Roia Rafieyan has the vocal stylings of a Carole King or a Joni Mitchell and the quirky songwriting style of a Christine Lavin or a Dar Williams. Despite her kvetching while at the microphone (it's all part of the act), she is a beacon of positive energy in a bleak world. Roia has learned a valuable lesson in life: If you can't laugh at yourself, then for God's sake pay a therapist until you can, because you ought to be able to by now!
Roia's music springs mostly from her work as a music therapist. Her passion for her work is reflected in her lyrics and point of view as a songwriter. She is a strong advocate for those who cannot always speak for themselves. Literally. Because her job is based so much on attitudes, emotions, and reactions to different situations, is it any wonder that these are the things that come out in her music? Who can't relate to an underdog?
And let us not overlook the power of her voice. It is calming as only a woman's voice can be. Delicately layered with an easy gentleness, but yet clearly rooted personal strength. Full of emotion and a true understanding of what suffering can be. She and her family came to the United States from their home in Iran during her early teens, leaving the political turmoil and ensuing war with Iraq. She comes with a unique point of view, seeing America with both foreign and familiar eyes. This also comes through in her music. When she sees a wrong being done, she will eventually put it to music and play a G9 chord over it.
Now, the music itself: it is deceptively simple. She will drift effortlessly from the guitar to the keyboard. Often, she will play songs on the piano that were originally written on the guitar without a thought. She is equally at home with a sparse accompaniment as she is with a wall of notes, her voice always floating above it all. You can detect the jazzy influence in her chord progressions, the folky flavor of her rhythms, and the classic rock influence all merged together into a new genre. Call it "Music 'I can't believe I have to play this song again for the sake of Hannukah/Kwanzaa/Christmas-time, bah-humbug to the whole damn thing anyway because now's the only time of year that people come visit their families at this institution anyway' Therapist" Folk Rock. Or perhaps Folk Emo? Once you hear her, you just know: IT'S ROIA. Her music is her gift to share with all of us.
(Thanks to Andrew Dunn for this kind description.)