"...soul-stirring magic...incredible harmonious hipsters"
- Jonathan Widran, The JW Vibe
"...relentlessly creative soundscapes and pop pleasantries."
- Sebastian Cole, Gashouse Radio
"...a delicious pop vivacity that's enchanting."
- Randy Radic, CelebMix
Without even realizing it, millions of Winter Olympics viewers worldwide were treated this past February to the soul-stirring harmonic magic of Lord & Lady, as the Los Angeles based alt pop duo’s beautiful “La La Land Medley” served as the surreal soundtrack to a performance during the pairs free skate by Russian figure skaters Kristina Astakhova and Ryan Gosling lookalike Alexey Rogonov.
The medley has been nothing short of a phenomenon since Lord & Lady – Southern California based singer/songwriters Scott Oatley and Rachel Panchal – first posted their video on YouTube in December 2016, earning 4.9 million views and counting. Their YouTube channel, which features 25 videos – including a batch of originals, a Chainsmokers/Coldplay mashup, a John Mayer tune and their popular clip for the equally compelling “The Greatest Showman Medley” - has over 10,000 subscribers, and the audio of “The Greatest Showman” has over 100,000 streams on Spotify.
All of this buzz surrounding Lord & Lady’s re-imaginings of well-known pop and show tunes has laid a dynamic foundation for the release of their infectious new single “The Lift” – a dreamy, soulful reflection on feeling “the lift of butterflies” when the prospect of new love appears – and their upcoming four track EP No Ghost. Testament to the duo’s loyal fan base, the Kickstarter campaign they launched to help fund the recording, videos and marketing for the new project raised the conservative $6000 initial goal in a single day – and ultimately netted nearly double that amount.
Both Scott and Rachel are seasoned singers whose combined credits include “High School Musical,” “Jurassic World,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Glee,” “The Simpsons,” and more. Prior to the release of their “La La Land Medley," Scott had just sung in the studio choir during the recordings of “La La Land” songs “Another Day of Sun” and “Someone in the Crowd” and had an inkling the film would be a big hit. He and Rachel worked out their special arrangement, then shot and posted the video – which quickly took on a life of its own. “I did the whole arrangement from memory,” Scott says. “We were happy to get our first 70 subscribers and were amazed at how it took off. Before we knew it, it was everywhere and we had a million views! We only had original material on the channel at that point, and the ‘La La Land Medley’ opened the door to let people hear those songs.”
Scott and Rachel initially created their YouTube channel to showcase a music video they created for Wix Music’s Opening Act campaign, and to keep their momentum going after the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled 2015 debut EP. The EP’s first single “A Little Longer” won First Prize for Best Group/Duo at the International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA), and earned semi-finalist recognition in the International Songwriting Competition. Those who have been fans of the duo since the first release will notice a distinct difference in their overall vibe when they hear the four tracks of No Ghost, helmed by veteran producer Steve Shebby (Neon Trees, We The Kings, Hugh Jackman, Iron Man 3, Aly & AJ, About A Boy). While lyrically, “The Lift,” “No Ghost,” “Dance It Out” and “When Love Becomes a War” tap into the many ups and downs of romantic relationships, musically these tracks are edgier and more in the alt-pop vein than their straightforward singer-songwriter leaning debut.
“On our originals, we treat our vocals very minimally, and it’s the harmony heavy approach that’s the consistency that ties everything together from our earlier recordings to our new project,” says Rachel. “Lyrically, the first EP had a lot of themes about relationships and coming out of them, while now, tunes like ‘No Ghost’ dive deeper into the being vulnerable part of relationships when you’re getting to know someone deeply. We stay true to our organic roots and these songs have a classic old timey feel to them, but infused with a lot of modern elements, in a unique way. In some moments, they’re very movie-esque, even using the timpani for percussion for certain parts. ‘The Lift’ is both different and familiar, and that makes it the perfect first single for this new phase of our career.”
Scott (vocals, guitar and piano) and Rachel (vocals, piano) met in a classic L.A. songwriter sort of way, through Judy Stakee, a famed music publisher, artist mentor, author and speaker who signed and helped develop artists like Katy Perry, Sheryl Crow, Gavin DeGraw, Joy Williams (The Civil Wars), Jewel and John Shanks. Rachel was interning for Stakee when she had just left Warner/Chappell to launch her own artist development company, and Scott was enrolled in her workshops. Drawing on her years of experience pairing top-notch talent together, she thought the two would make a winning songwriting team.
When they first got together to write in the ASCAP Writer’s room, Scott and Rachel felt an immediate connection and knew they could be open and honest with each other. Each had just been through a breakup, and they found solace and creativity in the other’s ability to be vulnerable and bring all their emotions to the table. Discovering that their skill sets as songwriters were uniquely complementary, they started writing together and have since taken the concept of perfect harmony into a multitude of exciting new dimensions.
And their cool moniker? It’s a reference to one of Scott’s British ancestors, Lord Otley, Lord Mayor of London, and his lifelong fascination with the Royal Family and the lords and ladies of Great Britain. “When we started making music together,” he says, “we wanted the messages of our songs to really be about fighting for love and holding each other accountable. Everything we do, musically and otherwise, is about upholding the importance of love and those morals and beliefs that have shaped us.” Rachel’s heritage includes being a quarter Italian and a quarter Eastern Indian. She simply “liked the way Lord & Lady rolled off the tongue. It was a cool way to represent the male-female perspective we bring to our music. We want to encourage everyone to have self-love and respect because we are all, in essence, ‘lords and ladies’ of our own lives.”