While most 17 year olds are anticipating the last seven weeks of school to be over, for Rachel Costanzo this time marks a new chapter in her life. This vivacious and incredibly talented singer-songwriter-producer, will be embarking on her EP launch and promotion of new dance tune, Starlight. Out on the 22nd of August, this is the pop singers first big foray into the world of music and she is super excited. The songs have been incubating over a three year period, written with the help of Michael Paynter and Michael DeLorenzis (MSquared productions). "I'm really, really stoked - the response has been really good and I'm looking to get it out further."
Shot in the iconic playground of St Kilda, this Melburnian not only braved the elements to create a beautiful visual aesthetic for her track, but enlisted the help of her friends, boyfriend and X-Factor singer and dancer Liam Ferrari to bring it life. "It was so much fun to have everyone in there. It was better to have them all than complete strangers, I wouldn't of enjoyed it as much. And, that was real laughing (in the clip), not fake acting laughing!"
When asked how she managed to bring Ferrari on board, she admits a lot of musicians are friends on Facebook, "I just asked if he was interested, and explained he would get a lot of publicity from it." Taking the plunge certainly pays off, just ask her boyfriend - who ends up in the not-so-balmy waters of St Kilda bay, all in the name of entertainment. "'He said, I'll do it for the film clip and just jumped in, he regretted it later. It was freezing, probably like ... minus 7C! He's really brave, the editing made it look a lot sunnier that what it was, he was frozen."
Costanzo herself is no stranger to diving into situations, fans of her former song Blindside will know she leaps off a rock face in the filmclip - and did it in one take. "I was really scared, because it was like, I don't know ... 100 m high (she pauses and thinks) ... it was really high! They didn't know if there were rocks underneath the water, it was probably minus 7C, ice cold. I would do it again, even though it was so scary. The adrenalin rush is just like sky diving, you kept falling and falling, I was kind of like ... hurry up!"
At the time of Blindside's launch, she was without management and in charge of most of the clip's production, working alongside the director to bring her vision to life. Stints in Hollywood have harnessed her talent, with the teenager a regular at the L.A based Hollywood Immersive, honing her craft by attending their music course. "The first time I went I was 14, it was a really good experience. I saw the ad and it sounded like a really good opportunity, I just went for it. The next time at 15, I was more confident and then went back the next year for an acting course."
Her ability to 'just go for it' is an admirable trait, and one that has paid dividends in launching Blindside last year. A chance phone call from her friends sister at 6am proved to be a lucrative window of opportunity, but who really answers their phone at at that time?? "Yeh it was really early, I was like, 'oh my gosh who is calling me'? That is not the kind of thing I do (answering early morning calls!), I just keep it on for emergencies, it was just luck." The luck she is referring to, is the demo being played on Melbourne's Fox FM. "She was on her way to work and said, 'quickly call up Fox FM, their computers are down!' I did and my phone call went through, by fluke, they played and interviewed me. I also did other things, like a remix of Royale by Lorde."
It's not hard to see why this diminutive singer made such a huge impression. Her vocals pack a punch and the song itself is super catchy. "Basically, if I think something, or get a melody in my head, that is when I get to the piano and start writing a song, the melodies come whenever. Sometimes I'll be humming in the shower and go 'oh, that sounds good!" When asked if it's common for melodies to pop up, she answers, " yes, it happens at weird, random times - it's happened before in class, and I write down all these lyrics and I get no work done in class!"
It's hard to imagine an unproductive Costanzo, singing since she was seven years old, she started doing covers and "trying" to write music at thirteen. After meeting Michael Paynter, the young starlets confidence increased and "it kind of went from there. It's practice as well, people say 'I like your voice' and that is why I do covers, because I feel like my voice is strong enough. When asked if this confidence translates to all type of gigs, she laughs, "I'm not confident if I have to sing in front of kids at my school. I can perform to anyone but not them, as I know them and they are more likely to judge you as they see you everyday!"
A glance into her Youtube channel will show a wide range of stellar covers, including Ariana Grande's Break Free and London Grammar's smash hit Strong, of which she does a powerful and emotional rendition, " they are probably my favourite covers too. I have a studio at home and the singles I release, are done in Michael Paynters studio. If I really like particular songs, I'll normally just cover it because it is popular and I love the melodies of the songs. It is the type of music I love - most of them are all dance songs, and I have just created them into a ballad."
Fans can catch her at the Teen Expo with performances from X-Factor, "I don't think any musician ever gets used to the spotlight. I get really starstruck easily [when asked about performing with Timomatic], it was a lot of fun. It's such a good experience and reward for working really hard, I'm so grateful." The next few weeks she advises will be about, "Starlight, gigs and I'll probably have a few more surprises out after that. [Like what??] More music, I am not sure yet!"
She encourages fans and upcoming young artists to reach out and connect with her something she is passionate about, "I was not confident at all with my voice and they [MSquared] built me up to be a really strong girl, take criticism and all of that. I had meetings with other songwriters, but no one else compared to them. I kind of connected with them the moment I said hello, obviously because they are Italian! They are like brothers to me now. I used to be really harsh on myself and now if I make a mistake, I just learn from that. I respond as much as I can if especially if people ask 'how can I get myself out there'?, as I know myself how hard it was. I just like to help others."