By Nick Christophers
Sometimes you have to keep plugging away until your big break comes crashing in. This is exactly what Maryland native and current Los Angeles resident Lisa Panagos did. Lisa, coming from a multi-ethnic family (Greek / French) took a little from each of her parents and molded herself into a talented individual. Her first love was not even in music or acting but sports.
“Being born of Greek/French descent shaped my creativity in a unique way. The Greeks were the originators of theatre and acting so it makes sense that I might excel in that arena. The French excel in the area of love songs and great chanteuse that I emulate and admire have been a huge influence in my writing and musical styling.”
After watching the attention athletes received on TV and their amazing feats she had to be a part of it. Hence, she began competing in sports in school. She played soccer and was on the swim team. Being well fit was a big part of her persona. She soon would be attracted to the excitement of music and dancing. Her parents realized her potential at a young age and enrolled her in dance, singing, modeling and acting classes. The seed of performing live took root after she saw Anne-Margaret in Las Vegas and took in the show “Dancin” by Bob Fosse. After graduating from Syracuse University she took to the open road.
“I saw Dancin’ by Bob Fosse and all I wanted to do was meet him and be in one of his shows. He passed away before I had an opportunity to audition for him in NYC. He was one of the main reasons I wanted to be on Broadway. My passion for the arts began to grow and I found more inspiration in various musical styles, music artists, movies, actors and more!”
On her way to growing as a dancer she took the advice of Cyd Charisse to take up ballet. This fueled her desire to also take other disciplines of dance like jazz and tap. Her first debut as a ballet dancer was in Mexico City with the Ballet De Folklorico. Another one of her favorite accomplishments was when she played the role of Jammes ( the ballerina) in ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at the Frankfurt Opera.
These accomplishments led to more shows. She took part in the show “Sophisticated Ladies” with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In that particular show she would also take on the role of Soubrette. Lisa was fortunate enough to also sing on stage with Reba McEntyre in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre in New York.
Lisa was also drawn to music and loved to sing. This would be evident when she settled in Manhattan and did performances at “Bitter End“, “CBGB’s”, “Spiral Club” and many others. She also worked with A&R’s like Wayne Williams of Jive Records, Daniel Glass, President of Glass Note Records and well known radio promoter Joey Carvello who is currently with Upstream Music Group and a DJ at Mobile Monday’s NYC 45’s.
She began working on music with such A-list talent like Mac Quayle and Rob Chiarelli. One of her first success’ was the single “Minds Eye” that she recorded with Mac Quayle. Mac is a gifted Producer, remixer and writer. The single was released in two different versions; R&B and Dance Electronica. It did very well on a global scale. “Minds Eye” did so well it earned multiple awards from the LA Music Awards and video of the year. On top of that Lisa took home best Dance Electronica Artist at both the LA Music Awards and Artist in Music Awards. Her work with Mac did not stop there. He co-produced the EP ‘Mind’s Eye Compilation’ on songs ‘Pale Skies Grey’ and ‘Down’.
“This compilation just won an award in March, 2015 from the Akademia Awards in Hollywood, CA. After that followed another award with Akademia for best R&B cover for Prince’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover”. It was produced of course by the amazingly talented Mac Quayle. Grammy nominated multiple times, Mac is really relaxed and creative in the studio. He is very accomplished and has worked with some of the biggest names in the business like Donna Summer, Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Sting. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with him and It would be great to work with him again!”
Currently, she is working with the multi-talented Producer and Grammy Award winning mix engineer Rob Chiarelli. Rob’s list of accomplishments include Gold and Platinum records for such acts as Madonna, Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Ray Charles and Will Smith on Men in Black. He is presently working with Lisa on a new project due to be another winner. The project is being arranged with a live band which gives it some old school flavor.
Lisa has her own awards to lay testament to her talents. Recently she won the Hollywood FAME award for “Female Rising Star’. She just recently sealed a record deal with Tate Music Group where she is working with Executive Music Producer Don Johnson to complete the new record and new music video.
Her passion for music and acting has no bounds. She has made it her goal to never give up and strive for nothing short of success.
“I still have as much passion as ever for music and the arts. I will definitely continue making music! The fans really help keep me going and excited. They are so supportive! I love you! I have a few acting projects in the works also so getting a role in a film again would be amazingly fun. Last but not least it would be great if the title ‘Rising Star’ turned into STAR!”