I Wanna Be OK

“I Wanna Be OK” – The Debut Album by Melinda Ortner

To be shared with the world late 2012..

"When a fan writes me and tells me that my music touched them in some way, I feel content,
and fulfilled. Above all, if I get none of those things, I'll be ok. If I can still find those fans in some way, if it’s continuing on with my self-managed tours, keyboard on back, suitcase in hand, I'll be ok. Well, I'd like to be. Hence, the title of my record.”

It was at an open mic night at The Abbey Tavern in London I first met Melinda Ortner. Little did I then know that I’d end up managing her about half a year later. I knew straight away she had talent though. And not only talent, but a handful of solid, well written songs and an honest, artistic charisma to match. I later learned that she had jumped on a plane from her home base in LA more than two months ago, and had been touring the UK since. On her own, carrying her keyboard on her shoulder and a rough route of pre-booked shows as her travel guide. I nearly dislocated my shoulder just carrying the keyboard to the train station. Melinda was already on her way to Brighton for her next show the day after followed by a 6am train to Harrogate for a return show by fan demand. Before she left, handed me a CD-R with sharpie writing scribbled on the front and a business card in the plastic sleeve.

Melinda returned to London for a couple more shows only a few days later. She called me up for a place to crash, and I gladly shared my couch. I had been listening to her demo, and it wasn’t so much a demo but a whole album! Fourteen great, well produced tracks! These tracks have now taken the form of an album, and we’re ready to present it to the world. It is the story of a girl who chose to follow her dreams, who doesn’t know how to quit. The album captures her soulful voice and honest emotion, with every song easily lending itself to some film scene you’d want to get lost in. All skilfully crafted into a solid first album, appropriately named: “I Wanna Be Ok”.


I was recruited for the choir because they needed girls. They didn’t know I could sing. I didn’t know I could sing either. So I said ok.” 

Melinda Ortner was born and raised in California, and the past five years she’s been based in LA where she’s launched her music career. Her father being a music teacher it may seem like the obvious thing to do, butit wasn’t her first choice of careers. She was ‘forced’ into playing the piano(and the flute), but it never interested her that much. And ever since she saw the movie ‘My Girl’, Melinda wanted to be an actress – or Anna Chlumsky to be exact. In college she joined the theatre and semi-pursued a career as an actress. She was never very good according to herself. It was when the school choir was short of girls that she first moved onto music. Melinda never thought of herself as a singer at first, but gave it a go nevertheless.

I started singing around middle school and got the lead in "Oliver" (yeah, I played a boy!) then in high school I was the lead in "West Side Story". It was junior year though when I had one of those "moments" when I knew I had to do music.”

Since then she’s been writing and performing music anywhere she can. She’s a trained vocalist and pianist, but foremost sees herself as a songwriter. “Piano was in and out of my life since age 8ish and I kick myself every day for not practicing more, but I get by. It's about the songwriting for me” – she says. Amongst her influences are Ella Fitzgerald, Keely Smith and Cole Porter– her first two major ones – and as she delved into writing, she also drew influences from The Beatles, Fiona Apple, Muse, Keane, and The Pixies, to name a few. If she could perform alongside one artist it would be Thom York, who she once mentioned in an interview she want to  “watch quietly, like a creepy stalker (for educational purposes, of course).

Melinda has several international tours under her belt, including more than fifty dates in the UK and several shows around Europe and Japan. The main subject in a documentary released in Europe, cameras followed her around for a year, filming her walking six dogs at a time to pay the bills whilst writing melodies for her album, then running off to the studioor a gig or some Hollywood meeting. She’s had movie placements and radio hits, and has received several awards for both performance and song writing. The music video for her single “Heartbeats” has over 40K views on YouTube, and her fan base is growing fast as she approaches the release of her debut album. Whatever comes next, I‘m pretty sure she will be ok. As long as she’s got her snickerdoodle cookies from 7-11 and her running shoes that is. Can’t do without them.

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