An exclusive Interview with the really rather talented Orianthi. As I've noted already Orianthi continues to draw guitar fans to Truth In Shredding, so I really appreciate the time that Orianthi put into the responses to my humble questions, particularly as her current schedule must be hectic to say the least. I also found some new video appropriate to the interview... OK formalities over... on with the interview... ENJOY!!!
[Truth In shredding] Orianthi is a 24 year old dynamic guitar force to be reckoned with. Her tone and groove have turned heads on the global stage, so much so she got the gig with the late great Michael Jackson. In this interview with discuss with Orianthi the driving force behind her rise to fame and learn what it takes to get to the top.Orianthi, like a lot of kids you started guitar early, playing acoustic guitar at the age of six. But unlike many you who fall by the way side, you continued on and moved on to electric guitar when you were eleven. So at what stage did you think to yourself, you know I love this and I want to be a guitar player and rock star?
[Orianthi] When I picked up the guitar at 6 I instantly had a passion for it. I loved to strum along to Elvis tunes, I wanted to be a performer and I would play at school assembleys and at luchtime I would invite everyone to come and see my show when i was around 7, 8 years old. If i forgot my guitar i would make one out of Milk cartons and rubber bands. The first song I ever wrote was "spin ur jackets around"
[Truth In shredding] It says in your biography, at the age of eleven you attended a Santana concert and got inspired, demanded a new electric guitar from your father! Now I guess that means your father was a big influence on you, is that correct and did you get your guitar influences from other people as well, can you tell us a bit a bout that?
[Orianthi] My Dad taught me how to strum chords and then he took me to lessons. My dad is a great player, he listened to a lot of Hendrix, Clapton and Santana and he had those records around the house. I would try and learn things off the records to impress him when he got home from work when I was younger. He recorded my first demo when I was 14 at home and we sent it out to all of the people in the industry i respected.. I recieved an email back from Carlos Santana's brother Jorge santana and he said that they loved the demo "Under The influence" and had been playing it in the office. I also got an email from Paul Reed Smith, and he really liked it also.
[Truth In shredding] As well as a guitar player you're a very good singer. It's only in special case this works out, for example Richie Kotzen is one of those people who is both an awesome guitar player and awesome singer and has successfully married the two. Do you see yourself following the model of singer songwriter who plays guitar or are you guitar player who can sing?
[Orianthi]Thank you, I started singing when I was 6 then stopped as i wanted to focus on playing guitar. I picked it back up again around 15 and I was very shy about singing in front of anyone. I started a cover band and I didnt want to be in the same room as them when I was singing because i was so shy about it. But as we rehearsed more I became comfortable with it. I think once you start singing, you can connect with more people. I hope people see me an an artist, who can sing, write, perform and play guitar.
Orianthi - "According To You"
[Truth In shredding] OK, so you went back to the guitar woodshed for a number of years before Santana came back to Adelaide. What sort of stuff were you working on in the meantime, what areas were you focusing on, who were your guitar influences?
[Orianthi] I was writing a lot songs, I was in a cover band playing in adelaide pubs/clubs. I supported Steve Vai when I was 15 and opened for ZZ Top when I was 16 and I played at quite a few large shows in Adelaide. I tried to learn as much as i could. I listened to a lot of Santana -I actually wore out a vhs of Sacred Fire because i kept on stopping and pausing it to learn everything Carlos was playing. I even went and bought the same triangle picks he used. I also listened to a lot of SRV, BB King and Eric Clapton.
[Truth In shredding] So when Santana came back to Adelaide some seven years after you first saw him how did you get to play on stage and what was that like for you?
[Orianthi] It was amazing to play with Carlos. I look up to him immensely and It was very surreal being up on the stage with him. He was very encouraging and to have his support means so much.
[Truth In shredding] Since then you've made guest appearances with Steve Vai, ZZ Top and Prince, what were you highlights from these experiences?
[Orianthi] I am so grateful to of played with theses amazing artists. Steve Vai is an incredible guitar player but also wonderful person. He has stayed in contact with me since I was 15. It was an honor to write "Highly Strung" with him for my record. Prince called me on my cell and had watched my youtube videos and said he really liked my playing and wanted to jam. We jammed at a recording studio in LA-Prince on Bass, Sheila E on Drums and me on guitar and singing. I had a wonderful time!
Orianthi - Shreds The Guitar
[Truth In shredding] OK on to the really big question that I know guitar be longing to find out about... We know The late King Of Pop Michael Jackson was a very big guitar fan having featured Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Slash, Steve Stevens, Jennifer Batten, Greg Howe and Larry Carlton on his records or live shows. So what everyone I talk to wants to know is what it was like to try out for and land the Michael Jackson gig, how cool was that? how nervous were you following from top players like Jennifer Batten and Greg Howe?
[Orianthi]I have never been that nervous in my Life, Michael Jackson is the Greatest Entertainer that has ever lived and I really wanted to play music with him. MIke Bearden reached out to me through myspace and he showed MIchael some youtube videos then called me to say that Michael loved my playing and wanted me to play for him. I was told to learn "Beat it, Dirty DIana and Wanna Be. I went in and played for MIke then Michael Jackson came in one night and we went into Beat it and they cranked my solo up...Michael seemed really happy afterwards and hired us all...it was an amazing moment. I look up to all the guitar players that have played with Michael, I wasn't going in to fill anyones shoes...i just hoped that he would dig my vibe.
[Truth In shredding] Are you nervous or excited to be appearing in the film, "Michael Jackson, this is it" which chronicles the rehearsals for the tour?
[Orianthi] 3 months of our lives were filmed preparing for what was going to be the greatest show on earth with the greatest entertainer as our leader. Everytime Michael came into the room i got nervous because I wanted him to be happy with my playing, sound ect. We felt like a family and i don't think there is a film out there as "real" as it. It was very hard for me to watch the first time. The second time it was a bit easier and looking back on incredible memories.
[Truth In shredding] My daughter "Shred Moogle" is a big fan of the Bratz, you played a song on the Bratz movie how did that come about?
[Orianthi] I wrote a song called now or never and Ron Fair thought it would be a great fit for the movie. I really want to inspire more young girls to play the guitar and that was the movies target audience.
[Truth In shredding] What tips can you give guitar players who are making that big leap to become the guitarist for a huge touring band?
[Orianthi] Practice, believe in yourself and your dreams and take risks....then you will have no regrets.
Orianthi - "Drive Away"
[Truth In shredding] Also I'm really keen to encourage girls into playng guitar and expressing themselves thorough the inner beauty of guitar. Truth in Shredding is searching high and low for new female guitar talent. Can you give any tips for girls who want to make in the guitar scene what they need to do to move forward, what they need to concentrate on? [
Orianthi] Playing with attitude, like you mean it. Don't let negativity get you down if you love i as much as the guys then believe in yourself and keep on going down your musical path. Its a journey, never stop learning.
[Truth In shredding] I know that you have completed work on upcoming album, which is due for release on October 27th 2009. You sing, you write and you lead your own band. What should we be expecting from you on this release, what are people going to be saying about Orianthi after this release
[Orianthi] Hopefully this record will reach a lot of people. Its an empowering album, every song is different and I think there is something for everyone on it. It has an 80's now vibe and I hope to inspire more girls to pick up the guitar and keep at it. I hope people say that it is a record that they want to put on in there car and not want to change it.
[Truth In shredding] : From a guitar point of you are you the finished article or are you still on the trail of gathering new techniques and new ideas?
[Orianthi] I think you can never stop learning and evolving musically.
[Truth In shredding] : We are in strange times, bank failures and global warming, I see that you have been promoting Eco-friendly acoustic guitars, is that something that you feel you need make people think about?
[Orianthi] I think that it is very important to be aware of the environment and to contribute helping it in any way we can. Planting more trees, recycling and using products that dont harm the earth. there is nothing more beautiful then nature.
[Truth In shredding] : Many guitar players ask me about web2.0 and how they should use this to build a fan base, I know you are on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have you got any tips or advice for people starting to use this technology, particularly when you get really popular?
[Orianthi] Its great to connect with fans as much as you can, it means so much to have their support. I like to reply to as many emails as I can and I read them all when i get a moment to. Its very important to reach out.
[Truth In shredding] : Apart from regular practice , is there anything you can recommend struggling guitar players who get stuck in a rut?
[Orianthi] Listen to new music, you tube different players and jam with as many people as you can.
[Truth In shredding] : Obviously you were Influenced by Carlos Santana, but can you list the key albums you would recommend that made a difference to you and your playing?
[Orianthi] SRV..he played with such fire, attitude. BB King...he can hit one note and move you. Steve Vai...he can play everything, you can never stop learning off him.
[Truth In shredding] A little left field question here, being an English man, aka a whining Pomme, I know Aussies tend to be sport mad fans and particularly cricket, is that the same with you? Do you follow Cricket? What did you think of the recent Ashes defeat, should Ricky Ponting go?
[Orianthi] Im not a real cricket fan but i do appreciate sports. I was more into watching the AFL..aussie rules...go the crows!
[Truth In shredding] I would like to thank you so much for spending time answering these questions and we wish you all the best for the future, you deserve it!
[Orianthi] Thank you so much , Peace and love to you x