Before I knew it... So you want to know who I am? My name is Irma Pany. I was born in Douala, Cameroun fifteen minutes before my twin sister...I often wonder what that could signify. Douala was like a miniature version of the Earth filled with people from around the world and music that is just as diverse. This is where Iʼd discover the true meaning of inequality. On one street youʼd see a grand castle, and at its gate a helpless man laying on the ground with nothing more than the skin over his bones. As a child, Iʼd question « why? » and I was told « thatʼs the way it is » That response drove me crazy, but made me realise how grown ups surrender and give up on their ideals with a simple « thatʼs just the way it is ». Thatʼs how cynicism was revealed to me. .
Before I knew it, it led me to write my very first song « I know » an angry letter from the child that I was to the adults around me . But little did I know! In 2003 we moved to Paris, the city where my parents met at medical school and where they insisted their children study. Much to my parents satisfaction, they can honestly say that we were all good kids. We did as we pleased but also did all we could to please them: get good grades in school and sing loud and proud at church! My good grades got me into one of Franceʼ top business schools but it was my first song « Letter to the Lord » that became my homework.
And every song after that. I started playing with the connections that internet offered me that year, exposing my church choir trained voice and self-taught guitar strumming on songs like « I want you back » and « Natural Woman ». Those internet connections lead to a record deal with a new innovative company that was amongst the first to use crowdfunding. Before I knew it, in one weekend, my crowd funded my debut album. Music outweighed business school and music became my business. One day I tested my songs live in the white tiled hallways of the parisien metro. My record company thought that was a great story and before I knew it the story had gone from « the girl on internet » to the « girl who plays in the metro » even though that only happened once. Shortly after, I would become the « girl chosen by Google » for their ad campaign that not only featured me but my song « I Know. » And before I knew it, I had my first hit. My first hit album the same year I graduated from ESCP Europe.
Who could ask for a better start? After that, I moved to NYC to work on my follow up album. I met great producers. Some of them produced the records I played over and over as a child: Jerry Wonder, Rodney Jerkins, and Doc McKinney. I tried out different styles. Although NY was definitely inspirational for my songwriting, I made my way back to Paris to produce the album « Faces ». Before I knew it, I was touring non stop with a fantastic band. When my French tour ended, I toured Asia solo with a looper, guitar, and keyboards. Before I knew it I was back in France performing « Face to face » with my friend and percussionist Dakou shadowing me. Before I knew it, weʼd performed over 150 concerts and won an award for the video Save Me. Before I knew it, I needed to find a new place to inspire a new beginning and thatʼs when I moved to Lyon. I stayed there until every word, every note, every sound was recorded, around the clock, from dusk to dawn.
Once I got it all out, I handed in the keys to my apartment/makeshift home studio and was ready to start a new. And that meant taking charge, making choices.
I chose to direct a video for every song I recorded, tell it my way and distance myself when I thought it was for the best. Rhys Downing mixed the album at his studio in London while I traveled from NY to Douala to Paris with my wonderful film crew Lou Sechan & Tomas Palombi . ́ Every song has a story, every story has a picture, every day a new dawn.
Mine is called “The Dawn”.