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Meet Jeryl Orsino: Girl with an Electric Guitar: Exlcusive Interview

Meet Jeryl Orsino:  Girl with an Electric Guitar:  Exlcusive Interview

I caught up with Indie artist Jeryl Orsino by coincidence when her friend, concert pianist, Joyce Anderson, asked if I would play Jeryl's music on my radio show -- on Durham Dales Radio. I'm so pleased Joyce asked because I had terrific feedback from my listeners and, personally, I fell in love with Jeryl's music. Jeryl, an out lesbian, has had her music featured in Crystal Chappell's Web series Venice and in Anyone But Me, which stars Nicole Pacent and Rachael Hip-Flores.

I caught up with Indie artist Jeryl Orsino by coincidence when her friend, concert pianist, Joyce Anderson, asked if I would play Jeryl's music on my radio show -- on Durham Dales Radio. I'm so pleased Joyce asked because I had terrific feedback from my listeners and, personally, I fell in love with Jeryl's music.

Without doubt Jeryl is an inspired and talented singer / songwriter -- not to mention she's an out gay performer, and has been since she started making music. She has one of those tempting warm voices that catches you unawares. Add to that her songwriting and musicianship and you have a powerful package. After winning the Cabo Wabo Battle of the Bands at the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC Jeryl's song 'I Told You So' caught the attention of NYC radio's Z100 and 'The Radio Chick' Leslie Gold. 'I Told You So' was a final pick on NYC's Z100 'Radio Star' contest, hit #1 on the Charts at and is currently on the SBS Indie Music Sampler Vol. 10.

Jeryl's songs 'Be With You' and 'He's a Whore' were featured in the second episode of the first season of the groundbreaking web series Venice. Want to see Jeryl perform? Then check out her upcoming shows! Want to know something about the personal side of this exciting performer, then read on . . .

Do you come from a musical family?

I do have cousins who are musical. My Dad sings and plays the drums. My cousins own one of the oldest record stores in the town where I live. It's called Music Country and is in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. We are doing an outdoor show in front of the store on July 23rd 2010. They just celebrated their 75th anniversary in business. It's a great little store where you can still get vinyl and lots of memorabilia.

Where, and when, were you born?

I am a New Jersey native. And, let's just say, I'm old enough! I really love NJ. Contrary to popular opinion it is an amazing place to live. It's near NYC, great beaches, beautiful countryside, and to see the seasons change is really beautiful. I did travel a lot when I was little. My dad was a pro baseball player and we lived in Hawaii for a time.

What is the name of your album, and when was it released?

It's called Radio Friendly and it was released in 2009. It's available on through BandBox.

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Who are you signed with?

I'm not signed to any record label per say. I do have a production deal with producer Jim Ebert. You can check out his discography here. I recorded my full length CD Radio Friendly at Cue Studios in Falls Church, Virginia. Working with Jim has been an amazing experience. My brother, Jay, and I have joined forces with some amazing people to form a production company called Powerful Beyond Imagination. Basically, it's an umbrella for all of our music and is expanding into film, animation and artist development. A music artist on my level can usually do well promoting themselves. I have developed a tight network for promotion and am constantly putting my feelers out to meet new people and find new opportunities.

What instruments do you play?

The very first instrument I picked up was the bass guitar. Soon after that I bought a no-name drum kit and started playing to my favorite music in my bedroom. Now I play guitar. I am self-taught and I don't know how to read music. I learned how to play guitar with tablature from one of my favorite band's CDs, Counting Crows August and Everything After, I do all of my writing on guitar right now. I would love to learn how to play piano. I think it would open up a whole new world as it relates to writing.

Have you always been interested in music?

Yes! I can remember listening to music in my room for hours. I loved going to live concerts. Jay and I were always playing some kind of instruments when we were kids.

Have you ever thought of doing anything else apart from being a musician?

Well, I am a college graduate and did work in the health club industry for a long time. I'm a very creative person and love computer graphics and drawing. Music is really my passion. I have a few ideas about some other things I'd like to do but, right now, I am keeping my focus on music.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue to write and produce music. Professionally I would love to place my music in TV, film and animation. I've had some success with the music placement already in two web series: Venice the Series, and Anyone But Me. My music has been on PBS Independent Lens and MTV's Laguna Beach. Music will be my future for sure. I also love to produce music and the whole recording studio experience. I'm sort of a geek in that way. We are in the process of building a production studio so I'm excited for the to be finished. Personally I'm also training for my second New Jersey Ride Against Aids. It's a 3-day 250 mile cycle from High Point, NJ to Cape May NJ to raise fund to make AIDS history. If anyone would like to support my quest you can make a donation here.

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Who inspired you?

I would say first my brother Jay. He actually really gave me the opportunity to be an established artist. Musically, it would be Queen, Cheap trick, female fronted 80's bands, The Pretenders, No Doubt, Blink many...too many to mention. Currently I'm really into Muse, Keane, One Republic, Lady Gaga and am so psyched that Courtney Love is back.

Are you working on a new album?

I'm always working on new music. What I try to do is write as many songs as I can to submit to my producer and let him pick the best out of maybe 20 songs and that becomes a new CD. So I would say ...yes. I can find a song in almost anything. My music is literally the soundtrack to my life. And at the moment my heart is broken and the usually yields some good music from me. So look out! I'm sure some happy sounding, snarky songs will come out of my squashed love life. I have to laugh about it because if I sit and think about it to long it's just sad.

When did you come out?

I came out when I was 19 . . . but it took until I was 21 years old to actually come out to my family.

Did you worry that coming out might affect your career?

I didn't worry about how coming out would affect my music career. At the same time I also didn't promote myself as a lesbian front woman. I figured if people knew that was fine and if they didn't that was fine too. I'm not your typical acoustic guitar wielding female artist. For more that seven years I had a full band with three other male members and we were out there keeping up with all the guy bands. The warped tour was more up my alley rather than aspiring to play at the Lilith fair. Now that I am doing more of a singer songwriter thing I seem to have a bigger lesbian audience. My live show is still not suited for the coffee houses when we are full force but I can tame it down for those types of situations. I am a rocker at heart and would much rather be ripping up the stage at the Stone Pony with my electric guitar than playing The Bitter End with my acoustic. So, I think either way I am still me and there will be people that like my music and there will be people who don't. And, I can respect that regardless of my sexual preference. I am very comfortable in my sexuality.

Have you had lots of support from friends and family?

My family and friends are the most loving and supportive people. They love that I embrace my creativity and I am so happy I have had this kind of unconditional support throughout my music career and my life. A few years ago we had a CD release party at The Hard Rock Cafe in NYC. My whole family was there, including my two little Italian 90-plus-year-old Aunts. And, again Jay is the driving force behind how far I have come in my career. He is my guitar player and my business manager. He is also an amazing singer and songwriter too.

Do you have a significant other?

Not at the moment. I'm single.

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Ellen Dean