Nowadays YouTube is used as a platform for every aspiring musician to document their hopefully blossoming careers. Dublin-born singer-songwriter Orla Gartland is a pioneer of that trend – and a successful one at that. Since posting her very first cover in 2008 as a 13 year old just looking to get feedback, she’s grown up with an active audience awaiting every release and upload.
Music has always excited Orla. She began learning the likes of the violin and fiddle at just five years old before moving on to guitar seven years later, thriving at any opportunity to play or even talk about it. This mixture of instruments has helped develop her unique folk-pop acoustic sound that encapsulates her traditional Irish roots while incorporating upbeat contemporary elements.
Continually building her channel and posting original demos – including the breakthrough music video for ‘All The Little Details’ – Orla was itching to finish school and focus on music full time. At 17 years old, this became a reality as she released her official debut single ‘Devil on My Shoulder’. In her homeland it reached number 2 in the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and was covered by fellow YouTube musicians such as dodie.
The following year, she released her debut EP Roots which included four brand new tracks. The title track continued her iTunes success as it was named their Single of the Week upon release and as the opener, it led into a blissful 14-minute experience. A contemporary folk flare in the form of twanging staccato melodies layered over delicate yet stunning harmonies left Orla unparalleled and flourishing both online and in the newcomer charts.
After performing with the likes of Nina Nesbitt as well as embarking on her own debut headlining tour across the UK and Ireland, she released her second EP Lonely People in 2015, which premiered on Ear Milk. Another four-track release, this one took on a more indie-pop sound featuring electric guitars, more prominent percussion and synths. The transition was welcomed as openly as her debut, with Thank Folk For That complimenting her “incredible diverse vocal abilities”, rating it 4/5, while Wonderland named it their Track of The Week.
Now age 24, Orla has released her highly anticipated third EP Why Am I Like This? earlier this month, which builds on her developing indie-pop sound but invites more elements of gentle acoustic folk. Written over the course of the four years since Lonely People‘s release, Orla stated “Each of these songs explores something I’ve learnt about myself in my late teens through to my early twenties – these super turbulent, super formative years.” The title track was aptly coined “existential pop” and received phenomenal support being her fastest-growing track to date – with over a million Spotify streams and counting.
Now having toured across the UK, Ireland and North America to adoring audiences – including many who have watched her online for years – Orla’s live performances showcase not only the mesmerising music but also her grand personality: the wit, the humour, and the honesty laid bare for all to experience.
See Orla live, in November!Buy Tickets introducing / orla gartland