"I’ve been through a lot of great times and I’ve learned from the hard times." - Orianthi

Posted: April 10, 2024
TMastering the six-string came naturally. “When I was 11, Carlos Santana came to play Adelaide and that show really affected me,” she recounts. “I begged my dad to get me a second-hand electric guitar so I could be like Carlos, and that was it, no more acoustic. After that, I would buy all of Carlos’ videos — on VHS! — which I kept rewinding to try and learn his solos.

Photo provided by: Rae Vinton

Can an artist switch genre’s or this a formula for disaster?

Yes, there are exceptions. Established artists who have built large followings over the years, can turn the dial, and diversify with a degree of success. After all, we have seen this throughout the decades with artists like Shania Twain. She was an accomplished country artist that turn pop. Overnight it seems, she changed genre, and increased her fan base. Taylor Swift did it. Often compared to Shania Twain Taylor Swift was performed country, but then developed into a music icon. Even after receiving backlash over her career choices, Taylor Swift was able to become a musical powerhouse. 

Another artist comes to mind. Her name is Orianthi. Known for her rock vocals, and guitar thrashing abilities, she has recently changed her vibe. I was totally impressed. She transitioned from Rock to Blues. However, if anyone can be successful playing the “Blues” it is Orianthi. She has the fan following and has been a proven artist for decades. 

With success comes failure. We know some rappers who tried their hand at other styles of music (genre). Such as Lil Wayne, who tried becoming a rock artist. Rapper, Kid Cudi, had a desire to become a rock artist. Then there is everyone’s artist that they would love to hate but can’t “Vanilla Ice” Rapper that failed to capture the glory he once had, couldn’t accomplish it with in the Rock genre. These are just a few artists, that couldn’t effectively transition to another genre. 


What is so different about the women mentioned at the beginning of this article? What makes them so special, that they can discredit the “naysayers”? The answer: Determination, Pride, Focus, and most of all talent. They were born with the ability. Some artists are just multi-genre talented. 

For Orianthi, you could say that there isn’t a big difference between Rock and Blues. Is that the case? Not at all. There is something about playing the blues that is special. It comes from life experience. Hurt, tragedy, emotion, and often getting caught up in the moment. Expressions from the heart. This should tell you a little bit more about Orianthi. There is more to her, than what you can imagine. Orianthi is no random artist. Her creativity is deep, with an abundance of talent. 

It isn’t a surprise that Orianthi has interviewed with Guitar Thrills Magazine several times throughout the years. There are other artists that have done so as well. However, Orianthi continues to change her sound, and crushes it with each attempt. We have no other choice, but to interview her, just to find out what is up next for her career. 

For previous interviews with Orianthi, please visit

“Orianthi”, impacting the lives of people for many years to come. Looking past a moment in time. Building a legacy.

“Guitar skills that are only second” to what her future will bring. A rock legend continues to defy a competitive industry.


Orianthi was born on January 22, 1985, and raised in Melbourne. His father used to play in a Greek band and all over the house there were his father’s musical instruments. As a result, Orianthi developed a keen interest in music when he was only six years old, while five years later she already had great dexterity playing the electric guitar.

Growing up in the 80s, a decade remembered for its many guitar greats, Orianthi also listened to a lot of Whitesnake, Van Halen and Def Leppard. Her father, who used to be a player in a Greek band, also kept plenty of instruments around the house, and it didn’t take long before Orianthi strummed her first chord.

Mastering the six-string came naturally. “When I was 11, Carlos Santana came to play Adelaide and that show really affected me,” she recounts. “I begged my dad to get me a second-hand electric guitar so I could be like Carlos, and that was it, no more acoustic. After that, I would buy all of Carlos’ videos — on VHS! — which I kept rewinding to try and learn his solos.

Orianthi was a member of several local Adelaide bands since she was 14 years old, at age 15 she leaves school to concentrate on writing and singing her own songs. Her first public appearance was in support of Italian American singer and guitarist Steve Vai. At age 14 she released her first album, “Under the Influence,” which consists of versions composed by musicians who have inspired her since she was a child.

When she was 18 years old, she had the opportunity to meet and play with Carlos Santana in her hometown in Adelaide, who asked him to join her on stage and Orianthi played with Carlos Santana the entire concert. Later in life, Orianthi Panagaris would go on to perform with some of best guitarists in the world. Several times she has worked and collaborated with Alice Cooper, Steve Vai, Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana, Michael Bolton, Prince, ZZ Top, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Dave Stewart, and many more international artists. 


Guitar Thrills: Hello Orianthi. We thank you for joining us again. I think it was the first time that we interviewed you, that you released “Rock Candy”. I thought that album was EPIC. I thought it touched on part of your life that you were experiencing at that time. Correct me if I am wrong. Ultimately, how was it received by your fan base? 

Orianthi: Excellent feedback and reception to a great album. "A work of art".

Guitar Thrills: You went back into the studio to record “First Time Blues”. My first impression of the music was solid. I enjoyed it as it reminded me of Kenny Wayne Shephard. Who is an absolute King when it comes to Blues / Rock. The song is not the typical down and dirty blues. It is upbeat and refreshing. It didn’t take you out of your comfort zone. Did you feel confident about what you were getting yourself into? 

Orianthi: Thank you so much! Absolutely I felt confident going to the studio ..I had that riff for a while and I was just messing with it and I wrote the lyrics really fast and it came together really naturally. 

I have a written a lot of blues songs from the beginning of my career so it’s not a big change or anything direction wise I’m just leaning more into it with this .

Guitar Thrills: You had Joe Bonamassa featured in that song. How much of did he help and in what ways? 

Orianthi: Joe has been a friend of mine for quite some time .. we had a chat and he was down and put some leads on this song and I’m so thrilled .. we had fun in the studio he’s just such a great human and Great Guitar Player! 

Guitar Thrills: What made you decide to change to a Blues sound? Are there artists that you were inspired by over the years? 

Orianthi: Not really changing my sound much if you listen to Violet journey , believe album , Heaven in This Hell that I recorded with Dave Stewart that’s very blues rock country sounding this song is a little heavier I guess in the blues direction but as I said leaning more into it. 

Guitar Thrills: Is this that we can expect from Orianthi moving forward? Are there “down and dirty” blues on your new album? 

Orianthi: I’ve been through a lot of hard times and I’ve been through a lot of great times and I’ve learned from the hard times . Although it’s the same pain from the first time you get your heart broken to every time you get your heart broken you know , so that’s why I think the blues resonates with a lot of people .. With my tunes and lyrics it’s about acknowledging hey I’ve been through this but I’ve come to the other side.. it’s not victim blues or anything you know it’s like just stating what you went through but with strength. 

Guitar Thrills: Did you decide to change up your guitar brand for the new sound, does it make a difference? I can imagine that the combination of guitar, amp and maybe pedals have an impact to the sound you are wanting to generate. What does the normal set up look like for you in studio? 

Orianthi: I’m using my amazing purple signature Paul Reed Smith through my signature orange combo amp that will be available soon called the “ Ori verb” i’m so excited for people to play through this amplifier as it’s very special and we spent a lot of time on this one . I also I’m using my vintage 63 Stratocaster . 

Guitar Thrills: Do you already have the album completed? Also, are there any other artists that you decided to work with? Larkin Poe, Samantha Fish, Kenny Wayne Shephard, Eric Gales, and Gary Clark would be some great blues artists to work with. 

Orianthi: They are some amazing artist right there! I  haven’t completed the album yet I’m still recording right now and playing shows and doing a side project as well which I’m very excited about but this album will be completed by the end of this year and I’m excited for everyone to hear this body of work it’s I hope it’s my best yet . writing and producing all the songs has been really wonderful at my friend Robbie Krieger‘s studio ! 

Guitar Thrills: What would you tell your readers as to the number one reason why they should buy into this new album?

Orianthi: It’s recorded old school with real musicians .. every song means something to me .. it’s very honest .. I hope it inspires and helps people through hard times to get to the other side . Music is really powerful and I feel very grateful to do this for a living and create 

Guitar Thrills: I look forward to finding out how well your new sound has been received by your fans. I am sure it will be well received. 

Guitar Thrills: I have some other questions, that I would like to know. How tight are you with the Raiders Owner Mark Davis? Is it too late, to get you to change teams, that you support? You know the Bucs have a large following in the U.K. 😊

Orianthi: Mark Davis is a wonderful man and a dear friend For many years ! I’ve been a Raiders fan for a long time , wore my first cap at 11 in Australia ..what he’s done for the Raiders and the basketball team the aces is very admirable And he’s a big music fan too!

"I won’t be changing teams" ha ha

Guitar Thrills: We want to thank you for joining us again. I always look forward to hearing from you. You one of top performing guitarists in the World. We look forward to what you will do next. Feel free to keep us in the loop. We are always willing to support your projects and to encourage your fan base to use their buying power for your music. They will never be disappointed. 

Orianthi: Thank you very much for your support it means so much to me .. i can’t wait to tour the world with this new record by the end of the year! 

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