Lindi Ortega Interview

A Canadian born singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega has self-released two albums and an ep, this was followed by an EP on Cherry Tree Records. Since then her current album Little Red Boots and a Christmas EP were through Last Gang Records. She spent time touring the US and Europe as a backing singer with the Killers Brandon Flowers behind his Flamingo solo album. She is now concentrating on her own career.

Your Irish/Mexican parentage must have given you a interesting musical heritage. What are your memories of the music around your house growing up?

My mum listened to a lot of old country when I was growing up, lots of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Dolly Parton. She was who first got me interesting in the genre. My dad was listening to a lot of latino music, I recall hearing Santana and Gypsy Kings in my childhood and I think this may have had an influence on my rhythmic guitar playing.   

You mentioned the guitar on the wall at home as an object of desire. What finally made you take it off the wall?

I was starting to sing at around age 15, I knew if I was going to write songs I would need an instrument and that guitar seemed like the perfect fit.  

There was a self-released album prior to Little Red Boots, I believe, did it feature some of the same songs or a set of older ones? 

They were all older tunes, I didn’t start writing the newer songs till about 2008. 

A new album later in the year, how different will it be from Little Red Boots, given the  Christmas EP took a more acoustic approach?  

I believe with every record there is a bit of an evolution. I don’t anticipate a drastic difference, but I am constantly being inspired by new things which I’m sure will have an impact on my music. As well, I will be working with a new producer and recording in Nashville. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we cook up together! 

You voice seems perfectly suited to the blend of traditional country, rock and the other influences you incorporate. Where do you see your music taking you in the future or is that open to possibilities as you mentioned that you listened to a wide range of acts growing up? 

I feel very connected to country music because the lyrical content of the genre speaks to me. Its a language I understand. So I feel country will always be present. Its a good thing that country embodies a wide range of style and I can draw from those styles for future recordings. I’m sure I will continue to explore.

You obviously love Johnny Cash, including two of his songs in your set, who else would you see as primary influences? 

Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin, Mazzy Star, and Wanda Jackson. 

Have you ever wanted to do anything else other than be a singer/songwriter? 

Yes, I have always been fascinated with Storms and Tornadoes. I would most definitely be a storm chaser if I wasn’t a singer/songwriter! 

You seem to have found a second base in Europe, is that an important career step? 

I think its wonderful! I love Europe. I have had a wonderful time touring. I didn’t expect to do well in Europe but I was pleasantly surprised at how excepting of my music people were and I’m thrilled that I have opportunity to cross the pond and play my songs for everyone!   

Heartbreak is at the heart of many of you songs and you mentioned a failed on the road relationship. Do you think that building a relationship while you are an active performer is something you have to sacrifice? 

Sometimes I think its a sacrifice, but not one I impose upon myself as I feel very strongly that I could make it work, its just a matter of finding someone who could make it work with me.  That’s the hard part. For as many heartbreaks as I incur, I somehow remain hopeful in possibility.  

On the other hand aren’t failed relationships  a great source of songs? 

Yes, that is the blessing/curse of my fate. But maybe a great love song is yet to be written in my books. So I guess we’ll see! 

You had a great band with you in Dublin, but you also play solo. Do you have a preference for either?

  I actually love both. I find it a great challenge to convince an audience armed with just my guitar that I am worth their attention. I like that challenge. The band is a lot of fun though, and its great to rock out! 

Being Canadian do you have a different perspective on America. Do you have any political interests? 

I don’t really pay mind to politics. One could drive themselves mad with it. Instead I chose to be inspired by beautiful landscapes and history. America has some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes I’ve seen. likewise, Europe has so much to offer in that respect also. 

As it is currently is your music may find it hard to get a place on mainstream country radio, is that something that annoys you? 

No, I’m very happy with what I do and how I get to do it. If I were to ever make mainstream radio I suppose that would be nice to get that kind of exposure. But the underground is a place full of some of the most interesting and unique sounds I’ve ever heard so I’m proud to be there. 

Finally what would you like to be doing in ten years time? 

Ah.. a whole decade. Well if I make it to ten years I would hope to still be singing and creating. I very much live in the moment with my life so I don’t plan too much ahead. My only hope is to continue doing what I love and that it brings me the same great joy that I feel now. 

Interview by Stephen Rapid. Photography by Ronnie Norton