Staying level headed in the world of rock stardom can often be challenging, but for Adelaide’s own rock goddess Orianthi, it should come as no surprise to our readers that the Los Angeles based Platinum selling artist is still very much the girl next door. “Adelaide will always be home to me, although I’m based in the US now. I don’t get to come back often and I really miss it, my family, friends, animals, especially my dogs,” as she casually chats with Dazz Hassan via phone from L.A. “I try to get home around Christmas every year, but it’s never enough.”
One of the most sought after musicians in the world, Orianthi has already lived a stellar existence and has played with legends such as Carlos Santana, Alice Cooper, Michael Jackson, and for the past few years former Bon Jovi founding member Richie Sambora, who she is also in a relationship with. Together they are RSO: Richie Sambora + Orianthi, a dynamic duo of guitar driven rock which Sambora describes as ‘Sonny and Cher on steroids.’ They are headed to Australia in September and will tour all the capital cities in a not to be missed celebration of classic rock.
The past few years have been a whirlwind for Orianthi, who at only 31 has lived a life most of us only dream of. “I get to do what I love every day, and that’s music. It’s a lot of work though, a lot of travelling etc. Heck I have to be up at 4am tomorrow to do a show at South Carolina, then back to LA to mix the new album, and afterwards I’m doing a charity show with Robbie Krieger (The Doors). It’s kinda crazy but I feel very blessed to be doing this. The only thing I don’t like so much is the travel,” says Orianthi.
The surrealistic nature of this amazing lifestyle is not lost on Orianthi, who counts names like Steve Vai and Carlos Santana as close friends who very much helped her with her success. There is no pretence in her demeanour at all, and she conveys how much those artists pushed her to improve her craft to the level she now comfortably sits at. “These guys encouraged me, and made me a better artist. I’d send them demo’s and Steve Vai for example would tell me where I could improve. I try to do the same with young artists to help them grow also. Working with Michael Jackson though, was very surreal. It was a dream, it wasn’t like reality, and I couldn’t tell anyone I was working with him due to confidentiality agreements. I’d get a call from friends and they’d ask what I’m doing. I’d say ‘oh nothing, just cleaning up dog crap at the apartment’, but I’d just finished rocking the guitar solo from ‘Beat It’ with him or something like that, “she says.
Incidentally, the late Prince repeatedly tried to lure her to play in his band but she lacked the opportunity to take him up on it. “He called me just after his amazing Super Bowl experience and said ‘Hey this is Prince, I’ve been watching your You Tube videos and would love to jam with you’….. I thought it was a prank call at first. We ended up jamming for hours. He wanted to produce my first album but I was signed to a major label & they said no. He would still call me sporadically to try get me in…He was very cool and supportive- it was awesome.”
We casually discuss the amazing creative talent that has been borne out of Adelaide (including Orianthi herself), and she proudly recalls her induction into the SA Music Hall of Fame last year, where her beau Richie Sambora inducted her. She values this accolade as much as any, and mentions how proud she is of other Adelaide superstars such as Sia, (Furler) who she’d love to work with one day. It’s fantastic to be able to discuss fellow Adelaideians that have gone onto international success, and to be genuinely supportive of them.
Orianthi will be coming home this month and will rock Australia as half of RSO with Richie Sambora. Fans will hear songs from both artist’s catalogues including Bon Jovi classics, and songs from other artists they have both worked with including Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper. On working with her real life partner on stage, Orianthi says that “Richie and I are best friends as well as a duo, we have a lot of respect for each other and of course love each other’s company. We have our own time together too, but at the end of the day I get to tour around with one of my best friends, so that’s really cool! Richie’s such an incredible songwriter, guitar player, it’s really great working with him and I’m proud of the new album which is almost here.”
Get set to see RSO this month for a taste of both Orianthi and Richie Sambora in a classic rock powerhouse of superb songwriting, and amazing guitar talent!
RSO: RICHIE SAMBORA & ORIANTHI AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016
Friday 23 September Metro City, Perth
Monday 26 September Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre, Adelaide
Tuesday 27 September Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne
Thursday 29 September Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Friday 30 September Eaton Hills, Brisbane
Tickets available NOW through www.ticketek.com.au
Interviewed by Dazz Hassan