Producer and DJ Soraya La Pread has the kind of talent and lineage that is usually only found in born-and-bred LA musical royalty – but New Zealand can claim her as our very own!
She is the NZ-born daughter of The Commodores bassist Ronald LaPread, who settled here with her mother after they met on a flight to New Zealand as the band was heading to the country on tour. They married two weeks after meeting (and are still going strong!).
With that kind of start in life, it was inevitable that Soraya grew up surrounded by international musical icons and legends, dividing her time between NZ and the US, where she would often join her father behind the scenes at gigs, and sometimes on stage. It was during one of his events with George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelics that she realised her future lay in performing.
Soraya started learning the piano at age seven; and following her schooling in NZ, she attended the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, where she studied music production, songwriting and audio engineering.
Her subsequent producing career has seen her craft music for A.CHAL, Bailey Wiley, Jess B, Stan Walker, Church, Paige, JoJo, Ho9909 (A New York Punk Group), Kent Jamz And Buddy. She names production pioneers incuding Rick Rubin, Todd Rudgren, Quicny Jones and Berry Gordy as inspiration in her work.
Female producers/audio engineers make up less than 5% of the music production workforce, which has made Soraya even more determined to succeed in this field.
“My dream with production would be to continue to create with artists I believe in and love, and to grow into working as an executive producer for albums and scoring films. I would love to be able to bring artists from USA to NZ to create and record,” she says.
After working as a music producer in LA for several years, Soraya then taught herself to DJ in 2016 – that same year, she was invited on tour with Jojo as her opening act for her US and Canada Tour.
She went on to play at the city’s most prestigious clubs and parties, and had residencies at veues including The W hotel – Hollywood, The Standard Hotel, House of Blues, The Roxy, Chateau Marmont, The Whiskey and The Viper Room. She has been a private event DJ for celebrities and artists such as Selena Gomez, DNCE, Joe Jonas, and Celine Dion.
Between gigs, Soraya has played at a number of major US and NZ festivals, including Afro–Punk; Arcosanti; Rhythm & Vines and Northern Bass. She has also toured with Quin and the JMSN US/Canada; and opened for artists including A$ap Rocky, Childish Gambino, Skrilex and Skepta. She also opened Six60’s sold-out 2020 show at Western Springs.
Soraya now divides her time between NZ and the US – in NZ, she has DJ’d for pemium brands such as TopShop, Perrier Jouet, Moet Chandon, Seven Jeans, Samsung, Twenty Seven Names & Huffer.
Glamorous, gorgeous and able to command a crowd – you always know when Soraya enters a room! She seamlessly blends her vast range of musical interests and knowledge into every event she plays. Whether it’s funk, soul, disco, house, pop, rock, reggae, hip hop or even punk, she covers all bases, always ensuring that she never neglects the crowd, constantly calibrating her performance to enhance the musical environment of every gig.