Lindi Ortega just goes with her heart

Lindi Ortega just goes with her heart

She has been tagged “Toronto’s best-kept secret.”

But that situation should swiftly change for Lindi Ortega — judging by her brilliant new alt-country masterpiece “Little Red Boots,” she’s the new Queen of Alt-Country, just waiting to be crowned.

Her voice is that Dolly Parton-pure, her songs (like “Blue Bird,” “Little Lie” and a glockenspiel-tinkly “Dying Of Another Broken Heart”) that Appalachian twangy, her approach that down-to-Earth real.

In fact, most country fans would be hard-pressed to ever pinpoint her as Canadian.

Her other nickname of “Indie Lindi,” however makes more sense. She’s signed to hipster imprint Last Gang Records, which will be issuing her new Christmas EP this month, and — on a whim — she just shot a daguerreotype-grainy video for her track “Angels” on her iPhone, and it wound up winning the iPhone Film Contest.

She called last week before breezing into San Francisco tonight for a must-see show at the Red Devil Lounge.

Have you ever thought about just sweeping into Nashville, hooking up with a killer publishing company, and showing all those Hallmark-card-cheesy composers exactly how it’s done?

Well, I have a co-venture deal with my label’s publishing wing, which is based out of Nashville. I was there for two months, which is where the “Little Red Boots” story actually starts. I ended just up writing with a whole bunch of people, and I discovered at that time that I have a very specific writing style, and that there were certain people that got it and certain people that didn’t. And I realized right away that I’m very much not of the whole “New Country” vibe or way of doing things. But I’m going back. I’m actually going to move there.

What?! Why, given how you feel about the place?

Well, in the two months that I was there I also learned that everybody — regardless of the kind of music they’re doing in Nashville — is very driven, very ambitious and constantly working hard and being productive. When you call up a friend that you met in Nashville and say “Hey, what are you doing today? You wanna get together?” they always reply “I can’t till later — I’m working on some songs.” And then I think to myself “Hmm … maybe I should be working on songs, too!” And I was inspired to write there, and I did actually come up with a few cool songs while I was there. So I figure a change of scenery will be good for me.

You’re not worried about suddenly regressing into Lady Antebellum?

I’ve had the warnings, like “Oh, Nashville will destroy you, blah, blah, blah.” But I don’t think it will. I kind of pride myself on being a little different in Nashville — I don’t want to be the same as everybody else, I’m not trying to be. I like the fact that I’m doing something that’s a little off the beaten path, and I think I have a strong enough constitution to never let outside forces turn me into anything else. I mean, if that was gonna happen, it would’ve happened when I was on a major label (for her 2008 Interscope EP “The Drifter”) and people were coaxing me to be more like Norah Jones. But I was like “No. I’m gonna do this kind of music, even though it doesn’t sell in my homeland, in Toronto, and even though I don’t live in an area where it could grow and become something.” But I just wanted to do this music anyway, because it was what I loved. And I always just go with my heart and my gut.

artsBackstage Passlindi ortegaPop Music & JazzSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Bay Area soul and jazz great Ledisi headlined Stern Grove’s opening 2021 show. (Christopher Victorios/Special to The Examiner)
Sweet sounds, extra space at Stern Grove

Ledisi, The Seshen, La Doña play first free concert since pandemic hit

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Most Read