Interviews

Singer-Songwriter and Actress Hayley Orrantia Talks X Factor, The Goldbergs and New Music

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Hayley Orrantia, who you might recognize from the hit ABC sitcom, The Goldbergs. The multi-talented starlet has also been in the music industry for a decade. She got her start on the X Factor and was placed into a country girl group for a period of time, ultimately finishing ninth on the show.

Now, Hayley has found success in her own solo music career while balancing her acting career. She just released a new single, “Find Yourself Somebody,” and is working on more music to be released later this year. We spoke to Hayley all about her new single, upcoming EP and how her music and acting career blossomed into what it has become today. Check out our interview below.

You recently released your new single, “Find Yourself Somebody,” off of your forthcoming EP. Tell us a little bit about the track and what it means to you.

“Find Yourself Somebody” is a love song to an ex. It’s about a mutual break up where it ends in love and wanting to best for the other person, even if that means them finding happiness with someone else. I call it a “happy break up,” while they’re rare, they do exist.

You released an EP last year called The Way Out, which was a compilation of five songs, including the single, “If I Don’t.” How would you say your forthcoming EP differs from the sound of The Way Out?

I haven’t planned on releasing an EP after The Way Out. Originally, I was going to put out a series of singles, but this pandemic has shifted many plans. So as of now, I am going to dive into the writing process, and an EP may evolve from there. But I imagine it consisting of more mid-tempo and upbeat songs rather than a full ballad EP like The Way Out. However, I am a sucker for a good slow song, so you can bet there will be a couple.

Back in 2011, you competed on X Factor and were handpicked by Paula Abdul to be placed into a country girl group. Your group, Lakoda Rayne, went on to finish in ninth place, and ultimately, you went your separate ways. How did your time on the show influence your solo career in music?

I learned a lot from my experience on the X Factor. Mostly, that television producers will always put the show before the talent. I’ve never been on such a fast-paced project before in my life, and I pray I never will again. It’s an exhausting process, and the anxiety is consistent throughout the entire experience, but I met some incredible people on that show, many of which I am still friends with today. So, despite all the bad stuff, I can walk away knowing I did my best and made some lifelong friends out of it.

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Riker Brothers
HAIR: Gui Schoedler
MAKE-UP: Anton Khachaturian
STYLING: Lo VonRumpf

Originally, you were not interested in acting but ultimately came to be the star of the ABC show The Goldbergs. The show has been on air now for seven seasons! How did you decide to break into the acting world, and did you ever imagine being on a successful sitcom for such a long time?

Acting sort of fell into my lap. As a recommendation from labels to establish a “platform” of viewers to start up my music career, I started taking lessons. After five years of classes and auditions, I landed The Goldbergs. I never thought growing up that I would be an actress, but I loved sitcoms.

My dad and I had a handful of shows that were our go-tos after work and school that we bonded over, all of which were sitcoms. To look back on where I am now, it makes so much sense to me that I ended up here. I love performing and entertaining and making people laugh, so a comedy set is where I belong.

If you had to pick between being an actress or being a musician, which would you choose and why?

That’s the toughest question I get asked. Music is my first love and will always keep that place in my heart, but I do adore acting now, specifically because of The Goldbergs. So if I didn’t have the show, I don’t think the answer would be as difficult. I can’t choose, though. It’s like choosing a favorite child. It can’t and shouldn’t be done.

Describe your songwriting process. Do you usually write your songs alone or with others? Do you write a melody first or lyrics? Or does it change depending on the song?

It depends on the song. Many of the songs I release start as concepts for verses when I’m at home alone, but then I bring those to a writing room, and alongside a couple of friends, we shape it into the song you hear today. I am very lyrically driven, so I often start with lyrics, but lately, I go to my piano and find a chord progression I like before diving into the story. It always depends, though, because I may come into a writing session with a melody and an idea, but someone else could bring in a great title that works with the concept and change the story a bit. It’s like piecing a puzzle together.

When you’re not memorizing scripts or in the studio, what do you like to do to wind down? Do you have any fun or quirky hobbies that your fans may not know about?

I am pretty cliché in my hobbies, seeing as it’s mostly hanging at home and watching Netflix. But I do love cooking, so I challenge myself a lot in that way. I also love playing Call of Duty on Xbox. My dad and I used to do tournaments with friends in high school, and now that we are all in quarantine, we’ve picked it up again. I’m also very into interior design. I recently joined my dad in a business venture to build and flip homes, which has been very exciting for me!

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Riker Brothers
HAIR: Gui Schoedler
MAKE-UP: Anton Khachaturian
STYLING: Lo VonRumpf

With the coronavirus pandemic currently enforcing a quarantine for all of us, have you been inspired to create any new music while stuck inside?

I’ve been finding it very difficult to be inspired in quarantine, actually. I’ve only had one or two concepts come out of the last two weeks. I think knowing that every songwriter I know is out there writing about being stuck inside or alone or sad is making anything I’m writing feel repetitive or boring. It isn’t until something feels like a unique angle on the situation do I feel compelled to start writing. Hopefully, that wave of inspiration comes soon!

Do you have any upcoming shows or tours in support of the forthcoming EP (post coronavirus) that your fans can look forward to?

Unfortunately, everything has been postponed or canceled at this point, but I am looking forward to performing again. Hopefully, once this all settles down, I can fit in a few dates. Otherwise, it will have to wait until next year.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that we may not have addressed?

I am looking forward to filming an eighth season of The Goldbergs, as well as releasing new music. I have a song I wrote for Mother’s Day, releasing May 1, that I’m very excited about. I am currently working on the music video, which will be a compilation of home videos I have of me and my mom.

Featured Image: The Riker Brothers
HAIR: Gui Schoedler
MAKE-UP: Anton Khachaturian
STYLING: Lo VonRumpf

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Sarah DeNunzio

"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." - Karl Kraus