Interviews

Interview: ORIANTHI

Platinum-selling recording artist and world-class guitarist, Orianthi has signed an exclusive record deal with the legendary independent rock label, Frontiers Music Srl who will handle the release of her upcoming new album, “O” globally. This will be Orianthi’s first new studio album in seven years and her first new music as a solo artist in six years.

“I am thrilled about this new chapter with Frontiers! Their passion and enthusiasm for music is such a great reminder of why I love creating music. I couldn’t be more excited to release my upcoming album with them,” Orianthi says.

In addition to her album release with Frontiers this fall, she also has a signature acoustic guitar being released in partnership with Gibson Guitars, with first-of-its-kind engineering that will be revealed later this year.

I was lucky to be able to have the opportunity to chat with Orianthi just ahead of the album’s official release.


ANTIHERO: Are you excited about the new album or has the worldwide pandemic taken the gloss off that a little?

Orianthi: Yeah. Of course. I’m not going to lie. It’s been pretty wild times for everybody and just want to make sure that everyone’s healthy, safe, and thank God my family is and friends and everything, and I hope yours are too.

ANTIHERO: Thankfully, we are all ok here at the moment.

Orianthi: It’s all about taking care of each other now, too, and all of that. But being able to put out a record and hopefully helps us through this time with a bit of entertainment, that’s really why it’s, just put it out right now.

ANTIHERO: What had you planned for this period? How has the pandemic impacted you, professionally? Were you due to tour or what plans had you for the last eight months?

Orianthi: I was due to tour this whole year. That was the whole idea of it, putting out a record and then at the end of this year, I will be in Japan by now playing different shows in France and everywhere. So I think Texas Southwest to start a guitar festival and then yeah, so many things, so I don’t know when just taking it day by day or I’m feeding my music video for the next single and yeah. A lot of stuff.

ANTIHERO: Yeah. I noticed that you’ve released a couple of music videos. How has that been the actual making of a video process? Has that been impacted by what’s going on? Or how has it affected those video productions?

Orianthi: Majorly, because everyone’s going to get tested before you can go on. And especially for me, I take the biggest risk cause I have to not wear a mask and so that is very stressful.

ANTIHERO: I noticed you have a couple of other musicians playing on your album, Evan and Marty Fredrickson. Had you worked with them before or are these new people you were creating with?

Orianthi: I’ve worked with Marty before. Yeah. I’ve been with Marty since I was 20 years old. It’s been a long time since we moved back to each other and worked together on the last record too, and yeah, he’s a very talented musician. 

ANTIHERO: And what did they have input into the songwriting process or did you have the songs already finished when you came to involve them?

Orianthi: Oh yeah. I mean, we went in and did the entire record in 28 days. So I had some ideas, but predominantly we just looked through the whole thing and did the whole thing together.

ANTIHERO: Was it more difficult to create this album given that it bears your name rather than the RSL release, for example, did you feel any additional pressure because it’s your name? alone on its cover?

Orianthi: Yeah. Well, it’s always pressure when you’re making a record, but you try to block that out. Do you know what I mean? I never take it easy on myself when the record is done and you put it out there, you’re going to make sure it’s the best it can be and everyone who’s involved in it too, people I work with join and share the same mindset. But yeah, I mean it’s definitely been a process and I’m really proud of the record.

ANTIHERO: It’s a great record. I’ve been lucky enough to have had a streaming link to it obviously ahead of the official release for several weeks. I just wonder what came first for you growing up and first getting into music. Was it singing or was it guitar playing or did they both kind of go hand in hand?

Orianthi: You know, what’s funny, I started singing before I started playing the guitar. So, I started playing the piano before I started playing the guitar too, and songwriting before I even thought about shredding or doing anything like that. So yeah, it’s been, I didn’t know like… There started to have people like, ”Are you’re a guitar player?” I’m like, ”Yeah, I’m a guitar player” but I’m like ”Mostly I’m a songwriter and singer in that.”

ANTIHERO: And you’ve of course you’ve played with many, many big names. I just wondered going back to your experiences with playing with the likes of Carlos Santana, Carrie Underwood, Alice Cooper. What did they actually teach you as a musician or did they more or less, just leave it up to you to find your own feet?

Orianthi: I mean, yeah. When they asked me to collaborate with them, Carrie Underwood or whatever it should say, bring your own thing, what I do. And when you collaborate with that, it’s like that. It’s a cool experience. I love doing that.

ANTIHERO: Do you see yourself now after the release of this album as a solo artist primarily moving forward, or do you see yourself working with other artists in the future again?

Orianthi: I’ll leave the door open because if the right artist can come along as like, ”Hey, I like you to add on, or I would you like to guest on a tour or something?” Sure. If it feels right, yeah. But at the same time, I’m pretty, right now in the mode of being a solo artist. But I do write for other people and I enjoy that. Yeah, a lot.

ANTIHERO: There are some very personal songs on the album, I’m thinking specifically of “Crawling Out of The Dark.” Did you find it difficult to convey those sentiments or did you find a therapeutic process?

Orianthi: It’s actually very therapeutic because I wrote that with my friend and she’s just a great writer. This song was actually not just my story, it was actually her story. I took some from my stories, from my past relationships to some friends’ relationships too, and kind of put them all together. And made it almost a really toxic sort of country, Chris Stapleton song in a way, but yeah, I only like ”Is there one relationship where something’s at that it’s like, no, actually the guy quite a few, that people go through and whether it be, honestly I’ve changed my people around me too, with friendships as well, from relationships that were really toxic. 

ANTIHERO: Have you ever created a song where it’s become too emotional, too raw, and too difficult to actually put out there in the public domain and it’s just something that you’ve kept for yourself? Or do you feel that songs are all about sharing?

Orianthi: I have a few songs that I might put out one day that are kind of like that, you kind of wait for the right time. Yeah.

ANTIHERO: Of course, the album illustrates a variety of musical styles and genres and not just the hard rock that you’re known for. Do you see, was that a conscious decision to illustrate different sides of you? You mentioned that that has got country elements and different elements of songs. If you find that it’s better to sort of diversify rather than just be labeled as a hard rock guitarist and singer.

Orianthi: Yeah. I like to keep things interesting for myself too, and change it up and all that. But, this record is definitely very five minutes, and a lot of different things going on with it. So yeah, we dig it.

ANTIHERO: What would’ve been, just a few general questions. What would have been your first musical experience? Can you recall your first introduction to music? Maybe growing up, maybe a song on the radio?

Orianthi: Yeah, my dad, when he put on a band, he saw one day and I was blown away.

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ANTIHERO: And that was that for you? Did you always want to be a professional musician? Was that always your driving ambition and career?

Orianthi: Yeah. Honestly, it’s like the first one I had Elvis Presley or The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, and the stuff that really inspired me, and Elvis was a huge influence on me all of a sudden The Beatles just got songwriters. And then that’s where I was. The first time I heard The Beatles, what incredible songs. It was one after the other.

ANTIHERO: And of course, with the current situation, you’ve had a lot of extra time. You mentioned that you would have been touring. How do you spend that extra time? Because it must be totally new to you to have all this extra time on your hands. Have you developed or found any new spare time interests or hobbies?

Orianthi: Honestly, I have no extra time these days.  So I have nonstop press, I’m doing videos, sorting through different things, going out and stuff with my new management team, figuring out next year. There’s a constant, I’m running and doing many other projects too yet to be announced, which I can’t even mention, but there’s my downtime. I’m actually trying to find some time off. 

ANTIHERO: Right. Do you still have, I mean, you’ve achieved many already in your young career, many career goals, that many would see as career goals. Do you still have hopes and dreams and if so, what would they be?

Orianthi: Yeah, I hope that, to go on a full-on world tour when things get better. There are a lot of different things I want to do for sure. Collaboration’s, an animated movie I want to put out, that I’ve been working on for quite some time. Yeah. A lot of different things.

ANTIHERO: That movie. Is it about yourself or is it yourself doing some art thing or is it something that you’ve written?

Orianthi: Yeah, it’s a collaboration I did with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. Yeah, we both wrote and created this story. It’s an animated film and it’s going to be out hopefully in the next year or so. That’d be really cool.

ANTIHERO: Any title or anything you can let slip in regards to that or is it all top secret?

Orianthi: Okay. I’ve already said too much about it. We were going to pass some time and I hope that gets out certainly later. But yeah most different things, other things I’m working on right now, too. A cooking show might be coming up as well.

ANTIHERO: Really?

Orianthi: Yeah.

ANTIHERO: Do you like to cook or is it something that was suggested to you? “You should do a cooking show.”

Orianthi: I love cooking. Anyone that knows me gets fed very well.

ANTIHERO: Any particular favourite styles of cooking or do you like just creating your own sort of dishes?

Orianthi: You know what, I like creating healthier alternatives to bad food.

ANTIHERO: And I’m sure on tour, you must’ve seen lots of examples of bad food, all sorts of crew catering, and all sorts of spam catering.

Orianthi: Oh yes, of course. I had my special request of course, to her that you can fall into that “bad eating, not working out” situation. And now I’m pretty much a health freak so, you know.

ANTIHERO: Just looking at your career to date and the decisions you’ve made, anything else, any advice you would have given your younger self, anything that you feel that you’ve maybe could have done or handled differently?

Orianthi: I could’ve got a great attorney when I first got here, that would be good and not signed a contract, but aside from that, I don’t really have any huge regrets. Yeah. I’ll have to know. It kind of leads to something else. And I think it’s like a butterfly effect that you can’t really change one thing. Right. Yeah.

ANTIHERO: You mentioned there, I mean earlier you had scheduled touring plans, which obviously now I have to be put on hold. Just wondering to what extent those touring plans did include the UK and Europe as well as the States. Or was the plan just to go to the States first, see how the album takes off and then move on to other countries?

Orianthi: Those plans of coming around here to say it to the shore. Yeah, absolutely. And everywhere, it would have been France, London everywhere. Yeah, sure. I think even Greece was on that too.

ANTIHERO: And with those, would those have been headlining dates with, or with yourself doing maybe major support to another artist.

Orianthi: I think a bit of both.

ANTIHERO: Just a final one then. I’m sure you’ve done many of these interviews, but if the roles were reversed, who would you personally like to sit down and interview?

Orianthi: Let me think about it. God, I don’t know. Probably Eric Clapton.

ANTIHERO: That’s great. Thank you very much for chatting. As I say, I love the album and hopefully, we’ll get to see you in the UK playing some live dates and the near future.

Orianthi: I cannot wait to come back over there. So, I’ll let you know when I’m there and I’d like to see you. That would be great.

ANTIHERO: That’d be brilliant. Thank you very much for chatting to me.

Orianthi: Thank you so much, take care.

ANTIHERO: And you. Bye.

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Mark Dean

I'm a 40+ music fan. Fond mostly of rock and metal - my staple musical food delights. Originally from Northern Ireland, I am now based in the UK-Manchester. I have a hectic musical existence with regular shows and interviews. Been writing freelance for five years now with several international websites. Passionate about what I do, I have been fortunate already to interview many of my all-time musical heroes. My music passion was first created by seeing Status Quo at the tender age of 15. While I still am passionate about my rock and metal, I have found that with age my taste has diversified so that now I am actually dipping into different musical genres and styles for the first time.

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