both topics in one.

What's the stupidest move your singer ever pulled?

RANA: Well, seeing as I am the singer, I'll plead the Fifth on this one.

- Washington City Paper

"Rana: Keeping it Simple"

Several years ago, singer/songwriter Rana traded in Boston's bustle for the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rana sums up moving there with: “I stopped knowing what my neighbors were cooking for breakfast and was looking out at the mountains instead.”

The change of environment has affected both her personal and professional life. “I had the chance to sit in open spaces and let myself and my music open up literally and figuratively,” she recalls. “It was a selfish time, to take a few years and just disappear, regroup, really find a good place to start back up from.”

The result is Rana's second recording, New Like a Stranger, released this past January. As described on the artist's website, “the simple vocal guitar tracks echo in expansive intimacy.” The album differs from her prior release, 2001's Starfishing, with Rana as the driving force behind it and fewer hands sharing the wheel.

She had been working with other musicians, trying out new material and new sounds. But when it came time to record she wanted to do it alone. “I spent so much time trying to get down to a new level of writing and expression for me,” she says, “that it was too much to ask somebody to come in and meet me at that level.”

“I think what I needed to do was change everything and see what remained,” Rana says. “I figured that whatever stayed the same was probably the most honest parts of me.”

In the end it was a simplicity of expression: “I really pushed myself to be honest, and what remained was that honesty. The purity of whatever I'm trying to express. The one thing I can guarantee is it's exactly how I felt. That's me in what I'm writing.”

Reflecting that aim for simplicity and honesty, 31-year-old Rana goes by her first name only. She says it's a Sanskrit word for princess or royalty, but notes that rana also means frog in Italian, Latin and Spanish.

“I'm Italian and my parents failed to check their mother tongue and went straight for the Sanskrit,” she explains, “because they were on the commune, I think.” She adds that her father wanted to give her a name that could only be spoken in a soft tone.

Rana's parents live in Marietta, Ga., the Atlanta suburb where she went to high school. Before that the family lived in Nashville and Miami.

While she's captivated by Virginia, Rana says Boston will always feel like home to her. Aside from growing up visiting her grandparents and other relatives there, Rana lived in Boston for nearly 11 years. She moved to the city for college, and graduated from Wellesley in 1996 with a degree in art history.

“I'd been there for so long and I'd never been a songwriter out of Boston, really,” she says. “It had always been the context of everything I'd been as an adult, and I thought it was probably time for a change.”

“I was approaching writing the same way: getting heavy-handed with the metaphors,” Rana recalls. “I was doing things that had worked in the past but I wasn't necessarily feeling as inspired as I had.”

She wanted to see what else lay within her. What she found was brand new to her, with different chords, music and lyrics. “I was saying things I'd never heard myself putting down before,” she says, adding “I was thrilled.”

So Rana went about collecting new material. When she wrote “Little Did I Know,” the first song on her latest release, she says, “I knew then I was done. It was the last line I needed.” Two weeks later she was in the studio recording.

And now that her new CD is out Rana says she's ready to get on the road and do some shows. Her main stops have typically been in the metro D.C. area and her old stomping grounds in Boston and Atlanta but Rana has plans to add dates in new locales this summer.

While she suspects that the average listener won't perceive a vast difference in sound, Rana describes her new music as “more open, freer.” She notes: “It was a chance to really push myself to express the same sort of power but on different terms.”

Rana reads a lot of poetry, particularly the works of Pablo Neruda and Rumi. “Taking mundane words and putting them into a sentence and having them be the most unbelievable thing you've ever heard,” is what she admires most about the two craftsmen. “It's a discipline, to not allow yourself the freedom of a lot of sentences and a lot of words.”

When asked about other influences, Rana says: “I've never shied away from anything. I love really honest musicians, no matter what the instrument is. To really no longer have it be just an instrument but an expression of them is so fantastic to witness.”

“And it's not just in music,” she adds. “Anywhere that comes, I'll take it. I love it.” Rana says she finds inspiration practically everywhere. “It's making sure to stop and watch the sunset when I come home,” she says. “That will do more to inspire the next song I write than anything else I can do.”

The latest material Rana has been working on for a future release is “a bit jazzier, with a more bluesy feel to it.” It's a sound that will require a fuller band. But for now she's sticking to sparsely delivered introspective songs, usually about being in love or out of love or apathetic to love.

According to her, all her songs are autobiographical on some level. “At the most extreme, I didn't quite have enough drama in my own life,” she says, “but I could see how it could have gotten more dramatic, so I might take it up a notch.”

She says the only times she's written about someone other than herself or a significant other is when she has written songs as gifts for friends. “Being You,” the song that closes New Like a Stranger, was written as a tribute to a lesbian icon rather than a personal friend.

It started as a simple exercise—Rana challenging herself to write a happy song. “I definitely want for happy songs. Even if it's a happy topic, there's always some level of not happy,” she says of her standard fare. So she wanted to “mirror the essence of someone who's good at being purely happy, somebody who can affect people in a positive way.”

“When her talk show went crazy,” Rana says of her subject, “and everyone was talking about how happy they were, I thought, that's really fantastic.” So far Rana hasn't heard back from Ellen DeGeneres about the CD she sent her or the song she wrote for her, but racking up a mighty collection of Emmys is likely a more-than-full-time project.

Get tour and cd information at echoesofrana.com.

- by Shauna Swartz- AfterEllen.com

"Rana- Ladyfest South Review"

"Rana is philosophical folk and like Mary Chapin Carpenter has a dry sense of humor. There is something expansive about Rana’s style. Her voice reaches out with strong emotion and her guitar playing is clear, strong and simple."
- Ladyfest South 2007 Feminist Review
- Katie Klemenchich- Feminist Review


CD releases:
Love Is All (2010)
New Like A Stranger (2006)
Starfishing (2000)

Tracks streamed and had radio airplay:
Little Did I Know
Tomorrow Wakes Up
Is It Me?



"Moving and soothing testimony to and commentary on the human condition"
- Washington City Paper

"Its simple and pure; pure music, vocals and guitar. Rana gives the feeling of watching one of those great movies that you know you will watch again and again as she stretches your listening heart to the horizon of her expression. So Wrong, Let it All are powerful and all-encompassing, as is she."
- Women's Rising

"Rana is philosophical folk and like Mary Chapin Carpenter has a dry sense of humor. There is something expansive about Rana’s style. Her voice reaches out with strong emotion and her guitar playing is clear, strong and simple."
- Ladyfest South 2007 Feminist Review

On the 2006 released CD, New Like A Stranger, emotion and power run deep. With Scott Spelbring of Dragonfly East Studios lending his amazing talents to the project, the simple vocal guitar tracks echo in expansive intimacy.

After years in Boston entertaining audiences from cafés to concert halls, Rana [pronounced Rah-Na] now romps about the metro DC area. Her writing is ever focused on her life and our place in the day. No stories or politics, just heartache and release.

Whether driving with the windows down or disappearing into each other as the candles burn slow, Rana offers up a song to carry us kindly through. We dream wild as she performs the journey we are all on.