Interview with rising star and soulful singer Lindi Ortega

Lindi Ortega

The last five years have been a big deal for former Toronto-native Lindi Ortega. In that time the soulful singer has toured Canada, the United States, and parts of Europe–where she’s currently on tour–she’s been nominated for two Juno Awards, long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize, and recently she was nominated for the Indie Awards, and the list goes on and on.

Lindi’s career spans over a decade, but it was after her two EPs in 2008 that her career really began to evolve, earning the singer an ever-expanding audience since she moved to Last Gang Records.

Personally, I have been following Lindi’s career since almost the very beginning, and in that time I’ve seen her perform all over Toronto, so her current success seems long overdue for those of us who have been fans since even before The Taste of Forbidden Fruit.

With Canadian Music Week in full-swing this week in Toronto, and since Lindi has been nominated for Folk/Roots Artist Of The Year at the SiriusXM Indies Award, which will be awarded this Friday, it seemed appropriate to catch up with Lindi and find out a bit more about her career these days. Read the interview below, and then scroll down to watch her video for “Cigarettes & Truckstops”.

W. Andrew Powell: The last two years have been pretty incredible for your career–how have things changed from your perspective? What has been the most exciting part?

Lindi Ortega: “I am way busier now than ever before. The most exciting part was getting to headline my own tour and selling out rooms across Canada and the U.S. It felt like I was really accomplishing something after years of hard work. I realize however… there is still a lot of hard work that needs to be put in. ”

Andrew: Congratulations on your nomination for an award at the Indies! While the two Juno Award nominations must have felt amazing, does it feel good being nominated in your former home town, and for an event that runs during a festival you’ve played before?

Lindi: “Its always nice to be recognized. I never make music with the intent to win awards or accolades. But I do appreciate the honour of being named along side some extremely talented people.”

Andrew: At this point, you have been travelling all over doing concerts. Out of all the shows you’ve done over the years, are there any that stand out just a bit more? I’m also curious if you have a dream gig?

Lindi: “Some people might think its small potatoes, but it was a real special thing for me to sell out the Rivoli in Toronto. I went there when I was younger and watched some of my favourite musicians pack it out. I always wished that one day I could have a room full of people come to see me there and that recently happened. Though it may seem silly to some people, it felt like my biggest accomplishment.”

“It was also an a great honour to open for Burton Cummings at Massy Hall. I love all the tours I get to do. They are all different and all special.”

Andrew: Do you have anyone who you consider a mentor in the industry, or a musician you look up to? I realize your father has always been an inspiration, but I’m wondering if there is anyone else you would like to mention?

Lindi: “The producer of my first record, Ron Lopata, was a great mentor to me. I learned a lot from him and will be forever grateful to him for it!”

Andrew: And one just for fun. If you could be in a super-band–with any other artists–who would you want to perform with, and what would be the name of the band?

Lindi: “There is a gal singer out of Oklahoma called Audra Mae. She’s badass. I’d do a duo thing with her… and we’d be DOS BANDITAS.”

Watch Lindi Ortega’s video for “Cigarettes & Truckstops”:

Lindi Ortega
Lindi Ortega

Photos by Julie Moe.

W. Andrew Powell lives, sleeps, eats, and breaths movies and entertainment. Since launching The GATE in 1999 Andrew has enjoyed being a pest to any publicist who would return his calls. In his "spare time," Andrew is also an avid photographer, and writes about leisure travel and hotels around the world.