Lindi Ortega Escapes ‘Faded Gloryville’ for the Grand Ole Opry
Lindi Ortega released her fourth album Faded Gloryville earlier this year, and while the title track was inspired by the film Crazy Heart — specifically the artist career of main character Bad Blake, played by Jeff Bridges — Ortega says it's a life she can relate to, as well.
"It inspired me to ask myself whether I would end up like Blake at the beginning of the film," she tells Taste of Country from the lobby of the Hilton hotel in downtown Nashville. "You didn't know how he'd end up and it looked like it was going downhill. I think in the indie music world where you don't have a big radio hit to rely on and marketing appeal and mass audience, your future is always uncertain and you can do everything in your power to try and make it so it's not, but it's always going to be uncertain until you reach a certain level and you can rest a little easier."
Just like the characters in her fictional town of "Faded Gloryville," Ortega finds herself there from time to time, but she says remembering why she does what she does and what makes her love music is what helps her to escape.
"You can lose sight of it sometimes because there's a lot of things that break your heart," she says quietly, her eyes looking down from her black veil. "For me, it was really sitting down and going, 'It's not about being famous. It's not about winning awards or anything like that. It's about the people who come to my shows and make a connection to the things I write.' When you see those connections being made, you feel less alone in the world, and I think that's a beautiful thing about music. It's something that's almost magical and that draws me out of staying for a while in Faded Gloryville."
Ortega admits that when she started pursuing music at 17, she was naïve and had romanticized ideas of what the industry was like, and that's how she originally came up with the concept of the fictitious town.
"You had this ideal of glory and things that would happen for you and they didn't really turn out that way," she reflects. "Then I started thinking of it being a town and there are people who pass through and take lessons from it or reassess their dreams and goals and get out of it. Or, there are people who take up house and become jaded and bitter and are stuck there forever. It was an interesting concept so I wanted to apply it to that song."
Ortega says music has helped her come out of her shell and gain confidence. Now in her 30s, she says while in her 20s she often felt shy, awkward and weird, but it was performing live that helped her get over those insecurities.
"When I get on stage there's something that happens where I'm so focused on making connections to people and putting on a good show and making sure they're happy that I can't really think about my demons," she admits. "I just want people to have a good time and enjoy being there."
Ortega has had her struggles as a musician, but she recently was invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, something she says is a dream come true.
"It's unbelievable to me," she says of being invited to play. "I've gone to the Opry, I've seen the Opry show and I've loved it. All my heroes have played the Opry. There's so much legendary, historic talent who have stepped on that stage. To be able to stand on that stage too is unbelievable."
Ortega is currently promoting her single "Ashes," which she says is the most honest song on her album Faded Gloryville. The song stems from a relationship that burned so brightly, it was almost too good to be true. And sadly, she soon learned that it was.
"That song is that realization that it was too good to be true," she relates. "I had this image in my mind and I kept playing those beautiful moments in my head over and over again. I started to see the imagery as pictures burning up in front of me and turning to dust. That became the flame of our romance."
The singer is happy in a relationship at the moment, but shares that heartbreak has inspired 90 percent of her songs. So is she afraid that since she's now happy, song inspiration won't come? Not really.
"I feel like there's such a well to draw from your experiences," she explains. "Even though I may still be able to write a heartbreak song, it doesn't mean that I'm currently going through that. I don't think it'll affect it. I'm hoping I can write a kickass love song at some point."
Lindi Ortega's Faded Gloryville is out now.