Born in Belgium but now based in Dublin, R&B artist ORLA is an exciting new addition to Ireland’s music scene. Growing up in a musical family, she was surrounded by music of all genres from a young age. From the Irish trad music her father played to the French songs she grew up listening to in Brussels, she was always exploring new styles of singing, but upon hearing the music of artists such as Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys, she fell in love with Soul and R&B. At seventeen, she moved to Dublin. Starting off as a backing vocalist she quickly moved on to writing and performing her own songs in venues all around Dublin.
In 2020, ORLA released her Debut single ‘Close to Me’, which captured the attention of Radio stations and Music Blogs all over Ireland, with Hotpress Magazine describing her as ‘an artist to watch’. Soon after the release, she performed an acoustic version of ‘Close to Me’ in The Parlour of Whelans. In this intimate performance, the song is stripped down to just ORLA’s voice and two instruments. It shows off the luscious tone of her vocals and gives a new interpretation of the song’s story.
ORLA channels the emotions of her songs into her vocal delivery and embellishes her music with textured harmonies, vocal runs and layers. In the past year, she has focused on writing, creating a new set of songs that truly reflect her current sound as an artist. She has been working with Producers such as Alex O’Keeffe and experimenting with electronic influences in her soulful tracks to create a unique sound, as heard in her upcoming single ‘Lazy’.
‘Lazy’ is ORLA’s second single, following the release of ‘Close to Me’ in 2020. Written alone by ORLA on guitar, the song was brought to life by producer Alex O’Keeffe, known for his work with artists such as Erica Cody, Fia Moon and Bobbi Arlo, and mixed by Adam Shanahan (My fault Music.)
“I wrote this song a year ago, in the first lockdown. It was summer and everyone was stuck at home. I was thinking back to a time where my life was so busy in comparison and finding hours to do just nothing with the person I most wanted to be with was a blessing. It’s a song about the early days of romance and knowing that even when you aren’t doing anything extraordinary, being with that person is what makes the time worthwhile. I wanted the sound of the song to reflect the romance, comfort and nostalgia of this feeling. It’s more playful, with an upbeat groove and a little less serious than my last song. The layers of vocals are there to create a dreamy feeling, while the saxophone, strings and guitar give it the laid back groove of classic R&B tunes I grew up listening to.”