RS: You definitely have your own sound. When you hear it, you
know its a Rachel Panay song. There's that voice and that really
happy disco house sound. Why do you sound so good with the disco
Rachel Panay: Oh my god, thank you. The amazing thing about your own evolution as an artist is that you learn who you really are. As a kid, a teenager, or a college person you might say this is who I am, but when professional opportunities start to come your way and you take advantage of them and explore them, sometimes you might do something that you don't think is you and then you find in the mirror it's a very accurate reflection of who you really are. I always felt like I'm a darker, more brooding type of person and that there's lots to be disgruntled about and we should write about it in a song. Then happy house songs kept coming my way, songs that celebrate life, songs that affirm good things in life and affirm yourself and they just took over me. That's who I am, I realized it.
RS: Another part of realizing who you are is realizing who you
work well with, and you defiantly work well with Josh Harris. You've
also worked with a lot of other people from the Music Plant family.
There's a track on here with Georgie Porgie and one with TnT (Teri
Bristol and Tod Minder). How did that track come about?
Rachel Panay: That song is called Crazy and I'm really excited because it's a very different vibe of dance track for me. The way the vocal was produced and the way I did my performance on it had to mirror the track. I wrote this song about two years go and put it on the backburner. I did an a cappella vocal for it and everyone loved it, so I gave it to Tod and Teri and they produced it. As soon as I got their track, I said I have to re-sing the vocal. Their track had this incredible mysterious sound. Hearing the track I imagined a deer trotting through woods filled with mist, a mythical Arthurian legend type feel to it. My performance was actually, in this case, too soulful and I needed to go to a sweeter, trancier place with the vocals, so I redid it. Back to your original question, with Tod and Teri, they had produced a mix of "The Real Thing" and that's how I got introduced to their work. Their mix blew me away and I knew that I wanted to work with them.
RS: In addition to the music on the CD, I'm also really enjoying
these really hot pictures of you. How was that photo shoot?
Rachel Panay:The photo shoot was done in Philly and I had been in DC to prepare myself for the day. My very good friend and makeup artist is in some of the pictures. If you notice a really tall, handsome stranger behind me with a great smile, that's my very good friend Steven Hrichak. The models came from HOUSE OF TALENT PA, an agency in Philly and they were very cute and definitely provided inspiration. The setup was me laughing with friends. The ones that you see on the cover and the back cover were the last shots that we did. We'd done several OUTFIT changes, and actually the photographer was like I think 'that's it, we're out of time' and I was like 'no, that's not it. Let's make time.' I came out of the dressing room with nothing on but a boa and some fishnets and some little cap shorts, and he’s like 'you're right, we can make time'.
RS: I hear that Kevin Aviance had his hand in this also somewhere.
Rachel Panay: I was put in touch with him for his shoe collection and went to his showroom and found three amazing pairs of shoes. On the back cover you can see the bottom of the red shoes which were my most favorite of all of the three. They're really amazing and actually you can't really see, but they've got very intricate floral detail on the sole, so that like when you kick up you heels you can see these designs. Kevin was kind enough to lend his shoes for this shoot. Of course I had to accessorize with a red bra and some lips, it was only fitting.
RS: Sounds like that would be a great performance outfit also.
I've always loved your live performances, what's your secret or how
did you become such a great live performer?
Rachel Panay: Well first of all I'm honored that you would say so, as someone who sees so many different artists that means a lot to me. I feel that I've grown more comfortable. I remember my first gig in the dance music genre and I was trembling so much that my cordless microphone pack flew off the back of my pants in to the air and almost in to audience. I caught it, which was a miracle and held it for the rest of the performance. They say you've come a long way baby, and I'm like yes, we've come a long was since then. I can attribute it to the fact that I have great music that inspires me and the production that Josh has done drives me and emboldens me. My audience continues to embolden me as well. I've been very lucky to be at venues that are receptive. I try something which gets a good reaction and the next time I go a little further, a good reaction and the next time a little further. It's just a reciprocal thing that happens between the performer and the audience where you'd do something outrageous or you'd say something funny and people react. Then of course, there's also ballet since I was eight and vocal lessons for many years that I've been fortunate to have had training to give me that.
RS: Speaking about the great audience, is there anything you
want to say to all your fans out there?
Rachel Panay: I just want to thank everyone for their excitement and their enthusiasm. Definitely check out the album and eMail me, do shoutouts to me on Myspace. I'm hoping this is going to get on radio and you guys can enjoy it through your summer. The mixes of the new single "It's Got to Be Love" should be available on iTunes and I'm really excited about those remixes. TnT did a remix. Brian Reyes, who is getting a lot of attention, did an amazing mix. I also love the incredible mix by Lenny B which is phenomenal. There's also a brand new mix by Guido and its great! Thanks so much to everyone for supporting me and loving the music.