JULY 10, 2019
Conversations with the Inspiring Rania Khoury
Today we’d like to introduce you to Rania Khoury.
Rania, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I first discovered my passion for singing when I was a little girl. In all my toddler videos I was always singing in Arabic and dancing for the camera. As I grew up and started to learn English, I became drawn to the phenomenal singing of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Celine Dion. I would put performances on any chance I got, whether it was in front of my first-grade class, the talent show or at home using the vacuum cleaner handle as a pretend microphone. I eventually started taking piano lessons in 3rd grade and started playing violin in the orchestra in 5th grade. By the time I got to middle school, I was teaching myself how to play guitar and was writing original songs. I was very inspired by Regina Spektor and Tori Amos when I first started writing songs, so my original work is a bit disoriented with frequent tempo and key changes. I continued to evolve my writing throughout high school and college and began performing more often across town, recording multiple EPs, and slowly working my way up to my first LP “Stone Wolf” which was released in 2012 and my EP “Upside Down” in 2017.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When you have a lot of ambition and big dreams, you will always be faced with hardships and self-doubt. Throughout college, I struggled a lot with my voice. I had frequent bouts of bronchitis (like every other month) that would constantly lead to laryngitis. It was so stressful not having confidence in my voice and dealing with the unreliability. But I kept going through the motions and creating songs. I also auditioned for multiple shows such as American Idol, the Voice, Glee and America’s Got Talent. Auditioning is seriously the most physically and emotionally exhausting thing I have done. I made it to the second round of American Idol in 2011 but failed to make it any further. My bouts of self-doubt have definitely hindered my desire to commit to more auditions and have often led to album release delays.
What else should we know?
My last EP “Upside Down” was released in 2017 and was recorded and produced at Century Recordings in Dripping Springs, TX with the extremely talented Nick Jay and Dallas’s own Jason Burt (Electrophunck, Medicine Man Revival, Modern Electric). I’m currently working on my next EP and have teamed up with my close friend and producer, Shohn. The EP incorporates electronic beats, heavy layered vocals, and synths and is a stretch from my previous albums. The songs are also more mature, focused on real issues such as depression, greed, and temptation. The EP should be out in early 2020.
Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
I grew up in a traditional household with very loving, immigrant parents who worked so hard to provide the best life for us – but with that came high standards and expectations. I felt a lot of pressure to be something or someone that I wasn’t sure I wanted to be. I always felt I needed to be smarter, skinnier, prettier, girlier, etc. While my siblings excelled academically, I struggled to follow that path and was faced with so much uncertainty on what I wanted my college and career path to be. It produced a lot of anxiety and self-doubt and ultimately led to years of heavy writing and music creation. I always knew one thing for certain, I may not be the smartest kid in school but I sure was passionate and good at singing and songwriting. So, it became my outlet and helped shape my individuality.
Sydney Brown, Shirley Che