Tag Archive | "Keith Urban"

Keith Urban Records Original Track For Relativity Media’s Navy SEAL Thriller ‘Act of Valor’

Keith Urban Records Original Track For Relativity Media’s Navy SEAL Thriller ‘Act of Valor’

'Act of Valor'

Relativity Media is pleased to announce its upcoming collaboration with Grammy® Award-winner Keith Urban for the heart-pounding Navy SEAL action-thriller Act of Valor. Urban’s “For You,” co-written by Urban and Monty Powell, marks the first time that Urban has written and recorded a song specifically for a motion picture, and it will be featured during the film’s end credits. In theatres February 24, 2012, the Bandito Brothers’ Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs along with Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle and Nestor Serrano and tells a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism. Urban’s current single “You Gonna Fly” is currently #10 on the country radio charts and climbing.

“I loved the challenge of writing for a film,” said Urban. “I’ve never done that before. After seeing Act Of Valor, my co-writer (Monty Powell) and I wanted to capture the essence of not only what these men and women do so extraordinarily, but how that relates to all of us. ‘Valor’ shows us what they are willing to give their all for, which made me wonder, ‘what am I willing to give my life for?’ ‘For You’ is intended to allow the listener to define who that is for them.”

“For You” was co-produced by Dan Huff and Urban and was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at Starstruck Studios. The song was engineered by Mark Dobson and Todd Tidwell, mixed by Mike Shipley at Animal House, and mastered by Brent Blackwood at Euphonic Masters.

The Act of Valor soundtrack, featuring the song “For You” by Urban, will be available digitally on iTunes® and physically in music retail locations on Tuesday, February 21st. Also to be announced, are additional original songs inspired by the film from more of today’s top country music artists.

Produced and directed by former Baja 1000 champion Mike “Mouse” McCoy and former stuntman Scott Waugh, and written by Kurt Johnstad (300), Act of Valor takes audiences deep into the secretive world of the most elite, highly trained group of warriors in the modern world. When the rescue of a kidnapped CIA operative leads to the discovery of a deadly terrorist plot against the U.S., a team of SEALs is dispatched on a worldwide manhunt. As the valiant men of Bandito Platoon race to stop a coordinated attack that could kill and wound thousands of American civilians, they must balance their commitment to country, team and their families back home. Inspired by true events, the film combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the minute battlefield technology and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure.

The next film on the studio’s growing slate is Oscar®-winner Steven Soderbergh’s dynamic Haywire debuting in theatres January 20, 2012. This highly anticipated action-thriller stars Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Angarano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton and introduces mixed martial arts (MMA) star Gina Carano in a demanding lead role that has her performing her own high-adrenaline stunts. Haywire tells the story of Mallory Kane, a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. Using her black-ops military training, she devises an ingenious – and dangerous – trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she’ll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary. The release marks Soderbergh’s 25th film.

Relativity’s expansive upcoming slate also includes the magical adventure comedy Mirror Mirror (in theatres March 16, 2012), starring Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane, and Armie Hammer. The studio just wrapped production on the comedy 21 and Over and is currently in pre-production on Nicholas Sparks’ gripping love story Safe Haven and the international espionage thriller Hunter Killer.

For more information about the film, please visit http://www.actofvalormovie.com.

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Richard Marx Shares His Stories With Billboard, To Release New Album Stories to Tell On February 7th!

Richard Marx Shares His Stories With Billboard, To Release New Album Stories to Tell On February 7th!

Richard Marx has stories to tell in more ways than one. The veteran hit maker recently sat down to share memories about his number 1 hits “Hold On To The Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” and “Satisfied” as part of a new video series from Billboard to celebrate reaching 1,000 No. 1 songs on its Hot 100 chart. “I just write songs that I’m proud of, that I like, that I want people to hear,” explains Marx, “I’ve never had the experience of either phoning it in or thinking, ‘Ooh I’ve got a smash here.'”

Marx, who has also written hit songs for Keith Urban, N’Sync, and Luther Vandross among others, will further celebrate his legendary career with his upcoming solo release, Stories to Tell, a collection of his greatest hits, acoustic versions, and live tracks that will also include a DVD of Marx’s recent performance at the famed Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. The deluxe album, currently available exclusively at Walmart and Richard Marx’s online store, will get a wide release on February 7th.

Visit Richard’s official site for more details, and be sure to enter his special iPad giveaway at www.richardmarx.com/ipadcontest.

Be sure to check out Icon Vs. Icon’s recent interview with Richard Marx and get the scoop on all of his upcoming musical projects for 2012!

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Richard Marx Discusses His Epic Career And His Many Upcoming Projects!

Richard Marx Discusses His Epic Career And His Many Upcoming Projects!

Richard Marx first exploded onto the music scene in the 80’s and captivated the MTV generation with his first hit single,”Don’t Mean Nothing.” His stellar song-writing skills quickly earned the performer a string of hits including, ”Hold On To The Nights”, “Endless Summer Nights”, and “Now And Forever.” In the 20 plus years since his impressive debut, his hard work and dedication to his craft has continued to leave an undeniable mark on an ever-changing musical landscape and capture the imagination of music fans around the world. As a solo artist, he has sold more than 30-million albums worldwide, written 13 No. 1 singles and filled his mantle with a plethora of music industry awards. Even after his incredible run as one of rock’s biggest stars, Marx showed no signs of slowing down and quickly emerged as one of the music industry’s top producers working with some of the biggest names in the music business. Among those artists, *NSYNC, Barbra Streisand, Josh Groban, Vince Gill, 98°, Vixen, Luther Vandross, Kenny Rogers, The Tubes and SHeDAISY. More recently, he has written and produced records for Daughtry, Leann Rimes, Travis Tritt, Natalie Cole, Keith Urban, Paulina Rubio, Kenny Loggins, Michael Bolton and actor Hugh Jackman. With a resume like this, there is little doubt that he has incredible insight on the ever-changing music industry. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Richard Marx to discuss his musical influences, his epic career as a singer/songwriter, the projects that he is most excited about in 2012 and what the future might hold for one of music’s greatest talents!

Richard Marx

You have influenced many up and coming artists through the years and been part of so many interesting collaborations in music. I was curious to learn about your first memories of music in your life?

Wow, that is an interesting question. I think my first memory of music is the music that my father was making. My dad was a jingle writer, producer and composer. He had a grand piano in our basement but he did most of his composing in our basement on a Wurlitzer electric piano in his office. I remember him constantly writing the following day’s session on that Wurlitzer electric piano! There was always music being played in my house that my dad was creating and composing. There was also the music that I played and my parents listened to a lot of music of the day. That was probably the coolest thing growing up, that my parents, unlike all of my friend’s parents who listened to lame music, listened to cool music! [laughs] But the music that my dad was creating was the first music that I was aware of.

I am sure that having those experiences early on began to shape the artist that we see today. Who would you cite as your biggest influences as an artist and songwriter?

The person who made me want to become a songwriter — again, it was this thing where my dad sat me down and said “I want to play this album for you.” It was Paul Simon’s “Still Crazy After All These Years.” I loved that album and even as a kid I loved Simon & Garfunkel but I never really payed attention to the songwriting as much. Then I heard that record, it wasn’t a conscious thought because I was twelve years old, but I can look back on it and see the seed that started me wanting to write my own songs. Paul Simon and that record in particular where huge. But then there was everything from Billy Joel to Elton John to The Eagles and John Fogerty and on and on. My biggest influences were always those people as a songwriter. As a singer, Kenny Loggins was a huge influence on me! I was a huge fan of his voice and I still am to this day actually. We have become great friends over the years and have worked and performed together ‚ which is a real head trip for me! Aside from Kenny, there were people who were huge influences on my singing that you wouldn’t assume from listening to me, like Maurice White from Earth, Wind and Fire. I studied every nuance of his singing. I wish I sang like Maurice White but I don’t! [laughs] But I have found little things in his vocal approach that I have used from time to time. Sam Cooke, big time! And Rod Stewart, those were kind of my big influences as a vocalist. And then when I was just actually starting to become successful as a singer, I was on my first tour around the world and I was in Australia when I became aware of a singer that is really famous there but nowhere else named John Farnham. He became my favorite singer for years! It was really interesting to have someone influence me as an adult. It really affected the way in which I approached my live show and the next album I made was really influenced by John’s singing. I sorta still am. I sometimes find myself thinking “WWJD?” — “What Would John Do? [laughs]

Looking back on the early days of your career, did you think that you would be still going strong all these years later?

Richard Marx: A Music Legend

As a singer, certainly no and I was right. I don’t have anywhere near the career that I had as an artist that I had the first ten years but that is OK because I had ten years that I am very grateful for. The other part of the answer is that, yes, I always felt like if I didn’t worry so much about being a “rock star” and focused on being a songwriter, a producer and an arranger that I could sustain a long career. I knew that from a very young age. I did a little bit of that and that is how I started out, being a songwriter for other people. Even with my first couple of hits, in between albums I produced a band called Vixen and I produced a song for the band Poco and some stuff for The Tubes here and there — just different side projects. Then when I stopped having hits on the radio, within a year I was a full on writer/producer for other people. I think that is what has enabled me to sustain way longer than if it was just about me as a singer. It is clear that my career as a singer, a popular singer, was pretty much struggling by the end of the 90s but again that was after ten years of hits, so I can’t complain!

You have a truly amazing body of work for both yourself as an artist and the songs that you have written for others. What can you tell us about your typical writing process and how you craft a song?

Richard Marx

The music always tends to come first. There are very few people that I know that have it happen that way. Billy Joel is one who tends to write the music first. I tend to live with the music first and it tells me what the lyrics should be about. That is always the case. Aside from that, the process depends on whether I am writing for myself or someone else. If I am writing for myself, the process is that I don’t try to write a song. I write things every day and things just come to me. It can be when I am driving in the car, in the shower, sitting at dinner or watching a movie. All kinds of things will spark a musical idea or even just a lyrical thought. It is very unconscious and it is not like I am “trying to write a song.” It is something that over the past twenty years or so has become as common as getting an itch, if you know what I mean. It happens every day. When it comes to collaborating, it is totally different. For example, Keith Urban and I have to say “Ok, Thursday, March 23rd at this place, we are going to get together and be creative!” In that case it isn’t about letting inspiration happen, because we are scheduled. What I bring into a writing session like that, with whoever it is, is a collection of previous inspiration — inspired moments. So, when I am in my car driving around and I get an idea, I will think “Oh, this would be really cool for Keith!” I might sing it into my phone or even flesh it out a little bit. I collect folders with little snippets of songs for any number of artists so that when I do come into the situation to write with them, I already have, hopefully, some inspired ideas that we can kick things off with! That is pretty much it. I try, as a writer, to stay away from an instrument. I play guitar and piano but I try really hard not to let those instruments affect the way I write because I am not that great at either one of them! [laughs] I can manage! But I think that if you constantly use an instrument to write, you are limited to what you are able to play. If you just let your imagination be your instrument then it is completely limitless. I have found that 99% of the songs that I have written that I really, really love, I wasn’t anywhere near an instrument when I wrote it.

You recently released a really fantastic Christmas EP. I was actually kind of surprised that you hadn’t done that in the past. What made you say “now is the time” to release a project like this?

I got old! [laughs] All the years where we were having hit after hit with the label, my manager would say “We should do a Christmas album!” I was like “Uhhhhhhh, really? Isn’t that what old people do?” And now I am forty eight! So that was part of it, that I was mentally ready to accept that. The other part of it was really organic as well as for the last seven or eight years, I have recorded a song with my three sons, who are all really talented musically, for my wife every Christmas as a gift for her. It started out with my kids singing a very kid-friendly, fun song. The following year I created a track of “Silent Night” and they all sang harmonies and it was great. As my kids developed musically, they wanted more input into it, so we would really do it together. They would play instruments and we would create the track together as well as having them sing. It became this special thing where every Christmas, our friends would ask “Where is the new Marx Brothers Christmas song? We can’t wait!” So a lot of this project started with the songs that I had done with them. I just simply went in and re-cut them but the arrangements had already been fleshed out by doing the arrangements with my sons which was really great. There is an all a capella song on the EP that is just the four of us singing all of the parts.

Richard Marx Hard At Work

Wow! What a special project. Do you have any plans on developing this into a full album in the future?

Yeah, I am planning on it actually. In April, I will be headed back to the studio to do another seven tracks. I wrote a song a couple of years ago that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I had this opportunity to write a song with a guy named David Grusin. He was a hero of mine when I was a kid, a teenager. He is an Academy Award winning film composer. He scored movies like “Tootsie,” “On Golden Pond,” “Heaven Can Wait,” and on and on! That guy is just amazing! He is in his late seventies now and I got an opportunity to write a song with him. We wrote a beautiful piece of music and I just wasn’t sure what to do with it until I recently thought “Oh, I will turn this into a Christmas song!” That is something that will be on the record. But it will probably be two or three originals and the rest will be the classics. We will have a full blown album for next year!

What else do you have on the horizon musically for 2012?

Early in 2010, I started these solo acoustic shows after years and years of playing with a band when I would tour. My agent had asked me about doing a solo acoustic show. At the time, I had done shows for benefits where I did four or five songs acoustically but I told him I didn’t think I could do a whole show like that. My agent called me a coward! He said “You mean you’re not talented enough? Or good enough or brave enough or what?” [laughs] He called me out! [laughs] I said “Look, let’s set up two shows somewhere and I will try it but I am telling you I can’t do two hours of this!” I worked up a show and I put it together and I was never more nervous in my life. I did the shows and I have never had so much fun! Since then, I have been touring that way and I have gone to Europe and I played the Albert Hall not too long ago. We just came back from Asia, where I played in China, Malaysia and Singapore. So we will be doing a bunch more solo acoustic shows, at least through the summer. It is great because I play basically two long weekends a month and it isn’t a grind like a huge tour and I get to come home in between. I am having more fun playing live now than I ever have!

That is great. I was able to catch one of your performances mid-2011 at a venue in my hometown. It was cool because it is a small venue and everyone there is familiar with your work. You really blew everyone away.

Oh yeah?!! Where was that?

The Avalon Theatre in Easton, Maryland.

Oh yeah! That is great and thank you for saying that. I have never had so much fun! I never would have expected to stumble into this other way of performing at this stage of the game but it has really been a blast.

Richard Marx

You did quite a few dates with Matt Scannell of Vertical Horizon last year for the ‘Duo’ album. Will we see some more shows like that as well?

We are going to do a couple of dates together because Matt is like my brother! The shows with Matt are really different too because it is trading songs. I really love doing that with him but I love equally, if not more so, when it is just me and the audience and pulling completely from my catalog of songs and songs that I have written for other people. But yeah, Matt and I are definitely going to do some more shows and some things acoustically but we are about halfway done making a rock record! We have maybe five more songs to do. We have about half of a record in the can that we are really excited about that is a full on, produced rock record!

That sounds great! Is there a timeframe that you have in mind for a release on that project?

Well, our respective careers get in the way of that because I have a new record coming out in the spring and he is finishing a new Vertical Horizon record. We wrote a really cool song for that. So, maybe it will be in the Fall. I would love for people, in 2012, to hear this duo record and have something out in the marketplace that is Matt and I together because he is awesome!

What can you tell us about your new album that is headed our way in the Spring?

Except for a couple of really recent songs, they are songs that I have sorta collected and worked on over the past few years that I just haven’t found the right opportunity or timing to put out. Now I realize that there is no right time and I should just put it out! It is a modern, rock record. It is melodic, 2012 version of what I do, ya know? Having come off of this acoustic record and the live DVD from a show in England, it really just made me think that I wanted to put out a new pop/rock record that is representative of the stuff that I am writing right now.

Your career has so many defining moments and different aspects. Is there something that you haven’t tackled musically that you would like to pursue?

Yeah. It is only in the past eighteen months that it has entered my mind but I think I would like to write a show, like a Broadway show. I don’t think that I would ever want to be in one, never say never, but the idea of doing the same show every day of the week and a matinee doesn’t appeal to me. I would be really into it the first week but then I would be like “Wait? We’re not done?! We’ve already done this a bunch, let’s do something else!” [laughs] But I love the idea of writing something that would be performed like that. I actually have an idea, it is very embryonic, that I am working on with a writer, a screenwriter, named Randall Wallace. He wrote “Braveheart” and “We Were Soldiers”. He is a very dear friend of mine and is a brilliant writer, obviously. He and I have a little thing that we are working on and developing together, where Randy would write the book and we would write the songs together, which would be a lot of fun!

You have had a very interesting career and I am sure that you have seen a lot along the way. Any chance for an autobiography at some point in the future?

I think that the idea of that is possible, further down the line. At this stage of the game, there are a lot of stories and some of them are unflattering of other people, so I wouldn’t want to do that. That is just not something I am into. However, I have been messing around writing narratives that are similar to the stories that I tell on stage — fleshing out stories about some of the records that I have made or writing/recording with different people or funny things that have happened to me. They are all positive and they don’t reflective unflatteringly on anyone. So yeah, I am looking at maybe doing something like that, but the way in which the music industry has changed as well as the literary world where book sales are in the toilet too and book stores are closing everywhere you look, so I am looking at maybe doing a series of essays. They would be available online or something like that. We are trying to come up with the right format for it. But the answer is “Yes!” I have been doing a little bit of writing that is autobiographical but that isn’t a typical autobiography.

That leads to my next question. You do a great job with your website and the different social media outlets. Do you feel that social media has had a big impact on you as an artist?

Richard Marx

Well, I have come along very reluctantly. I have kinda come along on this thing kicking and screaming! [laughs] It was only about two months ago that I started Tweeting because I was so against it. But then I started to think “Well, it’s not going away.” and I didn’t want to be the old guy saying “These kids today and with this Twitter thing!” I didn’t want to be that guy! [laughs] I started to think, “Is there a way that I can do it that will be entertaining for me that won’t be mind-numbingly lame?” When I would look at other people’s Twitter pages, I would just see what they had for breakfast or “Nothing like a warm chocolate chip cookie!” I wanted to go “Fuck You! Who cares!” Ya know what I mean!?!! [laughs] My whole objective is to try and be funny or if there is a band or an artist or a book or film that I am really crazy about I can bring some attention to it. I went on this rampage about The Civil Wars because I saw them in concert and I think they are brilliant. For things like that, I think it is pretty valuable. It’s here and it’s here to stay. It will continue to evolve but how it effects my career, I am not really sure. I know that in the past couple of months of really being more active on Twitter, it has created a little bit different perception. Some of the people, who for whatever reason have stumbled across my Twitter page, had pegged me a serious singer/songwriter guy are now going “Oh my God, this guy is a total goofball!” I think it is good because it kinda educates some people as to who you are. I don’t know how that translates into the career stuff though or how it translates into the most important part of it all for me, which is the songwriting and putting the music out there. Like I said, it is a learning curve for me and I just try to do stuff that I am enjoying. When I put a video blog on the website, I want it either to be funny or heart felt or sincere or entertaining in some way, shape or form and not mind-numbing.

Speaking as a fan, I think you are succeeding at that it comes across very well.

Thanks, man! I really appreciate that!

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in the music industry in this current climate?

Richard Marx: Decades of Musical Excellence

The bad news is that the music industry is shrinking more every second, so the opportunities for everyone. For example, my sons all want to be in the music business in one way or another. There is a huge, mind-blowing difference between when I started out and what they are looking at. The opportunities that were available to me were vast. While I was trying to get a record deal, I was writing songs for other people and singing background vocals on other people’s records, I was arranging tracks for other artists, I would produce people’s demos for fifty bucks or I would do whatever! There were so many musical jobs I could do and slots to fill and there was availability to do stuff because the business was big. There were a lot of people who didn’t know how to do all of those things, so I could stay really busy, pay my rent and wait for my shot in a happy way! My dues paying was lengthy, three or four years of being rejected and all of that but it was also a great time because I was working, I was learning and racking up credits in the music business. Today, that is pretty much gone. Now, it is all about new media. I had this record company executive tell me recently “If you and I went out to a club and saw the greatest live band in the world, unless they have X amount of Facebook “Likes” and Twitter followers, I can’t sign them.” All of that social media work has to be done in advance. The record company won’t do it for you and they won’t sign you unless you have it. I looked at this guy and I said “If you find a great band and they end up having a couple hundred thousand followers on Facebook, what do they need you for?” And these people, there record company people don’t get it. What a record company provides now is not what they provided before, back in the days of a record company being a machine, like the Clive Davis days. It’s over! And that in a way is a really good thing because now it is about people getting their music to the people that want to hear it. We all have to adjust to the fact that there was a time when people would think “If I write some hit songs, I am really going to make a killing.” Well, that just really isn’t true anymore. It is not as lucrative as it used to be. It doesn’t really effect someone like me because I have, thank God, this catalog of hit songs but if I was just starting out right now, I would need to do something else for a living to sustain myself. The advice I give people is that if you heart is in this and it is all about wanting to share your art, then it doesn’t matter if you make money doing it or not, just do it. If you have to have another job to sustain yourself, still write songs and still make indie records. But if you want to be a star and that is why you are doing this, then don’t.

In your opinion, what does the future hold for Richard Marx? What are you looking forward to most in the long term?

Richard Marx

Ya know, if there is anything that I have learned through the years, it is to stop looking ahead. I was always “Mr. Eighteen Months In Advance,” knowing what my life was going to be and producing that project or wanting to have this accomplished by that date. I am trying to get better at living in the present and because — who knows? I don’t know what I am going to write next week, I don’t know who I am going to write for or with next month and that is kinda OK with me right now! When I look around at the music business right now, I see chaos. I can’t build the future on chaos, I just have to try and tread the waters that I am in. Again, someone like me to not have to worry about it in terms of livelihood, it’s a blessing. But I still love being on the team! I love being a part of the modern day music business as opposed to being a guy that just shows up to play his old hits every now and again. I am lucky that there are these young artists that ring me up and say “Hey, can we write a song with you!” These guys are already on my iPod, like Chris Daughtry or Jason Wade from Lifehouse, artists like these that I am a fan of to begin with! As long as those calls keep coming in from people like that, then I’ll be a happy guy!

Anything you want to tell your fans before I let you go?

I just hope that 2012 is the best year of their lives and mine too!

Thanks so much for your time, Richard. We will continue to spread the word on all your endeavors!

Thanks, Jason! And I appreciate you coming out to the show. It was great hearing that! Hopefully, you will come see us again!

Definitely, I highly recommend your show to anyone and I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!

Awesome! Take care, buddy! Happy New Year!

– –

For all the latest new from Richard Marx, check out his official website at www.richardmarx.com! You can also connect with him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/richardmarx.

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Guitar Goddess Orianthi Talks About Her Debut Album, Michael Jackson & More!

Guitar Goddess Orianthi Talks About Her Debut Album, Michael Jackson & More!


At 24 years old, Orianthi has already experienced what most aspiring musicians may spend a lifetime trying to obtain. She has opened for Steve Vai, played with Carlos Santana, jammed with Prince and blew away the audience with her performance alongside Carrie Underwood at the Grammys. Most recently, this astounding guitar virtuoso was hand-picked to by the late King of Pop (Michael Jackson) to serve as the guitarist on his tour farewell tour and is featured prominently in the This Is It documentary which has thrilled countless fans worldwide. Armed with her guitar, some kick-ass guitar riffs and an adventurous spirit, this rising star has her sights set on becoming a full blown pop sensation! Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Orianthi to talk about her blossoming career, working alongside rock royalty, her debut album, “Believe,” and what the future holds for her.

orianthi-3How did music first come into your life?

When I was six, I picked up the guitar for the first time. My Dad had guitars all around the house. He is a guitarist and I would see him in great bands. He had records by Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Carlos Santana, Elvis Presley and Eric Clapton. I would listen to those. When I was ten, I studied classical and then when I was eleven, I saw Carlos Santana perform in Adelaide, Australia. That is when I went to my Dad and said “I don’t want to play classical anymore, I want to play electric guitar!” I begged him for an electric and I got a second hand Paul Reed Smith and I never put it down! I wanted to learn as many Carlos Santana songs and solos as I could. I just love it!

What has kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist?

Just listening to different records and guitarists. I think that you can never stop learning from guitarists like Carlos Santana and Steve Vai. They are just amazing. They are my two idols and it is awesome to have their support and encouragement. I got to jam with Carlos when I was eighteen and that was a dream come true! When I was fifteen I got to open for Steve Vai in Adelaide, Australia and he kept in contact with me and we wrote a song for the record, Believe, which is called “Highly Strung”. It was a real honor to work with him.

You mentioned your debut album ‘Believe’. What can you tell us about the album for those who might not be familiar with it yet?

I set out to create a really commercial record, a pop-rock record that has lots of guitar solos that has sort of an “eighties now” vibe to it. I think that it is an empowering record. It’s not negative lyrically and I hope to inspire a lot more people to pick up the guitar, especially girls. I want them to keep at it and never give up because there aren’t too many female guitar players out there, so if I could inspire more, that would be awesome!

What can you tell us about the writing process for that record?

Well, when I first moved over from Adele to LA, I started writing. I went over and wrote in Nashville and in LA. I worked with some great songwriters . I love the whole process, ya know, of going into a room and sitting around to come up with something that you never thought you would have at the end of the day. I always come up with guitar riffs or sometimes I am humming melodies of chords and stuff, writing lyrics with different people, it just turns out differently each time. It’s not like when you go into a room and write a song by yourself. It may turn out completely the way you want it but when you have other people come in, they have other ideas that they bring to the table that you would never think of. I like that process! I think that it is really cool!

orianthi-believe-240x240What was the biggest challenge in making the record?

Trying to make sure that all of the songs where really strong, chorus wise. I wanted to make a record that people could put into their car and not want to change. I worked with producer Howard Benson, who is an incredible producer, we very much focused on the choruses and not putting too much guitar playing into it. We wanted just enough so that it was still really guitar based, but not too much so that someone who is not a guitarist who is listening to it gets put off by it. So, I guess the challenge was balancing those elements. I am really proud of the record and hopefully it connects with a lot of people.

You are plugged into the different social networks like Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. How have your fans been responding to the album?

They are really liking it! I am getting some very nice emails and support. It has been really good. They are waiting for us to get out and tour. I can’t wait to do that with the new stuff! We have been rehearsing as a band and playing the new stuff, so there will be more guitar solos live and we are looking at where to extend them. We have been having a lot of fun with it and the support has been great!

Are there are any concrete tour plans in the future or are you still working on that?

We are still waiting to hear who we are going to be touring with. At the moment, we are on this crazy radio/press tour, traveling around, meeting different people throughout the country and seeing more of America. It’s very cool!

Hopefully you like what you have seen so far!

Oh yeah, definitely!

Many people got their initial exposure to you and your guitar skills through Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’. How did you get that gig?

orianthi-4I actually got the gig through Myspace. I got an email from Mike Beardon. He saw me jamming at the Grammy Awards with Carrie Underwood. He reached out to me through Myspace and I didn’t think that it was for real. He told me to learn “Beat It”, “Dirty Diana” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”. I learned the tracks and I was super nervous but I went in and played for Mike Beardon and Michael Jackson came in one night and I played “Beat It” with a cranked up guitar solo. MJ was looking right at me and I was very nervous. I have never been that nervous in my life! He hired us all that night. It seemed like a dream! It was awesome playing for him.

I am sure that you have seen the film by now, right?

Yeah, I have seen it twice.

Did it capture that moment in time accurately, as far as your experience goes?

Oh yeah, totally! There were cameras around all the time and for me I almost became unaware of them being there because you are so focused on your part, what you are doing and trying to make Michael happy with what you were doing. I don’t think that you are going to see a “more real” movie. It is a documentary that invites you into our world for three months. I think that Kenny (Ortega) did an awesome job of putting it together, it really makes you feel like you were there. The first time I saw it was very emotional and I didn’t know how I was going to sit through it. The second time, it was a look back at incredible memories of working with a musical icon that I looked up to immensely.

What is your fondest memory from working alongside The King of Pop?

Ya know, he just wanted the best out of all of us. He was a perfectionist but he was very kind with it. I remember one time, just after I had auditioned for him, I was walking down the corridor of where were were rehearsing. Michael was coming down with his bodyguard and there was nobody else around. I was wearing a hat and I didn’t have my hair down like when he had seen me before in the audition, so I didn’t know if he would recognize me. I thought I might just run away into a room or something but then I decided to just be normal and say hello to him! He was really nice and grabbed my hand and said hello and “God bless you. I will see you soon!” He was just really a kind person and didn’t seem to have an ego. That made me smile for the rest of the day!

You have worked with such musical icons as Carlos Santana, Steve Vai and Michael Jackson, of course. I was curious to know who else you might like to collaborate with in the future?

I would love to do a some with B.B. King or Eric Clapton. That would be awesome! Prince! That would be really cool! I got to jam with Prince but we never recorded anything but that would be terrific. Also, Keith Urban. I am a big country fan.

orianthi-5What do you hope that people come away with after listening to your music or seeing your live performance?

As a band, we just love playing. We want to keep that child-like spirit up and inspire to pick up the guitar and have fun. Hopefully, when people see us live they think we are a very powerful band. We work really hard to make sure all of the parts compliment each other, so hopefully people will get inspired and pick up the guitar when they get home, that would be awesome!

How did you first get involved with Paul Reed Smith and what has that experience been like for you?

It’s been great! I love his guitars! Like I said, after seeing Santana I begged for a guitar and it had to be a Paul Reed Smith. So I got a second hand Custom 24. When I was fourteen, I actually made a demo and sent it out to Paul and he wrote back to me. He really liked it. Then when I was eighteen, I got to jam with Carlos in Australia and he took that DVD of us jamming to Paul. Paul invited me over to the NAMM show and I came over to play in the booth. I think it was in 2005, I was with Carlos there and his son was in the audience. He knew my A&R guy and he asked for my MP3s and forwarded it on to Ron Fair, who I auditioned for and that is how I got my record deal. That is kinda how it happened. Paul has been super-supportive and there is some exciting news coming up in January! I’m not going to say what, but I am really excited! It is really exciting to be working with him. He is a great guy, really supportive and I just really love his guitars. I think that he is the best guitar maker in the world!

You have worked with so many icons from the industry in your career. What is the best piece of advice someone has given you along the way?

I got a lot of advice from Steve Vai and Carlos Santana. Just play from your heart, play what you feel. that is what I learned from them. Also, never stop learning. I think it is very important to keep on evolving as a player and to learn from other people. Every one I play with, be it a drummer, bass player or a guitar player, everyone approaches it differently. We all come from a different musical world and I think it is really important to learn as much as a you can from each other. When I sit back and I am eighty-five, I want to still be able to move forward as a player and not just be stuck in one place, if you know what I mean. So yeah, it is very important to never stop learning.

orianthi-2Have you had a ‘Spinal Tap Moment’ on stage where something totally unexpected has happened to you?

Yeah! I used to play in a cover band from when I was about fifteen until I was about twenty in Adelaide. We used to play two or three nights a week, Top 40 stuff. We played a wedding one time out in the country. This one guy was really drunk and poured his beer into the fold-back and the wedges, the power went out and he fell. During his fall he hit the mic which bruised my lip and he fell into the bass drum! [laughs] That was very… dramatic! [laughs] It is kinda funny looking back on it but it wasn’t funny at the time. But yeah, I try not to trip over chords, especially when I am wearing high heels. It was a challenge running up in wedges for the ‘This Is It’ show. I was thinking the whole time that I was going to land on my butt! [laughs] As a guitar player, I don’t know if we have the best sense of direction but trying to find the stage with the band is sometimes a challenge! Definitely Spinal Tap! [laughs]

Is there anything else you want to add or let your fans know?

Yeah! Thank you so much for your support! I really appreciate it. I read all of the emails, I can’t reply to all of them but I love reading them and I try to reply to as many as I can! Thank you, everyone!

2009 has been quite a big year for you and I am sure 2010 will be even bigger. All the best to you!

Thank you!

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Get all the latest information on Orianthi at her official website, www.orianthi.com. You can also connect with her on Myspace or Twitter! Be sure to check out her debut album, Believe, on iTunes!

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