Orla Gartland is on her maiden voyage this side of the pond. The Irish pop songwriter, who is a self described ‘music making ginger nutcase’, is on her first North American tour that included a stop in Toronto and upcoming SXSW appearance. Not too bad for the recent 20 year old who started out as posting covers on YouTube just to get constructive feedback. Read below as we chat about responding to YouTube comments, eating Poutine and assembling her Ginger Avengers.
This is your first time across the pond into Canada and States. Most first timers have a list of things they want to do. Do you have a bucket list?
It’s a loose bucket list. I want to collect things from everywhere, really obvious things like a postcard or a souvenir from each place. I have a song called ‘Souvenirs’, so thinking of doing like a video at the end of the tour. Just get stupid pictures in front of monuments. Like the touristy pictures but do them wrong. Try all of the food, be it disgusting or gourmet delicacy.
That’s wicked. Have you had poutine yet?
Yea! Got it from a place called Smokes. I imagine its really good drunk food because it’s sloppy and disgusting but also amazing!
You are someone who is very active on social media. You even respond to YouTube comments.
I find YouTube comments very weird. People are really anonymous on there. YouTubers tend to be really passionate, either in a good way or bad way. For most people, it scares the crap out of them because they feel like I am never gonna look. It’s hilarious!
Speaking of interactions, have you had any with other musicians or celebrities where you were starstruck? Social media or in person.
A lot of these interactions are UK based acts. There is this girl called Lucy Rose. I am a massive fan. I went to a gig of hers on my own. I waited till the end to get the poster signed, and I was shaking. I put it down, she signed ‘to Orla’. I was like, ‘oh I didn’t tell you my name’. She said, ‘ Oh, I know your music’. I was like ‘aargahahhghg’. I freaked out!
Haha that’s pretty awesome. Now, you started out with YouTube covers. Your most popular one goes back to your earliest days of ‘Hey Ya’ when you were a teenager with ponytail ginger hair and braces!
Oh no! You really have done your research.
So, you watch that and then look at your current ‘polished’ music videos. What’s your reaction? Do you cringe or embrace it?
A bit of both. I cringe like anyone would. It’s like if you look at an old picture when you had stupid hair. But, then also if it weren’t for these stupid videos, no one would know who I am. I am not signed or anything. My method of doing things is put stuff on YouTube; see what happens and then just roll with it. That’s the only way I was able to book this tour. The beginning of this whole ‘rolling with it’ started with these stupid videos. I have to remember that even when I cringe.
You are someone who celebrates her gingerness. Pretend you are Nick Fury and you are assembling your own team of Ginger Avengers. Go!
We gotta put Ed (Sheeran) on the list. Put Ron Weasley on as well because he is already pretty powerful. I would also put Emma Stone. I watched her movie Easy A last night, which is like the best and worst movie I have ever seen. I like her a lot. And now I have to think of another one.
You need 2 more?
I thought I was on there.
Noo! You are the leader. You need 5 in your team. Isn’t Lucy Rose ginger?
Some call her blonde. But she is totally ginger. So, I am putting her on there as an honorary member.
What about Conan O’Brien?
He is a presenter here isn’t he? He is the guy with the funny face.
Relieved you didn’t say Carrot Top. Don’t Google him.
You know I am gonna right?! [laughs]
Thank you Orla Gartland, for giving us your answers!
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Interview by Nilabjo Banerjee | @nilabjo