Traveling the world now, performing concert dates supporting both her own Blue Dream tour, and opening for her friend Jenny Lewis’s tour, Orenda Fink is truly a woman living her passion, and that passion seems to be catching on.
Her third solo album, BLUE DREAM, was released on August 19 of this year, and the blogosphere is hailing it: “This gorgeous album is atmospheric, haunting, ethereal and just completely stunning.” – Sounds Good To Me “BLUE DREAM, the third solo album from Azure Ray’s Orenda Fink, is a catharsis for loss and a balm for the grieving soul.” – Zachary Mule
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Fink’s tenure with Azure Ray was from 2001 to 2004. Fink is also a former member of Now It’s Overhead, both on Saddle Creek Records. Fink released her first full-length solo album Invisible Ones on August 23, 2005.
“Just look at yesterday, and what you were doing, and how important it was, and how nonexistent it is now! How dreamlike it is! Same thing with tomorrow. So where are we living? Tibetans have unbelievably fascinating answers to that. This is what I’m studying because my dog died.” – Laurie Anderson
Orenda was sent this quote by her friend Nina Barnes after Wilson, Orenda’s dog of 16 years, died. That year she found herself on a deeply personal search for the meaning of death. Pieces of answers, coded in riddle, came to her in dreams. Her dreams began to tell a story – about life and death and the afterlife, reality, and the fine line between the conscious and subconscious world. She then spent the next year understanding the experience and filtering it through the musical inspirations of Smog, Violetta Parra, and Kate Bush to craft BLUE DREAM. The album truly came together at ARC in Omaha, NE with the help of producers Ben Brodin and Todd Fink (The Faint), along with drummer Bill Rieflin (Ministry, Swans, R.E.M., King Crimson).
An Orenda fan of many years, I was introduced to her new album first by her Ace Of Cups video, directed by Nik Fackler. The ethereal, haunting song became something I revisited many times. Orenda’s music invites subsequent readings like favorite poems. I appreciate the artist’s vulnerability, her openness, her sweet, whimsical nature, and her depth of spirit. Sometimes reminding me of a post-modern Mazzy Star, always a woman-child growing artistically before our eyes, over the years.
Orenda answered FIVE QUESTIONS via email.
1) Are you realizing your dreams right now in music? Is the fun in the planning, the executing, or the reflecting stages of your current tour? (You probably haven’t had much time to reflect yet…)
OF – Yes, I would say I’m realizing my dreams in music (no pun intended.) I get to work with my amazing friends on the music side and the business side, which really is a dream. I think that all of the processes shine in their own certain way. Writing is very different from recording which is very different from touring, but it’s nice that you get to have all of these very different experiences within an album cycle.
2) Can you talk about your collaborations in creating your videos and your music? How is it working with Aaron Gum? He seems to really ‘get’ what you’re trying to put out, is that true? What musicians /producers/technicians/assistants are indispensable to you and your efforts out there on the road?
OF – I had a really great run of videos for Blue Dream: working with the amazing Nik Fackler on Ace of Cups and French filmmaker Amelie Raoul on You Can Be Loved, and then finally Aaron Gum on the epic This Is A Part of Something Greater. Aaron definitely got it for that video. It was his idea, actually, but he is a great listener to my ideas too and keeps his ego aside, which is extremely rare, but I think makes it possible to accomplish a fuller vision for him and the artist. He’s great to work with.
3) How do you stay healthy and beautiful out on the road? What is your typical tour schedule day like? How do you stay in touch with family and friends? Can you speak about wardrobe and makeup? Are you picking up any new pieces to add to your closet while out there?
OF – Ha! It certainly is a challenge every day! My two big musts are sleep and hydration. Without those things I start to fall apart at the seams. A typical tour day is waking up at the hotel, grabbing some kind of quick breakfast, driving to the destination city which is usually anywhere from three to nine hours away, load in, sound check, find dinner, have a drink, perform, sell merch, settle up, pack up and load equipment and then check into a new hotel. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I try to shop while I’m on tour because choices are limited in Omaha, but I hardly ever have time!
4) Your fan base is growing by leaps and bounds right now. What is your take on the current controversy about Spotify and other streaming services? Do you notice a noticeable up-tick in your profits from those services as your star rises?
OF – Spotify is killing the indie artist. People like to defend it, but it’s just the reality. That said, I have my music on there because it’s created a situation that makes it really difficult to say no. I don’t have an emotional feeling about it one way or the other, but Spotify is great for the listener and terrible for the artist. The model may change soon though, we are hoping.
5) What are your short – term and long – term goals right now? What new projects are on the horizon? Are there new sounds that are catching your ear right now? Anything you’re thinking about integrating into your sound?
OF – My short term goal is to finish supporting Blue Dream. I’ll be playing some dates with Jenny Lewis in December and then heading to Europe in January, so I’m really excited about both of those things. Long term, I’d like to finish up the O+S record with Cedric LeMoyne and start working on a project with my husband, Todd. I’m definitely playing with the idea of integrating something new into my sound, but that something hasn’t revealed itself to me. It’s exciting though when you start to open yourself up to it….