There’s a song on country singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega’s brief but beautiful new EP, Til the Goin’ Gets Gone, called Final Bow — "I get so tired of the rat race, chasing my tail like a hound, I’ll sing one last song for old times’ sake before I take my final bow," she croons on the track.
The lyrics full of resignation become even more powerful when Ortega explains the emotion behind them was genuine. When she penned Final Bow, she really thought it would be the last song she ever wrote and that it would never be recorded.
At the time, Ortega was completely fed up with the music business. She was busting her butt out on the road and working hard back in Nashville, Tenn., but it was still tough to get by and, she frankly states, "I wasn’t really making any money."
"I was literally thinking I was going to quit making music and get a ‘real job’ because I was just disenchanted with the business... I thought, ‘Man, it’s about time I throw in the towel, I guess.’ "
But it wasn’t long until Ortega was drawn back to music, in large part because of her loyal group of fans whom she didn’t want to forsake.
"I started going back to my social media accounts and started reading some of the lovely messages from the fans and the people who come to the shows and buy the records and I thought I can’t let them down.
"They’re really hoping for new music and are hoping to see me tour and it would have been selfish for me to quit, so I thought, ‘No, I’m going to keep going.’ "
It was her fans, too, that helped guide her toward a more stripped-down, simple sound for her latest four-song collection.
Ortega had been posting little clips on Instagram of her noodling around with an acoustic guitar and tons of comments from listeners encouraged her to do a full album or EP with the same sound.
"I really thought it was time to pay attention to that," Ortega says of the positive feedback.
"And the truth is, besides that, I really started to appreciate simplicity in music and recording. I guess it all has its place and its niche fan base or has huge fanbases. For me personally, I just feel like a lot of modern music there’s just so much going on, and so many levels of stuff and compression and production and vocals, and I just wanted to go back to basics and keep it nice and simple."
Her minimalist sound is not the only big change for Ortega — the Toronto native recently got engaged and moved back to Canada — specifically, Calgary — after spending five years in Nashville.
She’s only been in the Alberta city for a few weeks, but is re-adjusting just fine.
"I just thought I’d follow my heart and go where the love was, so I came back to Canada," she says. "Doesn’t hurt that I can have my health care back, so that’s really nice."
All in all, things are looking up and Ortega says she is feeling pretty good about how everything panned out; she’s even hoping to record a full-length in the near future that, sonically, will be in the same vein as the EP.
"When I made that EP, it renewed my sense of love for making music and for the future, for sure. I just had to retool my way of doing things and figure out how to have a little more balance in actual life and my musical life, and not burn myself out and all that fun stuff," she says.
"I’ve made a lot of changes that I think are beneficial, and they’ve left me with nothing but positivity about the future and I’m really really excited to just keep going."