Sonia Rao
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Sonia Rao


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter




"Sonia Rao - Los Angeles Part 1"

In Print - Audrey Magazine

"Sonia Rao releases music video for new single You Say I (Video)"

Indie pop singer/songwriter and former The Voice contestant Sonia Rao recently released the official music video for her new single You Say I. The video, now streaming on YouTube, was exclusively premiered on ARTISTdirect. The premier featured cameos from other independent artists including Keaton Simons, Melissa Polinar, Connie Lim and Kasi Jones, as well as Ruthie Alcaide (Real World Hawaii), Max Lugavere (host of Current TV) and Dia Frampton (The Voice).

You Say I is the first single off of Rao’s forthcoming sophomore album, Los Angeles. Part 1 of the full length album is scheduled for release on September 17.

You Say I tells the story of Sonia’s relationship with someone who brought out her insecurities and self-doubt, and the experience of letting that person go, which left her happier and more confident. The song is available for download on both iTunes and Amazon.

Los Angeles Part 1 is a five-song EP written for anyone in transition, whether between loves, careers, homes, or those on the verge of truly knowing themselves. It was written over the last two years, during Rao’s self-proclaimed “epitome of new beginnings and transition.” During that time, she moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, challenged her Indian American family’s professional expectations of her, fell in and out of love, and experienced the whirlwind of reality TV with an appearance on Season 1 of NBC’s The Voice. She also performed duets with Daniel Bedingfield and Elliott Yamin, while MTV, VH1 and E! featured her music on their TV shows, including Jersey Shore, Underemployed and Married to Jonas.

CD release shows are planned for September 12 at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles and at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco on September 20. Rao financed the project with the help of her fans and a very successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $15,000.
- Examiner

"Exclusive Worldwide Premiere: The Voice’s Sonia Rao Covers “Blurred Lines”"

Sonia Rao is a Los Angeles based indie pop singer and songwriter. We first noticed her as a fellow Brown Girl on the very first season of The Voice in 2011. We were lucky enough to have been able to interview her.
Being the daughter of Indian American immigrant parents, she was pressured to consider pre-med in college. She finally decided to graduate with a degree in Psychology from UC Berkley. Though she was always aware of her passion for singing, she only started writing music as a therapeutic manifestation following the unexpected death of her college boyfriend. This gave way to her debut album called “Calm Her.” Sonia is currently working on her second album called “Los Angeles Part 1? which is set to be independently released on September 17, 2013. - Brown Girl Magazine

"Los Angeles Part 1 (Independently released CD EP, Pop)"

The second proper release from Los Angeles, California's Sonia Rao. We rarely review if you see an EP covered in these pages you know it's something worth seeking out. Rao released her debut album Calm Her back in 2011. That album was well received...and this, the follow-up, should easily thrust her career up to the next level. Five intriguing songs here...and they're all keepers. Sonia has a really cool expressive voice that listeners will love. Our favorite songs here are "You Say I," "Little Blue Room," and "Los Angeles." Our guess is that you'll be seeing and hearing this young lady's name and face a great deal over the coming months and years... She is good. - Baby Sue

"Exclusive Video Premiere: Sonia Rao, "You Say I" Read more at"

ARTISTdirect has partnered with Los Angeles-based indie-pop singer Sonia Rao, a former The Voice contestant, appearing during Season 1, to premiere her video for "You Say I." The song is from Los Angeles Part 1, her upcoming independently released EP, due out September 17th.

Like what you saw and heard? Then nab the single here.

About the track, Rao said, "I wrote 'You Say I' about the experience of letting someone go who brought out my insecurities and self-doubt, and feeling so much happier and more confident after having done so. I believe we should strive to surround ourselves with people and ideas that lift us up, and it’s important to me to put that message out into the world. Sometimes we are passive with our relationships and with the media that we take in. Once I realized I could choose who and what I surrounded myself with and how important it all is in my life, I gained a better sense of self and direction."

A bunch of other artists make cameos in the "You Say I" video, including Keaton Simons, Melissa Polinar, Connie Lim and Kasi Jones, as well as Ruthie Alcaide (Real World Hawaii), Max Lugavere (host of Current TV) and Dia Frampton (The Voice).
- Artist Direct

"Los Angeles - Part 1"

This 5 song EP is short but’s musically on the same level as Christina Perri with every song being a heartfelt love letter to some forgot moment in time....I dug this record simply because the music & the vocals fit perfectly & it’s a mellow listen filled with emotion & melody. - Rock n Roll Experience

"Album review: Sonia Rao, Los Angeles Part I EP"

Sometimes, the choice of an album title conjures up all sorts of past-life imagery. Sonia Rao’s sophomore effort, Los Angeles Part I is one of those. As a former Los Angeleno myself, I can identify with the overall tone of the EP and some of the specific lyrics as well, but the downside is that the title always reminds me of X’s seminal album Los Angeles. Fortunately for gentle readers, I won’t be making comparisons between the two works, other than to note that I like the imagery of sprite Sonia Rao playing a baby grand to accompany Exene Cervenka belting eponymous single “Los Angeles” at the top of her lungs. Getting away from my oSonia Rao EP coververly literal interpretation of album titles, Rao’s voice is partly an amalgam of two singers, Natalie Merchant and Alanis Morissette, exuding the former’s vocal coloring, and the latter’s distinctive tones in the higher register. Lyrically, the first cut “You Say I” is reminiscent of Orianthi’s “According to You” (Believe, 2009). That’s the end of my direct comparisions—thanks for indulging me.

The first track, “You Say I,” though sounding familiar lyrically, has a lilting, moving verse, and a catchy chorus that is brighter and more entertaining than the lyrics initially would seem to indicate, as the song is really about moving on, not suffering. It also plays well with Rao’s voice, and has the elements of a hit single (it’s available as a single on iTunes, and a video was released on ARTISTdirect and YouTube). Rao’s voice is her strength as well as her weakness—her voice is distinctive, and with limited instrumental accompaniment, any departure from perfection is immediately apparent. For the most part, this works in her favor throughout the album, as she performs well on most tracks. The notable exception is “Little Blue Room,” which suffers from a mismatch of Rao’s voice with the guitar and backing vocals (or possibly excess reverb during recording). “The GreateSonia-14st” is a love song showcasing Rao’s strong voice and range, and is lyrically unique—personally, I think this is the strongest song on the album. “Let’s Hate LA Together” is about choosing between stability, and chasing the dreams that make us who we really are, or could become. Similarly to “You Say I,” Rao manages to incorporate difficulty and sadness, while ultimately rising above that with the solidarity that comes from two people taking on the world together, or more generally, bright overcoming dark. Again, the lyrics are unique and unexpected. The closer, “Los Angeles,” is about Rao’s experience on NBC’s The Voice. It’s a solid song, and although it deals with a specific event in her life, Rao smartly makes the lyrics about the more global experience of finding oneself in a new place—alone, innocent, and exposed—and uncertain about whom to trust. In contrast with “Little Blue Room,” the accompaniment on this track, particularly an intermittent and mournful slide guitar, plays especially well with Rao’s vocals.

As with her first album, Calm Her, this album was crowdfunded (by a Kickstarter campaign; Calm Her was funded through IndieGoGo), and independently produced. Rao’s desire to identify with her listeners shines through on the record, and it should be interesting to see what she has in store for Part 2. - Reviewer Mag


'You Say I' - Single (radio airplay)
'Los Angeles - Part 1' - Album

'In My Room' - Single
'Calm Her' - Album (radio airplay)




1. 2013 NBC's The Voice (Finalist)
2. BMI's Spotlight Indie Artist
3. Songs featured on MTV, VH1, ABC, and E! Network on such shows as Catfish, The Jersey Shore, The Vineyard, and several others.
4. Classically trained on the piano and violin
5. UC Berkley Grad
6. Plays covers as well as acoustic guitar & piano!

There’s something charming about Sonia Rao, the Los Angeles based indie pop singer/songwriter who’s received praise from CeeLo Green and Christina Aguilera on the purity and soulfulness of her voice. She didn’t grow up with dreams of becoming a pop star nor a TV star, and unlike many of her peers, she didn’t go to college to pursue music. As the daughter of Indian American immigrants, Sonia was classically trained on violin at age five and piano at age seven, but encouraged to seek a career outside of music. She went to UC Berkeley to study Psychology and didn’t write a single song until after graduating.

Sonia’s college boyfriend unexpectedly passed away and to process his death she found herself writing song after song. These songs would later become her debut full-length album, Calm Her, released independently in 2011. Sonia wrote the songs to her forthcoming five-song EP, Los Angeles Part 1, alone on guitar or piano. She then brought the songs to Evan Hillhouse, who added drums, guitar, bass and keyboard. All songs were produced, engineered and mastered by Josh Doyle at 3 Theory Productions in Van Nuys, CA, except for “Los Angeles,” which was engineered by Kurt Piar at Proving Ground Studios in LA. Sonia’s sophomore album, Los Angeles Part 1, will independently release on September 17, 2013.

Los Angeles Part I is an album for anyone in transition, be it between loves, cities, careers, homes, or even those on the verge of truly knowing themselves. The EP was written over the last two years, during Rao’s self-proclaimed “epitome of new beginnings and transition.” She moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles, challenged her Indian American family’s expectations for a career in medicine or law, fell in love, fell into LA’s tumultuous love-hate cycle, and was tossed into the reality TV experience with an appearance on Season 1 of NBC’s The Voice. In that time Rao has also performed duets with some of her favorite artists growing up, including Daniel Bedingfield and Elliott Yamin, and VH1, ABC, MTV and E! featured her music on their TV shows including Jersey Shore, The Vineyard, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Underemployed, Married to a…, and Married to Jonas. BMI also featured Sonia in their “Indie Spotlight” in July.

Suffice to say, since the 2011 release of Calm Her, Sonia Rao has had plenty of time and experiences to approach her piano with a fresh mind and hands.