…there’s a second helping of Music Monday. Up here in Canadialand, we have our own Grammy-type thing. They are called the JUNO Awards. And this year, they took my advice and turned their ears toward Lindi Ortega.
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BORN TO RUN
Longtime readers will know I’ve been pushing Lindi Ortega on y’all for, well, a long time. I make absolutely no apologies about it. Yes, I’ve been lucky enough to get to know her on a personal level but my adoration for her voice and musicianship began before she also proved to be Miss Congeniality (and a fellow movie addict). So, I call dibs on the “I told you so” pulpit.
This year, Lindi is nominated not once but twice for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year and New Artist of the Year. We’ll just skip the part about her ‘newness’ and allow it because if they want to give her two nominations, I ain’t complainin’.
Music is a tough business. I sorta knew that but having followed Lindi for a while, I now have a better understanding of it. There are so many great talents out there who are either content to or aren’t fortunate enough to do more than make ends meet. These days, with social media, you can get a better level of support from your fans regardless of the geography but it’s still a real job keeping those paying gigs coming faster than the bill collectors come a-knockin’.
Sure, there are all these talent competition shows but, really, how many of those who try out even get a chance to merely show their stuff much less make it to the finals. And history tells us even winning the biggest competitions is no guarantee of success after the fact. What I’ve come to respect about being a musician — what I’ve learned from Miss Little Red Boots — is that music is like writing. You don’t do it because you want to, you do it because you have to. Do it for anything less than that and it will break you down. Deny the need and it will chew you up from the inside.
Award winning music video for Angels
Worse than the trials of the writer, the musician — especially the singer — not only has to brave all the critique a writer does but they also have to get up there in front of people and do their level best to not suck. The vast majority of writers, no matter how bad they may be, will never be booed. So, being a working musician is not all glamour shots and awards shows. It takes a brave and committed soul, or perhaps a foolhardy one, to slog through the proverbial slings and arrows.
And I haven’t even touched on the state of the big ole recording industry and their corporate overlords. Nor will I, today.
IT’S A HELLUVA THING…
What I’m trying to say is, regardless of whether or not you’re from a large country or a small country, being nominated for your national music award is a big deal. When you’re not an anointed, prepackaged, designed, and manufactured (and heavily engineered) studio creation and you’re just one of those dreamers with an undeniable hankerin’ to put your soul’s delights and your heart’s laments into song, to be nationally recognized as Best Anything is a feat. It may not necessarily be the pinnacle of your career but it sure as heck beats a kick in the pants.
For a long while, I’ve said Lindi is one of my heroes. Allow me to explain. You see, sure, I have a lot of the same kinds of heroes most people have. Most of them are famous and all that. I got me some writer-types, some righteous-types, some from my own family, and even some other musicians. Lindi became my hero long before she signed with Last Gang Records. It’s not about the stage performer charisma or any infatuation with her sultry ways and womanly wiles. Okay, maybe a little bit. Really, though, it’s about her artistry and how she unabashedly sates it.
I’m not talking about her ability to put words to her thoughts and melody to her feelings. I’m not talking about the way she slings her guitar as she sings. What I am talking about how she gives in to it all. How she recognizes her greatest passion and pursues it, heedless of the risk. It’s about how she doesn’t just want to express herself through music but how she has to do it. In that way, she’s my hero because I know some of the things she’s suffered along the way — from disappointment and disillusionment to folks with nasty ways of expressing their opinion — and it’s all the things I have, at one point or another, let slow me down or stop me entirely in pursuing my own dreams. So, every time I read a good review, or hear her on the radio, or see her record in HMV or on iTunes, or (most importantly) just listen to the good damn music she sings, it reminds me that she keeps on keepin’ on. And that also reminds me to stop my whining, cringing, whingeing, and procrastinating and follow my own passions with no regret.
Not because I want to but because I have to.
MATTER OF FACT
Anyway, beyond all that self-centered yammering, there is something else I will feel besides inspiration on JUNO night. Regardless of whether she wins an award or not, I’m going to feel something else. It’s the same thing I always feel whenever I think of her but just a little more that night. I’m going feel proud of her. Like a good cowgirl in little red boots, whether the chips were up or the chips were down, she’s stuck to her guns. Sure, humility is important and despite how her star has steadily risen, Lindi Ortega has remained the same humble, whimsical, and annoyingly delightful person I met by chance years ago. So, if she doesn’t allow herself to feel a little proud of getting to the Big Canadian Show then I sure as hell will do it for her.
Hey, maybe you don’t like her brand of music or her voice doesn’t speak to you. That’s cool. Music appreciation is subjective. Always has been, always will be. So if you don’t cotton to the moonshine that Bootsy is sellin’, I won’t hold it against you. However, if you don’t respect what it has taken for this little bonny caballera* to get to where she is, then you an’ me we don’t quite see eye to eye.
Don’t much matter, though. See, regardless of what anyone thinks, whether it’s me, you, the JUNO folks, or that feller in the corner who passed out an hour ago from too much whiskey, it just don’t matter one bit.
Come hell or high water, Lindi Ortega will keep on keepin’ on.
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The JUNO Awards 2012, hosted by William Shatner, will be broadcast on CTV on Sunday, April 1st (no foolin’) at 8:00 PM EST. Lindi will also take part in the Songwriters’ Circle that afternoon (1PM-3PM), which will stream live on CBC Radio 3. It will be broadcast again on CBC Radio 2 from 4PM-6PM.
- Official site: LindiOrtega.ca
- Facebook: facebook.com/lindiortegafans
- MySpace: myspace.com/lindimusic
- Twitter: @lindiortega
[ * This is a reference to her Irish-Mexican heritage. And, yes, I know caballera is not the proper feminine form of caballero but it’s my blog and I’ll muck with words if I want to. ]
[ Edited for grammar’n’stuff: Mar-26 5:45PM ]