Born and bred in Dublin, Orla Gartland started posting covers and originals on YouTube at the age of 14. Now, we can see how her music has blossomed over the years into a unique and captivating sound, with her debut album ‘Woman on the Internet’ set to mark a poignant moment in her career. Izzy Hunter caught up with the singer-songwriter in the build up to the album’s release.
“She was written in accidentally!” Gartland muses when asked about the title of the album. “[The woman on the internet] is a sort of Wizard of Oz character, an influencer who is ill-advised but gives the advice anyway. She’s someone I can turn to when I can’t turn to someone in my real life. Although I’ve made stuff on the internet, I’ve also watched stuff growing up. I would say she’s an amalgamation of people that I’ve watched.” Gartland excitedly adds to a deeper meaning of this character; “She doesn’t have to be a woman, she can be anyone. This last year has made me think about this idea, there are people on my small-but-mighty team that I’ve never met in real life because of how things are! They are literally just a person or ‘Woman on the Internet’ to me.”
Lockdown has impacted the music industry greatly; however, Gartland has clearly used this time to explore an innovative sound in her work
Lockdown has impacted the music industry greatly; however, Gartland has clearly used this time to explore an innovative sound in her work. “I wrote all of the songs last year, in a solo-lockdown kind of way. We took them to a studio with a full band and finished the songs over there. It became a fun summer-campy album experience that I was after.” She explains the first working title was originally ‘Things That I’ve Learnt’, which instead became the name of the lead song of the album. “I thought it was wise-sounding, a list of life tips really. But I did become obsessed with calling it ‘Woman on the Internet’, she became this character in my head.”
When asked about the overall style of the album, Gartland explains the personal approach that she has taken. “Identity and growing up, I would say. They’re stories from my twenties. You use your twenties to search for identity. I don’t really feel like a fully-formed person, but it’s living in a different kind of chaos to your teens.” She mentions her previous EP Freckle Season, which was released back in 2020; “Freckle Season was about a break-up. It was therapeutic, but a lot of thinking about another person. This album is different in that it isn’t about anyone else.”
Phoebe Bridgers, Regina Spektor, and Joni Mitchell are Gartland’s top inspirations for her unique sound
Phoebe Bridgers, Regina Spektor, and Joni Mitchell are Gartland’s top inspirations for her unique sound. “I love Phoebe Bridgers because she is so literal. The meaning isn’t coded into her music, I love knowing exactly what the songs are about.” She continues, “Stylistically, [the album] dips into lots of things that I love, the singer-songwriter long-term love that I have for Regina Spektor, Joni [Mitchell], there are nods to that, but there’s also more grittier moments in there as well,” (she states K. Flay and The Cranberries as the influence behind these moments), “and then there’s a lot of pop!”
Gartland expresses her love for the tracks in her passion for stylistics and key moments within each song. It is clear that each individual track has a special place in her heart. “I love More Like You,” she says when asked what her favourite track on the album is. “I played it live recently and it just gave me another burst of love for the song. There’s bigger, more sonic moments, but my love is always with the small, intimate, and tight vocals that sound like they are right there in your ears. [More Like You] embodies closeness, it gets a little bit bigger but always feels quite contained, it feels very personal.” She goes on to add; “Madison might be a long term favourite from the album when it’s out though!”
Gartland took to the stage at Latitude Festival in July, performing live for the first time in 18 months. She described the experience as “next level. It was just so fun, performing with my full band, it felt like there was a lot of pent-up gig energy in all of us that hadn’t been let out in a long time.” Gartland laughed as she reminisced on the experience; “I barely made it through the set without crying! The tent was packed, my friends were in the front row, I didn’t expect that many people. I sang the last note and just erupted, it was just so happy.”
Gartland is due to embark on a huge UK/Ireland tour this Autumn
Following from Latitude Festival, Gartland is due to embark on a huge UK/Ireland tour this Autumn. “Latitude definitely gave me a taster for tour. At a headline show, you know everyone’s there for you. If you mess up, they’ve got your back. You can throw in transitions, Easter eggs, it really feels like they’re your people.” She continues; “Musicians have lived a more domestic life for the last two years, I’m more nervous for the moving about and hotels than for the actual live shows! However, being at home is more self-directed, whereas being on tour you have a good sense of routine. I’m buzzing.”
Gartland has released soul-capturing EPs in the past – namely Freckle Season and Why am I Like This?. So, what made her decide to take the leap from EPs to a debut album? “I wanted the pieces of the puzzle to fit together, mainly finding my feet. I wanted to become better at production so I could have a big hand in that. Finding my band, growing with them and learning to play with them is important. I also wanted to grow an audience, I self-funded and released this album so I needed to save up, it sounds so boring! I guess all the puzzle pieces just fell into place.”
A sentimental approach is clearly taken into consideration as Gartland ponders on her future as an artist. “I’m ambitious but not in the sense of that I need to perform at Wembley. I’m just taking each thing as it comes. Building an audience is much more important to me than being on the radio and playing to thousands of people, and it’s about keeping that audience interested.” She ends on a poignant note; “I want to do things that people won’t expect, try different instruments and different production styles. I want to evolve.”
With a sense of change, evolution, and identity, ‘Woman on the Internet’ is out now
It is clear that Gartland has put all of her passions for music into ‘Woman on the Internet’, and it definitely comes at a poignant moment in her musical journey. With a sense of change, evolution, and identity, ‘Woman on the Internet’ is out now.
Featured image courtesy of Karina Barberis. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of @orlagartland via instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.
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