‘OrangeG’ – Marvel’s New Superhero…?
LABELLING himself a ‘Musical Scientific Musician Scientist’ (surely a world’s first) he’s known to his legions of supporters quite simply as OrangeG
Based out of Pittsburgh, PA, his day job is in the sciences and much of his music influenced by his experiences in that hypercompetitive arena, but rather like some latter-day Marvel Superhero, at night the white lab coat is gradually removed to reveal ‘OrangeG,’
His song writing and recording efforts intensified during the pandemic, his influences include indie folk/americana acts like Conor Oberst, Neko Case, Wilco and Jake Bellows, but extend to roots in classic rock, prog and the blues. But to be brutally honest, that barely touches the surface of this complex, inventive soul.
“My sound is a bit eclectic,” he said. “Most instruments I play are acoustic, so it is very much in the folk/Americana vein. However, I have released some heavier tracks and continue to work on expanding my sound and repertoire.
“I have been playing guitar since I was 10. My dad saw me enthralled by a guest playing at the house and decided to get me lessons. I’ve played harmonica since high school starting on my dad’s old chromatic. I really didn’t get serious about playing publicly until a few years back when I first started writing songs in earnest. I picked up a harmonica holder a few years back and realized that I could play both instruments at the same time.
“Having something unique I brought to the table helped me with the steep climb out of self-doubt and feelings of low self-worth. It got me on stage at open mics, though only once in a while. With the pandemic, I became a regular at a virtual open (http://hambonesopenmic.com). It really helped me weather the pandemic. I was convinced by the supportive folks there, especially Liss Victory to release my music. My Bandcamp page went live in July 2020, and a first track was uploaded to Spotify in September 2020.
“Until recently it would take me forever to finish a song, sometimes years. Often a lyrical idea would come first, sometimes a melody, and other times it would be just a concept I wanted to explore. I have become a lot faster – have started using word pools, and other tricks that I have learned in song writing classes (the http://schoolofsong.org is a great place to learn) and books (Jeff Tweedy’s ‘How to write One Song’ is highly recommended!) to expedite the process. The meaning and intent of song remain really important to me, and a song won’t get off the ground if there isn’t a strong emotion behind it.
“I have learned to love performing live – I never thought I would – but a year in quarantine, playing live online has really shown me how to overcome stage fright and lean into performance. I love to go live on Instagram and play and talk to folks. On the other hand, I am bad at promotion, there are not enough hours in the day to do everything as a DIY artist, and that part tends to fall behind the other more creative aspects.”
Earlier this month OrangeG was in Brooklyn to record custom 7” vinyl records for people who pre-ordered a recording of one of his songs. Each record a unique rendition that will be the only copy in existence, while his next live appearance will be at a showcase at the Northeast Folk Alliance on November 16th.
And with a bright future – perhaps even so bright he’ll have to wear shades – OrangeG explains in his typical self-deprecating style exactly how his musical journey began.
“At an early age it was all about cool points, it was probably the coolest thing I had bragging rights to through junior high and high school, but I don’t think it helped me out too much because I was pretty horrendously uncool. As I got older, playing music was a way to relax at the end of a hard day’s work.
“But something flipped when I started writing songs. The joy of having a melody running through your mind and words to go along. Now, I find it therapeutic to express and process what I am feeling. It helps me, and I hope that it helps those who listen too.
“I am working on my album now – wish me luck – and in my dreams I would have an audience big enough to support a tour. It is a marathon not a race, and I am being patient in growing my fanbase and filling my catalogue with songs that mean something to me.”
Follow OrangeG on Twitter – @orangegmusic – and listen to ‘Look Both Ways’ right here:
(Ah, and in case you’re wondering, it’s a dye used when looking at DNA fragments.)