Concerts / Adorable. For an artist that has shredded on the guitar with the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson and Carlos Santana, that’s the last word one would think of to describe Orianthi. But in fact she is nothing but adorable sweetness over the phone.
Before coming to Hawaii for Band Camp, Australian-born Orianthi chatted with the Weekly about her hit singles (“According to You” and “Shut Up and Kiss Me”), meeting Michael Jackson, inspiring female guitarists and the trouble with tanning Down Under.
How you doing?
I’m doing well. I can’t wait to come to Hawaii.
Where are you now?
I’m in LA.
Working or taking a break?
Working on new songs for my next record. I’m excited about how it’s coming together. I can’t wait to get back in the studio and start recording. It’s gonna be more rock than the last record.
What kinda rock can we expect to hear from you?
Sort of AC/DC and U2 and 30 Seconds to Mars. After playing show after show, you realize the sound is really rock and that’s what I feel most comfortable playing.
What’s the origin of your name?
It’s actually Greek. I’m half Greek. I was named after my grandma. Most people call me Ori. It’s much easier.
What does it mean?
Something to do with flowers and birds.
Regarding your hit single “According to You,” has anyone ever complained about you that thoroughly?
According to the songwriters, it’s about getting out of a bad situation. And I can totally relate to that lyric ’cause it’s just about moving on and not staying around negative people.
So whether it be about a relationship or just being around people putting you down all the time, it’s not good for your self-esteem. So I’ve definitely been in that situation before.
Going through school for me wasn’t easy. I was definitely bullied. Other kids going through it at this time can overcome it. It’s an empowering track.
I can’t imagine you being bullied.
Being a female guitar player wasn’t easy. I’ve been playing since I was 6 and playing in the school bands and going for auditions and lining up next to the guys… Some guys thought it was cool and it was pretty much the male drummers. Guitar players didn’t take to it too well.
Do you think being a female guitarist has hindered or helped your career?
When you get up on stage, some of the guys are crossing their arms and saying, “What are you gonna do?” Now I get up there and just play. I hope to inspire a lot more female guitar players. Just pick it up and keep on going. Even though it’s a guy thing, it’ll be really cool to see more girls out there kicking butt and rocking out.
In real life, how many people have you told “Shut Up and Kiss Me”?
Oh wow… I haven’t actually told anybody that. For me, it was a title for a fun track. It’s a funny thing.
You’re young. You still have time.
Maybe in the future I will.
What was Michael Jackson like?
He was awesome. Real honor to work with him. Going in to audition to be part of his band, I was real nervous. He picked me after we played “Beat It,” “Dirty Diana” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.” He was just sitting on the couch, got up and hired us all that night. That was a crazy moment.
Did you have any other moments with him?
The second day after we were all hired, I was walking through the hallway and it was just Michael walking with his bodyguards… I didn’t know whether I should say hello or run away and hide so I just went up and said, “Hey.” And he said, “I can’t wait to start jamming. Have a great day.”
And for the rest of the day, the fact that he just shook my hand and said something… I was smiling for the rest of the day.
What can Hawaii audiences expect to see at your concert?
Lots of guitar solos. Definitely. It’s kinda like a party on the stage and hopefully people have a good time. We might throw in a couple new songs as well.
Have you ever performed with Train before?
Yes, we have. We actually played a radio show with them. I’m a big fan. It’s gonna be super awesome.
Did you catch them on the American Music Awards on Sunday night?
Yeah, they were great.
What did you think of [singer] Patrick Monahan’s glitter pants?
Actually, it’s funny you say that. I love them. I actually said to my sister, “I want his pants.” I love glitter.
I forgot; you toured with Adam Lambert, didn’t you? That was nothing, then.
Yes, [Adam] has some extravagant outfits. He has such dedicated fans. Some come to all of his shows and just follow him around.
What are your fans like?
They’re awesome. Especially on Twitter. Just to have all that support means so much to me. I love getting messages from young kids. I try to reply to as many fans as I can on Twitter.
Have you been to Hawaii before?
No, but it looks beautiful.
You have any plans while you’re here?
I think I have a day off so I’ll definitely try to go to the beach. Get a tan in a day. I don’t know how that’s gonna work out with me.
You don’t tan well?
I burn. In Australia, you burn like a crab. It’s like a sunbake out there. You’re kinda crispy. It’s not attractive by any means.