Blending the worlds of music, art, and spirituality, Oriel is a multimedia artist who truly defies labeling. With hints of Lana Del Rey and Massive Attack, her music has evolved into a mixture of sensuality, emotion, and honesty that continues to captivate her listeners. Taking the helm of not only her musical vision, Oriel is deeply involved with the visual, having creative directed multiple music videos that continue to allure millions: both fans and new viewers alike.
Born in the UK, Oriel grew up in the US and embarked upon a promising design career, but during the height of the recession following the economic crash, she discovered that her long time love, music, was her ultimate passion. Using the skills she honed as a production designer, Oriel now adapts her talents to self-manage and direct her music career. Being primarily self-taught, her melodies come from an intuitive feeling, rather than intellectual place.
Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
- Freedom the Song
- “Freedom” was recorded in Paris, my producer Max Savage was working out there, at Studio Minuit. Max had a beat he was sitting on that I wanted to explore. When I entered the vocal booth and he hit record, all the melodic licks started cascading from my mouth. Suddenly we knew we were sitting on something potent! The energy of the song felt so alive and truly radiated the embodiment of Freedom.
- This song “Freedom” is a call to action – to live and create from a heart-centered life – to step into a life with passion and purpose. I believe we may all find our path and have access to our personal Freedom, because “the truth is in our hearts.”
- Freedom Music video
- “Freedom” has become one of my most popular songs, grabbing the attention of a more mainstream audience, which inspired me to create music video.
- I’m in a dance troop called Team 3XT and every quarter they collaborate with different artists on various projects, so I approached them about collaborating on my music video for Freedom. They said yes and suddenly, I had a squad of 25 dancers on this music video! Making “Freedom” the biggest music video production I’ve ever done.
- As a designer turned recorded artist, I’m very involved with my music videos. For the “Freedom” music video I decide to take on the role as creative director – building the concept and working closely with everyone on the team to bring this vision to life. I found Ali Roberto, an award winning director, and asked her to be a part of this vision for “Freedom” and she said yes! Together we developed a concept for a one-shot music video.
- Other core members of the team included our DP, Faisal. The production was managed by Genius Insane Productions and Muita Muthee. The location was in Venice, at a lofted warehouse, once the home of Dennis Hopper, originally designed by Frank Gary.
- The creation process began with Ali, Faisal, and I designing the moving journey through the space, then choreographers from Team 3XT created the choreography. Another element of this music video included styling done by my long time creative partner OSTARA. We decided on a retro rainbow wardrobe palette, to achieve a colorful disco throwback feel, together working with Ali’s vision for lighting, and the jewelry (also OSTARA) for each of the outfits, the visual components of the video are yet another layer that makes this music video so captivating.
- What’s important to point is that it took a large amount trust to pull this one-take concept off. I’m an indie artist working with an indie budget, pulling on the biggest production I’m ever birthed. I’m working with a lot of talented people, including the director, for the first time. We had a very small window of time to get the one-shoot to work. There was no room for error because when you’re doing a one-take, everything needs to work (there is no fixing in post) – we had to get the seamless shot we needed in the time we had. Period. That being said, I never doubted the teams abilities for a moment, and everything came together beautifully the way that it did.
- I can tell you now, the first two minutes of the video are a true one take. Then as we progress into night, well…you’ll have to just watch it to see what comes next!
What is your favorite song you wrote and why?
- “Brighter” is one of my favorite songs. It’s the first song I ever wrote and hits the closest to home. It expressed a large part of my soul essence, what I embody as artist at my core. Every song since “Brighter” has been an exploration of another dimension of how I express myself at an artist. At the root, I am very deep, soulful, sensual, almost hypnotic. When I wrote this song, I was coming out, stepping into the world and identifying as an artist. This song is the vision of a light inside of me that is ready to burn bright, which is where the draw the title from. The chorus is a channeled melody, rather than a lyrical message. It’s a message that can only be felt, not understood on an intellectual level, but more on an emotional or spiritual level.
What are some things to do to keep your inspiration alive?
- That is always the constant question for artists. Being able to access my creativity means being able to find ways to lean into my sensitivity without letting it become debilitating. A lot of creation for me is about transmuting my experience emotions, and the world in general, in order to enjoy and access deeper layers of creativity. For me, my greatest inspiration comes from when I am in greatest balance of my physical, emotional, and spiritual self.
Who are you binge listening to these days?
- I am not one to typically binge on a single artist, as I listen to a wide array of music. However, two artists that have intrigued me recently are: Labrinth and Iniko.
Favorite movie or TV show?
- Right now my favorite TV show is “Westworld”.
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
- I went to a songwriting camp in Palm Springs, where we got to work with different mentors and different songwriters. There I was paired up with Nicole Wilson and Calle Hamre, and together we wrote the song “Scream.” “Scream” is about a tumultuous relationship on the verge of a meltdown. The song is the encapsulation of the internal crisis one experiences before all Hell breaks loose. It was also an opportunity to explore another aspect of my persona as an artist. The song itself is moreIndie Electronic leaning, met with haunting vocals, powerful drums, and emotive harmonies; drawing influence from Thom Yorke (of Radiohead).
Do you have any peculiar pre or post-show rituals?
- I work with visualization. I see myself in front of the crowd, envision the feeling that I would feel when performing, and witness that feeling being felt by others. I work with affirmations as well. When I’m nervous I use affirmations to anchor back into center, remember how powerful and impactful I am, and why I do what I do. Sometimes I light a candle and set an intention for the show. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that I’m able to show up as a clear channel, and re-access the emotions of each song as I perform it.
What’s the future looking like for you?
- Right now I’m producing the premiere party for the “Freedom” music video – dropping on June 30th. I’ll be doing a video screen and live performance at the Flying Embers Brewery and Social Club. This event open to the public, you just RSVP at this link if you’re in the LA area.
Who inspires your style and aesthetics?
- One person that inspires my style and aesthetics is OSTARA, the stylist for the “Freedom” music video. We’ve worked together for a few years now across several different music videos. I love seeing the evolution of the creative aesthetic that she brings to the table. Also her jewelry is insane!!
What is the achievement or moment in your career you are the most proud of and why?
- I wrote a song with Lotus off their album “Eat the Light” called “Anti-Gravity”. I was able to join Lotus on-stage for our song at Red Rocks in Colorado where they were headlining. Red Rocks is one of my all time favorite venues, a natural amphitheater immersed within the mountains, and on top of that the show was sold out to an audience of 10,000 people.
What do you think is the best way to make it as an artist nowadays?
- I wish I could answer that for you. As an Indie artist, I’m still navigating the terrain of the industry. What I can say is that you have to have your heart in the game. It’s the one thing that will sustain you long term. Even if you find that you have early success, what’s going to keep you in the game is if you are truly in love with the art and offering something that is authentically you.
What would you change in the music and entertainment industry especially after this past year?
- I think that the music industry as a whole really needs to take a deeper look into how it is supporting it’s artists. The ability to monetize and generate income as an artist is always changing but not always clear. I think that with any platform that is using an artist’s music, whether that be music streaming, radio streaming, social media, etc. there should definitely be a closer look at the value of the music that is being provided and how much of that is actually being given back to the artists.