For six seasons, Hayley Orrantia has played Erica on ABC’s hit comedy, “The Goldbergs,” and while she often gets the chance to sing on the show, not everyone realizes that the actress is an accomplished singer who has developed quite a following.
“Music is something that I naturally always did, and started taking lessons at age 9,” she said. “I started performing in festivals around my hometown at around 11, and it wasn’t until I was 15 that I got a music manager who shopped me around to labels in New York and Los Angeles, and they told me in order to get signed, I would need a platform like a television show.”
Although she had no interest in acting at the time, Orrantia started taking acting lessons and fell in love with the craft, eventually booking “The Goldbergs.”
Before hitting it big on television, Orrantia was a member of Lakoda Rayne, a country pop girl group assembled by Paula Abdul during the first season of “The X Factor,” and last year, her songs “Strong, Sweet and Southern” and “Give Me Back Sunday” were both featured on Spotify’s Wild Country and Nearly Nashville playlists.
“My music is very lyrically driven and all of my songs are based on personal experience,” she said. “I tend to write a lot more ballads because that’s what I gravitate towards. I use music and lyrics to get through whatever I’m struggling with, and I hope it does that for other people.”
These tunes are a little different than those she performs on the ’80s-themed television show, and which her audience might expect, since her character often sings ’80s classics.
“I get to do everything from Rush to Queen to Whitney Houston, so it’s been great,” Orrantia said. “I truly love singing all kinds of music, and I may get in trouble with that with people who view the music industry as a ‘brand’ type, and tell you to stick with what you know. I’ve always been a very fluid person in my music and I love being able to perform anything and everything.”
Her recent song, “If I Don’t” from her EP “The Way Out” garnered lots of attention (and video views) when Orrantia told People Magazine the inspiration for the song, which was a relationship that ended traumatically after she learned she was being lied to and stolen from by her ex.
On July 7, Orrantia will be performing at The Birchmere, sharing the bill with Colbie Caillat and Gone West.
“I’ll be doing four shows with them and while I’m on the East Coast, I scheduled a couple of other dates on my own to try and make a whole week of it there,” she said. “I’m so excited to be performing with them. I’ve been lucky to have been friends with them for a year-and-a-half now, and I was beside myself excited when they asked. If you would have told a 12-year-old me that I would be opening for Colbie Caillat and Jason Reeves, she would have not believed you.”
Her set will consist of a number of songs from her latest EP as well as some new songs that have yet to be released.
“It’s going to be a mixture of the whole emotional side of what this EP was for me, as well as my fun, country stuff that will balance out all the sad stuff,” Orrantia said. “I do have the backstory with my EP that I learned a lot of lessons from, and I try to incorporate a lot of that into my set.”
In fact, she hopes to someday do a college tour that’s a hybrid between a concert and Ted Talk, where she can talk about her experience and how to best avoid the situation she was in.
With “The Goldbergs” set to begin production on season seven shortly, Orrantia will be back filming and fitting in music when she can.
“I try to juggle both the best I can, but it can be hard because they can be very different careers and they don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand all the time, but I believe if you really want to do something, you will find a way to make it happen,” she said. “Once this show is over—but I’m hoping that it goes at least 10 years—I will probably take a year or two and dive headfirst into music and see where that takes me.”