We recently caught up with singer and songwriter Hayley Orrantia, star of ABC’s ‘The Goldbergs’ to talk about her new single ‘Find Yourself Somebody’ and ‘Made For This’ (out this week). We also asked her what it was like working alongside John Oates, who recently filmed a guest starring role on the show. Here is what she had to say:
Hi Hayley, hope you are doing well under these difficult circumstances. The last time I interviewed you, was at the Paley Center For Media at ‘The Goldbergs event, last year –how things have changed since then! First of all, let’s talk about how you have been dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. What has it been like for you?
Hey!! I am doing well. Just trying to keep as busy as I can. It makes the time go by faster. Since the lockdown, I’ve done my best to stay inside and take all the precautions necessary to keep those around me safe. I was able to purchase gloves and my grandmother sent me masks that she made. I Lysol the outside of every package I receive in the mail, as well as grocery boxes. Some people may think I’m crazy, but I truly don’t care cause I’d much rather prevent contracting and spreading the virus as much as possible. I’ve adjusted my work schedule to be completely virtual, which in my case works very well, but I hate seeing so many friends and co-workers struggling since losing their jobs. All we can do now is just donate and offer support to those in need.
I couldn’t agree more, Hayley! You have also just released your new single ‘Find Yourself Somebody’ as well as some new merchandise via your official website. What was the process behind the writing and production of the song –and also the inspiration behind it?
This song stems from the ending of a relationship I had that, you could say, was mutual. We knew it wouldn’t work between the two of us, but there’s enough love and respect for the other person that you want the best for them, even if that means them finding love with someone else. I wrote it with Robyn Collins and Johnny Simmens in Nashville. It’s always so easy and fun writing with them, so that process was a blast — just trying to piece together the story and what I wanted to say to my ex. About a year later, I recorded it with producer, Jamie Kenney who is so talented and just naturally knew what the song needed. Overall, I am so excited the song is finally out. I’ve always loved the groove and feel of the song, and so happy others can enjoy it now too!
Who were some of your influences growing up?
When I was really young, I grew up listening to a lot of soulful singers like Brian McKnight and Luther Vandross, as well as big vocalists like Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. As I got into high school, I fell in love with songwriting and was very inspired by Sara Bareilles. She’s my biggest musical influence, I think. But, I also loved the direction that Kacey Musgraves is taking country music, she is very lyrically driven, too, and lyrics are very important to me. But lately, I am loving where country music is going -being so influenced by pop music. Artists like Dan + Shay do an amazing job combining the two sounds, so I look up to them sonically.
You also play Erica Goldberg on ABC’s ‘The Goldbergs’ -which also happens to feature a guest appearance by John Oates from Hall and Oates. What was it like working with such an iconic artist like him? –and what were some of your favorite Hall and Oates songs?
I am always so mind blown at the guest stars our show is able to get, especially iconic 80’s rockstars! Getting to work with John Oates was so exciting and nerve-wracking, but he is the nicest man! We really connected over our love of Nashville and music in general. It’s awesome when you meet someone so influential, and they keep their humility decades into such a successful career. It truly doesn’t happen that often. As far as my favorite song of theirs, I would have to go with “Rich Girl.” I remember my dear friends, The Brewer Boys, sang that song when we were contestants on The X factor together, and it has always remained a special song that brings me back to that time in my life.
What is your favorite genre of music to sing and write? Do you have a specific style you love the most, or do you like to change it up?
That’s so difficult to answer because I am truly influenced by so many different genres. It’s like a mood for me. But I specifically love songwriting within the country music genre. I feel country music allows for you to dive into a story more, lyrically, than other genres. But I could go from playing sad pop ballads on the piano to jamming to 70's funk music to attempting wild runs and ad-libs in a Jessie J song. That’s the beauty of music, though! There’s a sound for everything you’re feeling.
What are your personal thoughts behind acting, versus singing? Do you find yourself preparing the same way for each performance? Or is it completely different for you?
There’s an equal amount of preparation for both, I think. You want to have your lines/lyrics memorized first and foremost. With acting and comedy, specifically, I think there’s room for improv and feeling out a moment with another actor -the same with music! While you want the band to be fully rehearsed, many artists use live performances as an opportunity to improv new sounds and versions of a song that the audience is already familiar with to keep it fresh and interesting. I believe, in many ways, music can be a part of acting by keeping a “rhythm” throughout a scene or having what we call “beats” in a scene where there’s a planned pause in the dialogue. But I use acting in my music, too. Connecting with the lyrics when I sing is like storytelling -and I know it shows on my face when I’m on stage.
If you had the choice to work with a particular artist and/or producer on some music, who would it be and why?
I would really love to work with Sara Bareilles. Her sound ranges from piano ballads to pop radio songs to Broadway musicals. She cares about how the lyrics and the production come together to work in harmony and I think I could learn so much from her process.
What have you learned the most about yourself and life during this time of lockdown that you will carry with you, after all of this is over?
I’ve learned that I am someone who needs to keep a schedule if I am going to remain mentally healthy. While being at home with so much downtime can be nice, I need to have things to keep me busy, work-wise, for me to feel my best. Don’t get me wrong, I am great at being lazy, but it’s important for me to have things to look forward to, even if I have to make something up for myself. I also think it’s so important to check in on your people and see how they are doing. All it takes is just reaching out and asking. You never know what someone is dealing with.
Lastly, what is your best piece of advice to aspiring artists out there, who might feel a little disheartened and uncertain about their careers, etc?
I know it may be cliché, but you can’t let “no” be the be all and end all, for you. This industry is built on a foundation of no’s with just one “yes” that changes the game. There is no way to predict how your story will play out, but I can guarantee it won’t be the way you imagined it. It will be unexpected and way better than you could’ve planned. So if you’re disappointed or heartbroken because you didn’t book that one gig you really believed in or loved, don’t carry that with you for long. It happened for a reason and it’s just another corner you rounded on your path to success!