Orianthi exploded on the music scene last year. After her jaw-dropping performance at the 2009 Grammy Awards with Carrie Underwood, Michael Jackson's music director approached her via MySpace to audition for his upcoming dates at the O2 Arena in London. Unfortunately, the tour never developed, but if you saw the film This Is It, you will recognize Orianthi as the killer guitarist in his band.
Having shared the stage with guitar legends including Carlos Santana and Steve Vai and with the goal to inspire more girls to pick up the electric guitar, Orianthi is a standout role model. I met up with the 24-year-old Australian virtuoso when she was in New York promoting her debut album, Believe, and performing for fans. While she began playing guitar at the age of six, being a female guitarist hasn't always been easy.
"Guitar is a guy's thing. I'd get picked on a lot and school wasn't exactly the easiest time," Orianthi said. "Actually, my teacher told me I should play the harp; it's more feminine. It's kind of like being a male ballerina in a way .. I loved playing guitar so much that I stuck at it. I just want to inspire more girls to pick it up and stick at it and believe in themselves with whatever they do. You just have to follow down your path."
Watch the video to learn more about Orianthi's passion for guitar, what it was like to perform with Santana, and her experience working with Michael Jackson.
Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where you can read more on the latest up-and-coming bands.