Interview: Orianthi and Dave Stewart Discuss BeMyBand, Where Winners Share the Stage for the Gig of a Lifetime
Eurythmics co-founder Dave Stewart recently launched a unique performance-based contest called BeMyBand.
The purpose of BeMyBand — which you can check out here — is to ask aspiring musicians to compete for a chance to be part of Orianthi's band.
The resulting band — which will consist of a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer — will perform with Orianthi, a former Guitar World cover star, for one night at a Valentine’s Day (2014) show at a major venue in Los Angeles.
Interested musicians should submit videos of themselves playing at their very best. Up to 10 finalists for each instrument will be chosen; of those finalists, four will be selected to perform with Orianthi.
The winners' performances also will be shared via Orianthi‘s social-media channels. Winners will receive six nights’ accommodation (and travel). Musicians should submit their work no later than January 24; the voting period runs January 25 to 31, and the winners to be announced February 5. This opportunity is open — globally — to musicians age 21 and older.
Guitar World recently spoke to Orianthi and Stewart about BeMyBand and other upcoming projects.
GUITAR WORLD: Where did the idea for BeMyBand come from?
Stewart: I created this concept because there are so many people who upload YouTube videos of themselves just playing drums in their bedroom or guitars in their living rooms. BeMyBand allows them to put some context on what they do and a reason for them to do it. Of course, it's different to get up there with an artist, but realize that you're going to rehearse and play a whole set on stage with Orianthi. The cool thing is, at the end there's not some sort of empty promise. You really do get to stand on stage with Orianthi and play to a packed house.
Orianthi: Once Dave told me about the idea, I told him that it was something I'd love to do. I'm all about inspiring young musicians to get out there and express themselves through music. For me, just getting to see these audition tapes and the enthusiasm is really cool, and I'm so looking forward to it.
What will the judging process be like?
Stewart: Orianthi will ultimately be the one to choose her band. She knows what she wants in a player as far as look, feel and how they play.
Orianthi, can you give us a hint of some of the things you're looking for in the performances?
Orianthi: So far, the players that have really stood out are the ones who show a different style in their playing. You can see they're really enthusiastic and excited about playing. It's all about the energy.
Any chance that this could be more than just a one-off performance for the winners?
Orianthi: Absolutely! This might not be the only show. I'm looking at having a really good time. If they play their butts off and there's great energy, I'll probably be calling them again for more shows.
Can you give us an update on what else you're up to?
Orianthi: I've been writing a ton of songs and doing some collaboration for the next album. I'll also be heading out with Alice [Cooper] shortly to do a tour of Germany.
What's your writing process like?
Orianthi: Sometimes it starts with just a guitar riff that I have or a beat. Beats are really inspiring. They always make me want to write something over them. Other times I could just be walking down the street when lyrics will suddenly come into my head. Every way is different and that's what so cool about it.
How did you connect with Michael Jackson and what was that experience like?
Orianthi: Michael's music director saw some of my YouTube videos and showed them to him. Afterwards, Michael invited me to come in and play for him. It was an intense, crazy and surreal experience. I'm so grateful that I got the chance to work with him.
Dave, what can you tell us about your reunion with Annie Lennox for the upcoming Grammy Beatles celebration?
Stewart: Ken Ehrlich told me that he'd really love to have the Eurythmics on the show. I told him we hadn't played together in a few years and that he should ask Annie. That's when he told me he already had, and she wanted to do it. It's going to be a great show because it's been 50 years since the Ed Sullivan show, which really rocked people's worlds.
Do you think Sullivan was aware of the Beatles phenomenon?
Stewart: I had interviewed Ringo on my Internet show, The Ringmaster, where he told me the story. He told me Ed Sullivan didn't even know who the Beatles were at the time. He just saw all of these kids screaming at the airport in New York and asked who they were screaming at. Then he booked them there on the spot!
Do you think your performance with Annie may lead to a Eurythmics reunion?
Stewart: Annie will be here for 10 days so we'll have some discussion. We've got a huge legacy of work and haven't done much about it for years. So there are a lot of things to talk about.
Orianthi, what do you think makes for a great guitar solo?
Orianthi: A great guitar solo is really a song within a song. You can always go off and do your pageantry, but it has to be structured. My favorite solos are all very melodic. Those are the ones that are the most memorable.
For more information on Orianthi's BeMyBand contest, visit talenthouse.com.
James Wood is a writer, musician and self-proclaimed metalhead who maintains his own website, GoJimmyGo.net. His articles and interviews are written on a variety of topics with passion and humor. You can follow him on Twitter @JimEWood.