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Orianthi, ‘Heaven in This Hell’: Exclusive Video Performance, Interview With the Australian Guitar Sorceress

Chris Epting

Today marks the release of Heaven in This Hell, the new Orianthi album. Produced by Dave Stewart (Jon Bon Jovi, No Doubt) and recorded primarily in Nashville, the third album from the Australian badass shredder perhaps best known for playing alongside Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper among other icons. However, with the release of this album, we think that Orianthi has now established herself as a solo force of musical nature.

Orianthi will undoubtedly still appear with Alice other big names, but the writing, singing, and playing on Heaven in This Hell is just so good, that it truly feels like the breakout solo moment for this remarkably talented young woman. From soaring metallic anthems, to gritty voodoo blues, arena rock and touching ballads, the album is a sumptuous buffet of musical styles all held together by Orianthi’s trademark stellar playing.

Noisecreep had the privilege of speaking with Orianthi recently at the legendary Capitol Records building in Los Angeles to talk about the record and what brought her to this point.

Ori, you’ve been playing with Alice Cooper for a while now now. Has he heard the new record?

I was on the radio with him just this morning and he told me thought it was awesome, which means the world to me because I love him so much. A wonderful man. He said he really likes the song ‘Frozen,’ which is one of my favorites, too.

What was working with Dave Stewart like. Some Noisecreep readers might not know he was one half of the Eurythmics?

Dave was super excited with the end result. He has his way about him that’s very inspirational. He’s crazy in the best possible way; just full of energy and life. We worked so hard together on this and had so many amazing players joining us in the studio and everyone seemed to have a really good time, which is what you want. That affects the performances, I think, when people are loose and having a good time.

Watch Exclusive Performance of ‘You Don’t Want to Know’

You co-wrote all 11 songs on the album. Talk about the creative process a little bit.

Well, Dave Stewart is an amazing songwriter. I’d bring him ideas and he was always thinking about how to make things better and so I love the things he and I worked on together. But overall this was a chance for me to really play around and explore many ideas with other writers too that have been building up inside of me since the last album. Each song represents a part of the musical journey. There is a theme. We start off in hell and then I work my way through to the end of the journey, which is very positive.

There is a huge breadth of musical styles on this album. Blues, hard rock, metal, ballads – stylistically, you cover a lot of ground. Was that deliberate?

I really have no choice. It’s just how I think. My iPod is really eclectic, everything from Keith Urban to Steve Vai to Usher. I like so many kinds of music and so when I sat down to write I wasn’t thinking in terms of category. I just did what felt right in that moment. Some people may think it’s all over the place but that’s me. Since I’ve played with Michael Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Alice – all these different kinds of people – it’s just naturally affected how I create. I’ve had a very diverse life as a player and I think that’s reflected in my music.

Have you always been that diverse as a listener?

Definitely. My dad has an amazing vinyl collection, so I grew up listening to Roy Orbison, Santana, the Beatles; I heard everything. Then my mom had things like Frank Sinatra and other great pop singers so I really got to hear everything that was good. I first heard Santana play when I was about 11 and that really changed my life. Then I joined a top 40 cover band to earn pocket money, playing everything from Michelle Branch to Nickelback. So I’ve always been involved in many kinds of music, both as a fan and as a musician. But Santana is really the reason why play. He’s a friend now that I’ll never stop being in awe of him. I don’t get nervous very often but recently I played his songs in front of him and I was really scared. I feel so honored with who I get to play with and for. I never stop being a fan. I can never get used to this. I feel like a six-year-old getting to play with his people.

Is there anyone you have not played with yet that you sort of dream about joining?

B.B. King, Eric Clapton or Buddy Guy. I’m a very blues based player so obviously to play with those guys would be a thrill. And maybe Keith Urban. I know he’s mostly country, but when you see him live he’s different; he has a big, more “rock like” kind of show, and I think that would be fun.

Orianthi’s Heaven in This Hell is out today and available on iTunes and Amazon.

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