“I’ve been at home, writing and working on a new record,” we get in to a chat about what she’s been up to this last while. “My goal is to write a song a day, and whether it sucks or is good, just be proud of the fact I wrote a song a day. And, hopefully, out of all these songs I’ve written, there’ll be an album at the end of it.”
After some conversations with other artists I was interested to know if she’s always at home when she writes, “I don’t always write at home, although I do try. Sometimes I write on the road, sometimes my friends are in town, a lot of people roll through Nashville and we’ll often get together and write some songs.”
For the coming tour to Australia, and her first visit to us in New Zealand, Lindi Ortega will be finishing off the tour for her latest album from 2015, ‘Faded Gloryville’, and bringing with her some friends. “I’ll be playing the songs off that record for this tour, maybe a couple of new ones thrown in. I’m bringing a guitar player and a drummer. Hopefully next time I will bring the bass player. It seems every time I come down that way, to Australia, I add a new member each time. I started off solo, then a duo and now it’s a trio, and hopefully next time it’ll be a full band. I feel like when you have drums, it’s the key to making people want to shake their booty. Hopefully we’ll get them up and dancing to some of the tunes.”
I couldn’t help but ask if Nashville was possibly what the inspiration for the song, and album, was, as there are so many musicians coming through and not all of them can succeed, and certainly a few drop off the train. “The song itself was actually inspired by a movie called Crazy Heart that Jeff Bridges starred in. He played this older musician who was a bit down on his luck. He’s playing in this bowling alley, in his late fifties and there weren’t a whole lot of people there, and I had this moment watching the movie where I thought, could this be me? As dark as a question that is, I felt like there was a lot of musicians who would ask themselves that. Because the future in this business is so unsure, unless you’ve had a bit of a hit radio song or something like that. So you do wonder, oh my gosh, will this be me? So I had this thought of this small town, full of people like me trying to follow a dream, and wondering about their future, and having doubts about if they should continue on. I thought of this crusty old town where these people hang out, in these moments. Either they become bitter and jaded and stay there forever or they figure out what they want to do and why they want to and move on. Maybe it’s transient and they keep coming and going, kind of like life really, with its ups and downs.”
“It wasn’t so much inspired by living in Nashville, it was more about those questions you ask at that point in your career. It was more that sort of concept. A lot of people do come here and think they’re going to have a lot of success in the music world, especially the country music world, but it doesn’t happen for everybody, so there’s a lot of people who do fall by the wayside, so I guess it could speak for that in some ways. As for me, I have had my own moments of self-doubt and falling in the ditch, I have this great love of music and creating music and performing and singing, that although I may not measure up to someone else’s form of success, I absolutely get great joy out of it. For me you can’t put a price tag on those things. That’s what drives me all the way through that town, the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I’m exploring fictional things now and things that are outside of me,” Lindi discusses the new songs, and the fact that while they are still quintessentially Ortega songs, there may be a bit of a shift at the moment. “I just wrote a song about a stripper actually, I hope people don’t think I had a moment where I decided to be a stripper. Because I’ve said that everything, or at least 90% of my songs are about me!”
As a longtime fan of the Civil Wars myself, I was excited to ask how John Paul White was to work with, “He’s awesome. He’s so talented, such a great songwriter and singer. His voice is mind-blowing to me. It’s kind of intimidating a little bit, to co-write with him, as I want to prove I’m worthy of his presence, but at the same time, I’m in awe of him and trying to be cool. He’s very serious about what he does, and him and Ben Tanner (of Alabama Shakes) worked really well together. They were a great team and I was very fortunate to have that duo produce three songs on the record!”
While we may be the end of the “Faded Gloryville” tour for Lindi Ortega, we also get to see some of the new songs she’s been working on before she heads back to record and work on the new album!
Catch Lindi Ortega next Friday 14th October at the Southern Fork Americana Fest alongside the Cactus Blossoms!