Actress and singer Hayley Orrantia of ABC's "The Goldbergs," who says music is all she's ever known, joined host Kenneth Womack on the fourth season of "Everything Fab Four," a podcast co-produced by me and Womack (a music scholar who also writes about pop music for Salon) and distributed by Salon.
Orrantia, best known as Erica Goldberg on the aforementioned hit show, now in its 10th season ("It's given me everything in life"), says being able to incorporate singing into the character has been the most "special thing." Having always loved pop music, as well as soul and funk, she enjoys being able to "chameleon her way" into different genres.
On "The Goldbergs," she famously covered Paul McCartney's classic "Maybe I'm Amazed," which she approached with "fear, only because he's such an iconic artist." But she wanted to be able to bring a lot of herself into the song, while also doing justice to the original. As a female singer interpreting the tune, she also enjoyed being able to "flip it on its head," telling Womack, "I just let go and had fun with it. And it worked out."
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It was actually a Beatles cover that originally introduced Orrantia to the band as a child, which she says she's "slightly embarrassed to admit," was in the 1998 remake of "The Parent Trap," when a version of "Here Comes the Sun" plays over a sequence of scenes in London. Being a "third generation" fan, she discusses how she and so many of her peers discover older music primarily through movies and TV shows today, but "on their own terms … the music exists outside of itself."
As an artist herself, Orrantia describes feeling like "you need to pick a lane" and wanting to break away from that, admiring how the Beatles "allowed themselves to be so open and free. They were my first major example of saying screw what the label says, screw what the business says. It's about a feeling and what you're creating. I'm constantly learning something new or gaining a new perspective because of their music." As for what the future holds for her career and life? "I'm open for whatever the universe is gonna bring."
Listen to the entire conversation with Hayley Orrantia on "Everything Fab Four," including what it was like working with "mysterious" legend George Segal, and subscribe via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google, or wherever you're listening.
"Everything Fab Four" is distributed by Salon. Host Kenneth Womack is the author of a two-volume biography on Beatles producer George Martin and the bestselling books "Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles" and "John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life." His latest project is the authorized biography and archives of Beatles road manager Mal Evans, due out in 2023.
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