Backstage Pass: With Lindi Ortega At AmericanaFest

Onstage, this feisty cowpunk of Mexican-Irish descent talks powerful, wears cowboys boots that match the colour of her ruby-red lipstick (and her Gibson J-200) and prefers to sing Johnny Money as a substitute of Bob Dylan.

Women's Lego Blue Beetle Printed Long Sleeve Tee ShirtShe honors her blended heritage by partaking in “Guinness for dinner, tequila for dessert,” and twice chipped her teeth on the microphone after downing one too many Fireball whisky pictures.

Offstage, Nashville-by-means-of-Toronto singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega is as candy as one would anticipate a self-proclaimed “mama’s lady” to be.

“My mom was somewhat heartbroken,” Ortega said when her mother and father’ solely little one left Canada two years and nine months ago to try to jump-start her career in Music Metropolis USA.

“It was slightly onerous in the beginning because I didn’t know anybody, so it was form of a complete new scenario for me,” Ortega stated during a brief interview after her recent appearance on the Excessive Watt in Nashville. “I hadn’t carried out an enormous major transfer to a different country like that before. It was form of like jumping off a cliff. But it is so value it. I really like Nashville. I can not imagine dwelling wherever else now.”

Ortega, the second subject of this “Backstage Move” sequence of Nashville-primarily based artists who played at AmericanaFest from Sept. 17-21, had just wrapped up a 4-tune, 17-minute set last Friday (Sept. 19) afternoon.

The youthful daughter of Paco and Sharon Ortega, wearing a cute, frilly black minidress and a black veil (with a rosy adornment, perhaps signifying her constructive outlook), seemed as fresh as a daisy afterward, once we met in the stairwell of the venue.

At a listening celebration her expertise booking agency threw with acts that included The Harpoonist & The Axe Murder (actually) and Jamestown Revival, Ortega charmed a supportive crowd (“If you’re searching for a creepy friend, that is me,” she said) with numbers such as “The Day You Die,” “Demons Do not get Me Down” and a sexy, soulful cowl of the Bee Gees’ “To Love Any individual.” A voice the quivers and shakes conveys what it means to be a lonely coronary heart in the hunt for true love.

As comfortable supporting ok.d. lang or Social Distortion (and singing with Mike Ness) as she is performing previous country and pop requirements, Ortega covers plenty of ground on albums comparable to Little Purple Boots and Cigarettes & Truckstops.

Yet, that doesn’t mean she’s reached her closing vacation spot.

Two days earlier, her showcase scheduled for midnight at spiffy new City Winery was delayed greater than 45 minutes by the previous act, Americana rising artist award-successful Sturgill Simpson.

That cut into her time on stage with touring band mates Champagne James Robertson of Toronto, a dazzling electric guitarist formerly with New Country Rehab, and Nashville-based drummer Noah Hungate.

The disappointment still showed in Ortega’s big, beautiful eyes as she talked about half the sizable room departing after Simpson’s set, however her steadfast determination remained.

“It was slightly troublesome,” she mentioned of what was imagined to be her moment within the midnight solar. “It’s what it is.”

That additionally made the emotional title monitor of 2013’s wonderful Tin Star, her most recent album, strike the saddest of minor chords at the High Watt.

“It’s such a humbling metropolis in that there’s so much talent,” Ortega mentioned when requested if “Tin Star” reflected her true emotions. “You can go into any place on any given night and stroll in on something incredible, thoughts-blowing. What I all the time thought was interesting, I’d stroll in and I would see an unbelievable blues band. And there can be 5 folks there. It just blew my mind that these artists have been so stuffed with talent and that the world did not learn about them. And it simply obtained me enthusiastic about what number of artists there are like that.

“Especially Nashville as a result of it’s Music Metropolis, so a lot of individuals are drawn to the town with the hope of creating it. Generally, I genuinely really feel it is not for lack of making an attempt or hard work or talent. Generally it is just that stroke of luck. Any individual’s in the proper place at the right time and makes the proper connection and then issues blow up for them, you know. Some folks simply do not get that little shot of luck. It’s like a lightning strike. And so, yeah, I wanted to write down a music that’s paying tribute to all of the road dogs out there working it, pounding the pavement.”

Feeling “beat up and rusty” like an “old tin star,” as she writes, “lost within the shining stars of Nashville, Tennessee” might be considerably overwhelming, however not for Ortega, who’s been making information since 2001 and whose listed date of start (Could 28, 1980) should be a misprint.

She’s already written a number of songs for her next album, which she plans to start recording “most likely in December” forward of a 2015 release.

“At first, I was a bit intimidated,” Ortega mentioned about the move to Nashville. “I’m not anymore. I attempt not to let that get to me as a result of I really feel like, while you examine your self to every part else happening, it can be daunting. It might probably help you be just a little jaded, I guess. However I try to have a bit of a tunnel vision with what I do and just type of gun for my objectives and never concentrate to what else is going on. And simply try to be inspired and try to be the most effective that I can be.”

Following within the tradition of initial “Backstage Cross” interviewees Justin Wade Tam and Leslie Rodriguez of promising act Humming Home, Ortega went on to offer a behind-the-scenes look at her occupation, together with pre- and post-show habits. Some snippets from the random Q&A:

Do you still get nervous before a show?
No, no, I don’t actually get nervous. It is just extra like I am pumped and excited to play exhibits. It’s like a shot of adrenaline actually greater than it is nerves. The one factor I received nervous for was, we did the Canadian Nation Music (Affiliation) Awards just recently in Canada. And that i received an award this yr for roots artist of the 12 months and that i’ve by no means been more nervous in my life accepting the award and doing the speech. I actually wasn’t prepared to win anything.

However you’ve been nominated for prestigious awards before (together with the Polaris Music Prize and the Junos, Canada’s equal of the Grammys).
Yeah, yeah, but I used to be sort of used to having a shedding streak and not profitable something. So I was actually expecting not to win. And I could not get my words out. I feel I mentioned “um” a hundred occasions. I really ducked behind the podium as a result of I bought so flustered and nervous. But it was fun. A lot of people favored the speech because they thought it was humorous that I ducked behind the podium. Yeah, in order that and presenting was slightly nerve-racking. … But really singing, that’s something I love doing, so I do not actually get nervous for that.

Do you’ve got a process you undergo to get rid of jitters in case you do get them?
I guess my solely course of for singing is just drinking lots of water earlier than I’m going onstage and making sure that I’m effectively-hydrated and somewhat bit of vocal warmups sort of factor.

How do you kill time backstage earlier than a present?
Writing out all people’s set record is what I do. (laughs) I hand write everyone’s set checklist. I just do it. I would like to ensure its all right.

What’s your favorite pre-show tune? Do you take heed to music earlier than you go onstage?
Yes, sometimes I do. I really like Johnny Money, so I am all the time listening to a lot of Johnny Money. I like “(Ghost) Riders within the Sky” and “Ain’t No Grave.” I love stuff like that. I love Duane Eddy as well. He is received a music called “Stalking” that is actually cool. It at all times gets me in a mood for a show.

Do you will have any superstitious pre-present rituals?
No, I don’t really. I solely lately have been studying tarot playing cards. I find all the pieces to do with witches really fascinating to me, so I’ve been studying witches. I believe that’s all sort of cool.

Did you learn something?
I learned that tarot playing cards are, no matter what, ‘trigger I have been learning … there’s a whole bunch of them within the deck, that no matter what one you pull, there’s always a life lesson you can take out of it that you may apply to any scenario that will not do you any hurt. You’re at all times good to take heed to it.

Do you could have a favourite tarot card or lesson you discovered?
Yeah, one of many actually good ones I read typically is just bear in mind of your mates and family, people who love you, and make sure you all the time recognize that love and provides it back. A lot of people at all times look at it like it is really hokey or whatever. I assume if you’re trying to inform the future with it, it could be. But when you simply take it for what it’s, nearly as good recommendation, it is nice.

What’s your onstage good-luck charm?
I am not actually wearing my good-luck charm I have, but … I believe I took it off by accident and forgot to put it again on. It is a little bit eagle pendant that I purchased in Mexico after i shot a video out there. I’m usually always sporting it. Right this moment, I forgot. (laughs)

Hopefully, that’s not a foul omen.
No, no. It is in my bathroom. I just forgot to put it on.

What’s your pet name to your instrument you play onstage?
I’ve received a couple of completely different instruments with a couple of different pet names. So I’ve a Gibson Hummingbird that bought almost totally destroyed on an Icelandair flight. And i didn’t discover it until every week after, so I couldn’t claim it. And it cracked half the physique with an enormous gap within the side. And i received it fixed. However now I name it “Frankie” after Frankenstein. It is received this big sort of Frankenstein scar on the bottom of it. At the moment at the Excessive Watt is a (Gibson) J-200 that I received custom made. It is like my dream guitar. And normally it is bought a sure kind of pickguard, the J-200s. But I acquired the Everly pickguards, which are like old nation. Back within the day, Johnny Cash and his J-200 used to have like these old funky pickguards on it. I determined to put on the Everly pickguards because it seemed like a Mexican mustache kind of factor. I determined to call my guitar “Sanchez.” There’s (also) “Blackie,” my ES-195 guitar.

What’s a should-have food or drink before a present?
Ginger. I must have ginger in my tea. I don’t really demand it. I put it on my rider. I don’t all the time get it because situations do not always call for having a rider. I didn’t get it right now, however I do love ginger typically.

You’ve already performed, but was there somebody you want you may’ve joined (or may’ve joined you) onstage this week?
Well, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murder gig regarded fairly cool right before me. So it would be cool to sing with them sometime, possibly. (laughs)

Which cowl do you by no means get tired of covering?
Johnny Money’s “Ring of Fire.”

And which cover are you sick and tired of covering and plan to never do once more?
Nicely, I can let you know, I like Bob Dylan. I am a huge fan. But I had sort of a nasty experience at a tribute show (Might 7, 2011 at Hugh’s Room in Toronto) where I forgot the phrases halfway by way of and simply went clean.

Which music?
“It Ain’t Me Babe.” So halfway through, I just forgot it and there have been all these Bob Dylan followers. So I could not hearken to Bob Dylan for like a yr after that as a result of it just reminded me of that mortifying expertise. It’s kinda like … I haven’t actually touched a Bob Dylan track since. I simply let him do his factor. Too many phrases for me.

Backstage social media addiction: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or something else?
I am at all times tweeting and Instagramming and Facebooking. Sometimes I take foolish little photos and submit them earlier than we go on. (laughs) Instagram’s my favourite. I like posting pictures all the time. It’s good to tell stories with a photograph.

Do you ever have a reason to alter your set record?
Martian_Manhunter Yeah, generally. It will depend on Men’s Custom Han Solo Sticker Smule Grande Short Sleeve Tops Tees the crowd. Like I said, I’ve opened for Social D. Once we try this, we sort of rock it out a bit more, perform a little bit more of the upbeat kind of rockabilly numbers. And then I’ve opened for okay.d. lang, and there we have kind of completed some of the softer songs. That is a totally totally different viewers.

Favorite onstage beverage?
Water. It is the best one. I’ve tried the opposite and that i simply realize that the set form of goes “Whooo.” (laughs)

Craziest thing you’ve been requested to signal at the merch desk?
Nicely, it is probably not crazy, but folks put on crimson boots to my exhibits because I wear purple boots all the time. So folks ask me to sign their pink boots. And i all the time really feel dangerous as a result of I really feel like I am defacing their beautiful leather-based crimson boots. I am like, “Are you should you want me to signal this?”

What do you do to unwind after a present?
I do not usually unwind until I really get house from the present and then I kind of chill. I’m often in a hotel room, so I just placed on some music and chill out.

Any certain sort of music?
Simply no matter’s on my iPad. I’m into the blues, I assume, currently. Numerous Lightnin’ Hopkins or Leadbelly, stuff like that.

What time do you usually stand up the day after performing a late present?
Oh, it relies upon. If we’re on tour, sometimes we have bought to depart really early the following morning. And now we have like two hours’ sleep after we get house from the present. It gets really tiring after a while. … I’m probably not a morning individual, not unless I have a pot of coffee going.

Images by Michael Bialas. See extra from AmericanaFest 2014. See the earlier “Backstage” article with Humming Home’s Justin Wade Tam and Leslie Rodriguez.