Orianthi is an Australian guitarist, perhaps best known as the guitarist of the late Michael Jackson, but her solo career is taking off big time as well. She picked up the guitar when she was eleven and has played with the likes of Steve Vai and Carlos Santana.
Australian guitar wonder Orianthi Panagaris actually started out playing the piano at age 3, but she picked up an acoustic guitar at age 6. “My father is a guitarist, so that’s why I started playing,” Orianthi says as she continues, “I listened to a lot of Elvis, Roy Orbison and The Beatles when I was really young, and then I studied classical when I was 10. I moved on to electric when I was 11 after attending a Santana concert. I turned to my dad and begged him for an electric guitar, and when I got one, I never put it down. I have been playing guitar for 18 years, and I still have the same passion for it.”
In 2009, she released her debut album entitled ‘Believe’, and, over the years, she has been collaborating with legends such as Prince, Steve Vai, Carlos Santana – and of course ‘The King of Pop’, Michael Jackson.
This Is It Orianthi became part of the ‘This Is It’ band, but as we all know, MJ passed away before the shows even began, and it was as big a shock for her as it was to the rest of the world, and her spontaneous reaction was simply to start crying as it was for millions of fans everywhere. However, she is also extremely grateful to have been part of his band, and as she puts it: “He made me believe in myself even more by making me part of the band – it was just a dream come true.”
The Gear Playing music at the highest level, Orianthi needs her gear to be at a similar level, which means that plenty of TC Electronic gear has found its way into her rig. “Well, at this moment, I use G-Major 2 for some of my clean sounds such as combinations of Reverb and Delay. Also, the intro to my show is really dramatic, and it has a guitar part that needs a harmonizer effect. The effect from G-Major 2 sounds amazing and makes the part stand out more,” Orianthi tells us. “Further, my guitar tech, Danny "Borga" O’Neil, has added a G-Force to my sound arsenal, and as we go along we keep discovering more and more stunning sounds, and finally, for my B-rig (fly rig), I use a Nova Delay as well as a G-System and a PolyTune.”
“The gear is incorporated into my rack, which is off stage, and my guitar tech runs everything, punching in my sounds when they are needed,” Orianthi explains. “The features and programmability of my TC Electronic gear are really amazing, and the cleanness really enhances my tone. My guitar tech listens to the sounds and simply programs what sounds right and it is off and running. The sounds are so clean and distinctive it just enhances my tone for certain parts.”
Composing, recording and mixing We also asked Orianthi about her approach to composing, recording and mixing. “Well, my approach to songwriting is to just let the melodies and lyrics come to you and not to ‘overthink’. The best tunes have been the ones that didn’t take too long to write,” Orianthi elaborates. “When it comes to recording, I really like to keep one of the first few takes as they tend to have the best vibe and energy. The best mixes to me are the ones that have a lot of clarity to them. Not a wall of sound, and all of the guitar parts are panned, so the vocals aren't buried in the mix.”
What's next...? Finally, we wanted to know what Orianthi has planned for the near future. “Lots of touring,” Orianthi replies, “and my next album which I am already writing out here on the road.”
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