Lindi Ortega Kickstarts Her Career

Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega is due to return to Auckland’s Tuning Fork this coming Tuesday, November 14th.

Lindi will be here after releasing her EP, Til The Goin’ Gets Gone earlier this year. That EP was very nearly Lindi’s last recorded work, as she was considering giving up music, at least professionally.

But fortunately she has become re-inspired over the intervening months, thanks, in part, to a very successful Kickstarter campaign that found her hitting her goal almost immediately.

With that kind of support, Lindi headed back into the studio, which is where The 13th Floor’s Marty Duda found her when he rang her up, just before she was about to leave for this part of the planet.

Click here to listen to their conversation as Lindi discusses what she’s been up to in the studio:

Or, read a transcription of the interview here:

MD: You must be approaching your work in the studio a bit differently than when you recorded the EP a little while ago; is that right?

LO: Yeah, this is a whole different beast, but I very much like this beast a lot. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a very musical album; so, there are a lot of elements to it, but it’s a whole lot of fun.

MD: What happened between the release of Til The Goin’ Gets Gone and what’s happening now, as far as what changed your mindset about the way you look at your career and your approach to music?

LO: I was just really struck with inspiration, and I was doing a bunch of writing, and it just came down to two songs that I wrote over the course of two days while I was here in Nashville that gave me a direction and purpose for the new project, and made me very excited about things to come. I had this crazy idea, and, luckily, I work with people that allow me to realise my crazy ideas.

MD: That sounds great! Music-wise: is there much difference? Are we going to hear something innately different in what you’re doing than what you’ve done in the past?

LO: I think so, yeah. This is new territory for me. It’s not like a huge departure. I’m sure people that have listened to my prior work will still be on board and get it; it’s just a little bit of ground that I’ve never walked, or I’ve never treaded before, but it’s still in the same vein. I don’t want to give too much away; I’d like it to be a surprise. Yeah, I’m just really excited! I think it’s a lot of fun, and it’s the first time in my life I’ve created a character, I guess, and had a theme and a storyline in a record.

MD: When you come down to New Zealand here, are you going to be performing any of that stuff? What can we expect when you get here?

LO: I don’t know. I haven’t really decided if I want to, yet, start injecting some of the new songs in. I think I’m still going to be touring that EP; so, I’ll definitely be playing songs off that. Perhaps… it depends. I haven’t decided yet.

Lindi Ortega at The Tuning Fork 2016

MD: I know you were here a year ago, and it was a three piece altogether – you and two other gentlemen who were playing with you. Is that the same configuration you’re coming with this time around?

LO: No, it’s just going to be a duo. There’s just my guitar player, my trust axe man…. I call him my axe man.

MD: It was quite a rocking show – if I remember correctly – the last time you were here, when you played The Tuning Fork.

LO: It was. That was fun! I loved that show! That was a great time.

MD: I think it was The Cactus Blossoms that were opening for you that night.

LO: Yeah, they were amazing! I should be opening for them. They’re amazing! I love them!

MD: I saw – to celebrate the Kickstarter and hitting your goal – that you released a version of you doing Diamonds And Rust, the Joan Baez song.

Click here to listen to Lindi’s version of Diamond’s And Rust. 

LO: Yeah! I love Joan Baez! My mom was a big fan of Joan Baez, I inherited my mum’s record collection – she’s still with us; she just doesn’t have her records… she gave me her record collection – and she had a few records by Joan Baez. It’s the earliest stuff I remember hearing in my childhood, and I loved that song, I felt so grateful that I was able to do my own little version of it; it was sweet.

MD: Have you ever heard the version by Judas Priest of Diamonds And Rust?

LO: No. I keep hearing about that. I’m going to have to check it out. A lot of people love that version.

MD: You do need to check it out! It’s pretty cool, actually. You wouldn’t think, but….

LO: … I have to look at that as soon as we get off the phone.

MD: It’s such a personal song of Joan’s – about her relationship with Bob Dylan. I was wondering if you had to find a way into it to relate to it yourself.

LO: I think you can relate to it. I’ve dated a musician before; so, I know what that’s like. Yeah, the original vagabond, heading straight for a fall! I know what that’s like; I mean, I’ve never dated Bob Dylan. I’ve dated musicians, and I know what it’s like to date a musician. Some of the sentiments she speaks of are familiar, for sure.

MD: My understanding is your song writing, itself, is focusing more on storytelling than it has in the past. Is that a fair statement?

LO: Yeah, that’s definitely a fair statement. I think there’s still going to be little pieces of me in every song I write, even if it is a story. But yeah, this is a journey, and it is inspired very much by people telling me that my songs got them through some sort of a dark time; so, when I hear things like that, it really affects me so deeply, because I don’t know that! I just sit and I write songs in my living room, and I don’t think about how they go out into the world and affect people’s lives, especially if they’re somehow helping somebody in some dark situation. I found that that was very profound, for me, to hear people say that. I think something I really realised in the past little while is my little journey in music and in life, is that, really, there’s so much superficial things that human beings care about in this world, and we fail to really relish what’s most important in life; and that is life itself and our loved ones – the people we love. So, I just wanted to make a record that spoke to that, and I wanted it to have a positive end note, because I do have a tendency towards a lot of dark content, and I never want to pretend that that stuff doesn’t exist, it was very important to me to show that you can come through that and out the other end.

MD: A lot of people tend to think that you have to have bad things happen in order to make great music; and it sounds like the opposite is happening with you: you’ve gotten this great reinforcement – all these people backing you – and it’s inspired you to be more excited about your music now.

LO: Yeah, definitely! I think in some way, maybe not related to music… to really appreciate the good things in life and happiness when times are good, if you’ve gone through moments when times are bad, I think you can totally understand what it’s like to love when things are good. I think when people have it good most of the time, they don’t really grasp those moments of sunshine the way people that have been in the dark for a little while. It doesn’t matter who you are – you might have wonderful strokes of luck in life, and a very blessed and wonderful life, but even still, you’re never going to avoid some of life’s inevitable tragedies… that will, ultimately, cause you to experience something dark.

MD: When do you imagine that the album will see the light of day?

LO: Next year, I think. I don’t know the exact timeline, but I think it’ll be, probably, early next year, perhaps.

MD: Were you surprised that you hit the Kickstarter goal so quickly?

LO: Yeah! Totally! I was so scared! I feel like everybody’s struggling in this current climate, financially. I was like, “I don’t know if anybody will want to donate, and why should they, really. But, I felt, “Wow!” It’s amazing that they have, and it really just makes me love the people who support what I do even more. I feel even more connected to them now for being so supportive.

MD: Was it mostly folks from the US and Canada or international? Do you have any idea?

LO: It was everywhere! It was all over! It was amazing… Yeah, it’s amazing!

Lindi Ortega performs at Auckland’s Tuning Fork along with opening act Kendall Elise this Tuesday, November 14th. Click here for tickets.