*You began as a singer, but you've also had great success starring in ABC's The Goldbergs. What made you choose singing initially?
Truthfully, music was just something that I did the same way a kid would choose soccer or volleyball. At 9 years old, I didn’t think about it as a full-blown career, but it’s something I enjoyed doing and was good at. So it was very natural to transition to doing it full time when it was all I had ever known.
|Hayley Orrantia. Photo by Diana Ragland.|
I truly believe I wouldn’t be anywhere in music if it wasn’t for The Goldbergs. [The show] has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to connect with people I wouldn’t have without it. We're signed up for Season 6, which we will begin filming in August. It takes up a lot of the year, but I don’t feel I have to choose. I find a good way to balance my music and acting careers alongside one another or during hiatuses.
*Since this is Women's History Month, tell us about some of the women who inspire you. So many women I look up to! My mother is the main one. She is so strong and hard-working and doesn’t take no for an answer. But I also look up to two of my girlfriends from Nashville, Lindsay James and Emily West. When you meet good, talented people, you’re just drawn to their energy. They are the epitome of supporting and encouraging other women and artists, and I love that.
*Is there anyone you've modeled your career after? I have always admired Sara Bareilles for her writing ability and how she strives to do so much with her music — whether as an artist, writing for movies or the musical, Waitress. She’s a dreamer and an achiever.
*Congratulations on your first headlining tour. Is there anything you're particularly excited about experiencing? I have no idea what to expect from this tour! I really look forward to introducing some new music and meeting fans of the show. It’s all going to be very new to me.
*Do you feel it's more impactful to do single releases today or do you plan to eventually release a full-length album?
I used to think that I needed to have an EP or full album to do anything, but that’s just not the case anymore. Artists are so focused on singles now. I believe it makes more sense as a new, independent artist to do that for financial reasons as well as really exploring my sound. A single can represent itself, but with an album, everything has to be so defined or consumers get confused. I enjoy taking this time to feel out what is right for me.
*How long will this tour be? Do you record while you're on the road? I'm touring for about two months. I will definitely be writing on the road, but not necessarily recording. I have so many new ideas for songs, a lot that won’t even be shown on this tour because they’re so fresh. But that just gives me more to look forward to.
*Strong, Sweet & Southern is a fun, playful song, while your new track Give Me Back Sunday is more poignant, almost wistful. Tell us about writing those.
I co-wrote both songs with different people, which is probably why they have such different vibes. Strong Sweet and Southern was the fun, upbeat song I was wanting. I wrote it with Mark Bright and Kevin Kaddish, and we really just wanted something catchy and swingy. Give Me Back Sunday, however, I wrote with Jason Saenz and Todd Clark. This song was about my personal experience moving to Los Angeles on my own and really missing the simplicity of my hometown in Texas.
*Going back a bit, your song Hasta Verte you sing entirely in Spanish. Why did you choose to record in Spanish?
I wrote Hasta Verte (originally Until Then in English) with Mark Bright and Emily Shackleton. It was a song we wrote about my friend who had passed away from cancer. I cried through the entire writing process. I decided I wanted to try a song in Spanish as a tribute to my grandfather’s side of the family who are Hispanic. It was a challenge for me since I don't speak Spanish fluently, but I was so proud of the end result.
*You're a proud Texan. What do you miss most about home when you're away? Honestly, the fried chicken! You can’t get food like that in L.A. But I also do miss my friends, family and boyfriend, who are all back home in Dallas.
*Are there any singer/songwriters or bands that you enjoy or follow? I listen to so many things — from country to singer/songwriters to 70s funk to hardcore rock. But if I had to narrow down the bands or artists I listen to most, they would be John Mayer, Sara Barielles, Ingrid Michelson, Kacey Musgraves and Dan+Shay.