Rachel Costanzo

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Rachel Costanzo

Life is all about taking chances – something Melbourne’s Rachel Costanzo knows all about. She took the phrase ‘carpe diem’ to the next level. After hearing that radio station FOX FM was in the midst of a complete computer melt-down, resulting in dead air, quick-thinking Rachel called the station offering to play her single ‘Blindside’ down the line. Now seen as somewhat of a pop-singing superhero to the hordes of bleary-eyed commuters she helped that faithful morning, Rachel’s star continues to soar.
In fact, you may have seen her sharing the stage with X Factor winner Reece Mastin at the GPAC earlier this month as part of his Wolf in the Woods tour – an honour she earned over thousands of sweet-singing hopefuls in a nationwide talent competition. When we caught up for a chat, Rachel talked about being the headline act at the Teenage Expo two years running, her debut self-titled EP and the instant connection she felt when meeting fellow Melburnian singer-songwriter, and The Voice crowd favourite, Michael Paynter.
“We met through Michael Parisi [the former head of Festival Mushroom Records and current CEO of Wunderkind Records, who saw her stripped-back covers on YouTube and immediately knew he’d witnessed a star-in-the-making]. He [Parisi] knew I was looking for a really good songwriter to work with, someone who would help get my name out there,” Rachel explained. “So he put me on to a bunch of songwriters, but I knew immediately after my interview with Michael Paynter that I wanted to go with him, because he was so down to earth and welcoming. That, and he’s the MOST amazing writer in Melbourne!” Rachel grinned.
The result of that happy pairing can be heard in the five tracks found on Rachel’s first official release, which can only be described as pure pop perfection. But as Rachel admits, it’s been a labour of love.
“It took roughly two and a half years to get all the songs together with Michael [Paynter]. We worked so hard to get them sounding just the way we wanted – he’s actually featured on ‘Invisible’, which is one of the slower tracks. I released ‘Starlight’ as the single, but actually ‘Avalanche’ is my favourite song on the EP.”
At just seventeen Rachel has been singing for more than half her life. “I started singing at seven years old, but I didn’t get serious ’til I started vocal lessons when I was thirteen.” While other teens may sit around fantasising about the day they can get a fake ID or even their green P’s, Rachel has spent the last few years chasing her dreams in Hollywood.
“I’ve been part of the Hollywood Immersive Music Programs – they help prepare aspiring performers for the industry. While I was there I performed around L.A. and I really thought this is where I want to be. But since then I figured out for myself that if you’re going to make it, you have to create a strong following and a fan base down here before you go anywhere else.”
Rachel’s debut EP is out now. Filmed in St Kilda, featuring iconic Melbourne landmarks Luna Park and The Palais Theatre, you can watch the exquisitely shot clip for ‘Starlight’ at rachelcostanzo.com.au
By Natalie Rogers