Lindi Ortega: Dolly-esque Pipes and Swagger to Burn


If your sweet spot of country music lies somewhere in the Dolly Parton-Emmylou Harris-Linda Ronstadt triangle -- and that's a pretty sweet spot indeed -- allow us to put Lindi Ortega on your music roadmap, if she's not there already. (You're welcome.)

The Toronto based singer-songwriter has been compared to all three -- but she comes with enough sharp-edged swagger to also have people name-checking the Man in Black, too. Little Red Boots, just out on Last Gang Records, may be Ortega's first full-length album (check out the video for "Angels," shot entirely on her iPhone 4, below), but she's been gaining fans and accolades for a while now, with opening stints for the likes of Keane and Brandon Flowers of the Killers. The (very busy) songbird answered our Q questionnaire.

What was your first real job?
I answered phones at a pizza place. I still remember the spiel.  

First record you ever bought?

If we're talking about actual records that go in the player that I bought with my own money, I would have to say it was Willie Nelson’s Stardust.  

Fill in the blank: If I ever get arrested, it’ll be for ______.

I shall plead the fifth, so as not to raise suspicion.  

What time do you wake up?

I try to get up before noon. “Try” being the operative word.  

Where was your first NYC gig, and what do you remember about it?
I played at a place called The Bitter End and I recall I'd lost the hearing in my left ear to do the over-exuberant use of a Q-Tip. Totally threw off my balance and made me feel like I was suffering from vertigo.  

Top three songs in your iPod rotation these days?

Alexander, “Truth”, Timber Timbre, “Bad Ritual”, Black Keys, “Lengths”.

Best show you’ve ever seen in NYC?

Noah and The Whale at Mercury Lounge.  

What do you splurge on?

Vintage cowboy shirts.  

To when do you point your time machine?
Late '60s/early '70s.  

Best meal you’ve ever had in NYC?
I find NYC has the best sushi, I’ve been to a number of places that were amazing!

What’s your drink?
Tequila. Let me rephrase that: good tequila.  

First childhood memory?
I recall almost drowning in a swimming pool when my rubber ring deflated in the deep end of a pool. I must have been about five or six years old.  

What’s your pre-show ritual?
I sacrifice a couple goats and dance naked around the dressing room. Actually, I don’t really have a ritual, I suppose something boring like curling my hair, drinking ginger tea and trying to figure out my set list.  

Do you google yourself?
Any musician who says they've never done this is a big ol' liar!  

If so: what’s the most memorable thing you’ve ever read about yourself on the internet?
It was really exciting when my tune “Little Lie” was mentioned in USA Today.  

Most treasured possession?
My Gibson Hummingbird guitar.  

Fill in the blank: in a previous life, I was a ___________.
 tightrope walker in a traveling circus

Favorite thing about yourself?
I think I’m pretty resilient and I always manage to turn around a bad situation.  

Who are your heroes?
Freida Kahlo, Johnny Cash, and Leonard Cohen.  

What’s your greatest skill in the kitchen?
Somehow managing to not blow it up on the rare occasion that I cook something.  

What scares you?
House centipedes, large spiders, and worms.  

What’s the loftiest goal you’ve yet to accomplish?
Would like to do a tune with Jack White. He’s done some awesome work with Loretta Lynn and Wanda Jackson. It would be amazing to see what he would do with my stuff.  

Fill in the blank: I’ll know I’ve really made it when _____________.
I don’t have to worry about how to pay my rent each month  

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Keep doing what you’re doing, it will happen eventually.” Somehow I'm stubborn enough to believe this, and I don’t really know what's supposed to happen, but apparently it means I can sing for a living, which is just dandy!  

Tweet your obit (140 characters or less):
“…now I’ll be on my way.”

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