Oriana
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Oriana

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Pop R&B

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"Oriana: The New Voice of Music"

Interview:

WF: When did you first start singing?
O: I always struggle with this question! I think I’ve been singing forever. But I discovered I had talent when I was 6, and started pursuing a career when I was 18.

WF: What did your family do to encourage you?
O: My mom always had music playing at home, and my dad always encouraged me to take music lessons. Although they encouraged me to be a doctor even more.

WF: Who else in your family sings?
O: No one else has pursued it professionally, but my grandmother had a beautiful voice.

WF: What kind of music do you listen to today?
O: I enjoy all genres of music, but I mostly listen to RnB.

WF: What embarrassing songs might I find on your iPod?
O: Haha…probably something by Michael Bolton. But for the record…I don’t think anyone should be embarrassed by the type of music they listen to. It took me years to not care what people think!

WF: Where would you most like to perform?
O: At the Grammys.

WF: Who would you most like to open for?
O: Wow that’s a tough one. Probably Alicia Keys.

WF: If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
O: Graphic design. Definitely something creative!

WF: Do you play any instruments?
O: I use piano when I write songs, but I can’t play fluently. Boy do I wish I stuck with those lessons as a kid!

WF: Who are your musical inspirations?
O: I refer to Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey as my musical “trinity”

WF: If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
O: I’ve actually just started dabbling in reggae! But to be honest, I wouldn’t mind dabbling in may more genres. Why limit yourself?

WF: What genre of music can’t you stand to listen to?
O: Heavy metal…I just don’t get it! It doesn’t bring me joy the way other forms of music do.

WF: What hidden talents do you have?
O: I’m not bad at drawing…

WF: Do you enjoy writing music and/or lyrics?
O: I do. It is work, but the best kind of work! And really great therapy. There’s nothing like writing a good song after a bad day.

WF: What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
O: When I was in grade 7, I sprayed my best friend with “silly string” in a can, and was called to the principal’s office. Apparently it was “hazardous”.


At the Canada Rocks 4 Japan benefit (left to right): Oriana, Carlo Coppola, Karl Wolf, Franca Abate, Tatyana D'voce, Justin Nozuka (Photo: Jeff Knights)

WF: What are the five things you can’t live without?
O: Love, Music, Sushi, Chap Stick, and my iPhone.

WF: What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
O: Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

WF: What is you favorite song to belt out at the bar/in the car/for karaoke?
O: Mariah Carey, Vision of Love

WF: 5 years from now you will be….
O: Touring J

WF: For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words:
O: Melodic with an aesthetic depth.

WF: If I was to turn on your iPod right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
O: Lisa Stanfield – Been Around the World; JoJo – How to Touch a Girl; Kiley Dean – Who Will I Run To; Lindo P – Let’s Get Married and Frank Ocean – Girlfriend’s Best Friend.

WF: If you could open for any artist on tour right now who would it be?
O: Beyonce – she’s just so awesome.

WF: What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing/producing/playing etc?
O: Eating and watching a good movie with my fiancé.

WF: You write all of your own music; where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the process?
O: Most of them are based on some sort of personal experience, but occasionally a certain project calls for you to write a song about something you haven’t experienced. In those cases I try to call on stories I’ve heard from friends, and put myself in their shoes. My favourite part about the process is the release of pent up emotions; it’s almost as effective as talking about your problems with another person.

WF: Do you ever get nervous? Do you feel your education helped prepare you for working in the industry?
O: I only get nervous before a gig that is of a type I’ve never done before. For example, the first Raptors anthem I did, I was so nervous! But 3 years later and it’s a piece of cake, which is great because that calm allows me to revel in the excitement of it. I think education prepares you for many things in life. It has helped me interact with people professionally, conduct business properly, manage my time and keep my work organized. - What's Fab Magazine


"Film Jam 10"

Last night was the 10th anniversary of Film Jam. A great event supporting local artists. Although we are the impartial media, we were secretly rooting for Oriana. Not that we didn't like the other acts (who were awesome as well), but this is our chick from the Scarborough days, so...BRAP! She killed it too!

After an energy charged performance from the first act of the night, Oriana throws down some smooth soulful vocals over her DJ's hard basslines.

Two more sets later, the votes are tallied and the winner of the Film Jam finals (and the $10,000) is none other than Miss Thing herself, Oriana. Not that we were surprised. She's been killing it since her highschool Christmas shows, so this was just the same ol' same ol'. For more on Oriana's music, check out her myspace at myspace.com/orianamusic. - Blunt Magazine


Discography

Single: Satisfaction - Oriana ft. Chan Dizzy, produced by YenProductions
Satisfaction is in regular rotation on zip 103 in Jamaica, and has also played in England, Miami and Montreal.

Single: The One, produced by YenProductions
The One is in regular rotation on the radio in Jamaica

Release (2012) - second independent album (release date TBD)

Addicted - 2009 (currently on radio charts in Europe and playing on Flow 93.5)

Anticipation (2007) - debut independent album (1000 copies sold)

Looney with JR Writer - 2005 (radio airplay on Project Bounce)

Photos

Bio

They say you spend your whole life making your first album. Yet, for some musicians, their first work is only an introduction to a longer, deeper process of unfolding as an artist. This is the case for Oriana.

Her music has an R&B sound with a contemporary reach and a soul influence, giving it an aesthetic depth. Resting on the strength of her voice, her beat-driven backdrops and emotive ballads are designed to appeal beyond genre based demographics.

In 2007, Oriana released her debut, Anticipation. As a singer and co-writer, she reflects on the process of putting this recording together as a process that delved deeply into her personal life. “It was like therapy. Writing all of the songs, they were specific to my life experiences and personal challenges. It was a great release to put it down on paper”, Oriana explains.

Once the album was out and people were hearing it, she realized the intimacy in having someone listen to her album. “At first, I was embarrassed that they could hear all of these deep personal emotions.” Once that fact had sunk in, she began to see this vulnerability in a more positive light.

“It is important to write music that people can relate to”, referring to the openness of her content. “It’s nice for people out there to know that someone has been there too”.

If anyone understands how important it can be to have music in your life that you can relate to and draw strength from, it is Oriana.

Born of a Croatian mother and Chinese father who divorced when she was quite young, a sense of belonging for Oriana did not come through her family. She describes feeling disconnected at family gatherings due to language barriers. In high school, this played out further, where she didn’t genuinely relate to cliques reflective of either side of her family.

It was in that same high school in Scarborough where Oriana really found her place. Music. From something as simple finding friends based on listening to some of the same artists that she did, to eventually singing in groups, and talent shows, she found her place.

This personal relationship and identity formation flows through her as a motivating force. “When I think of people listening to my music and getting to know me as a person it’s amazing, because I feel like I had that connection with musicians that I listened to growing up.”

In Summer of 2010, Oriana will release her second album, Release. In the making for the last year with her producer and writing partner Duwayne A. Wright, she discovered a more intentional sound this time around.

While the message in her lyrics remains important, she distinguishes this newest creation from her first recording. “My first album was more involved in myself”, she confesses. “The second is proactive storytelling: ‘how can I be inspirational to someone.’ It’s more of a creation, rather than speaking from my personal experience.”

With this awareness of her own maturing as an artist, there is a fortified optimism about the future of her career. Admittedly, working a full-time 9 to 5 downtown, heading to the studio after-hours, and performing at a range of events throughout the city is taxing. Driven by her love of live performance and a drive to bring her music to as broad an audience as possible, she describes the demand as a blessing. “I used to drag myself out of bed, but one day I woke up with this appreciation because I’m doing what I have to do, to get where I want to go.”

- Written by Chris Penrose