Irish singer-songwriter Orla Gartland gained traction through her YouTube channel and supporting Dodie on tour. Alongside relatable lyrical content, her songs emphasise her passion for music production and perfecting her style.
Orla Gartland’s YouTube channel has content dating back to 8 years ago although she has been active since 2007. Starting out with covers, she has worked her way up to original content. Although her folk roots have been her primary influence, we have seen a shift towards indie-pop. There has been a transition from more acoustically based songs to synthesised instrumentation. Songs like ‘Why Am I Like This?’ and ‘Overthinking’ explore her struggles with mental health and are compellingly honest and raw. Other themes in her music include falling out of love, which is what her latest EP, Freckle Seasons is centred around, and struggling to come to terms with sexuality which can be heard in her song ‘oh God’.
Most intriguing, Orla Gartland is an entirely independent artist using her Patreon to fund her musical developments. This Patreon gives fans extra demos, updates on what is going on in her life and when to expect new releases and competitions. It creates a basis for fans to be able to interact and make friends. It is also a platform for them to share their own experiences with music amongst themselves and with Orla Gartland directly. Patreon, being one of her favourite parts of the internet, has become somewhere she can openly share the progression of her songs and thoughts and ideas. It is fascinating to see lyrics from drafts falling into new songs that become released for everyone to hear. In her latest song ‘Pretending’, the lyrics “I learnt it from a woman on the internet” have been recycled from one of the demos she released on her Patreon.
During lockdown, musicians took to performing on live streaming platforms to replicate the community feeling of going to concerts. Orla Gartland hosted what she called “covers-a-thon” raising £3454 for NHS charities helping frontline workers with hot meals, transport, accommodation and counselling. There is no divide between herself and her music; she uses it to express herself, for escapism and to help people.
It isn’t always easy to come across with such authenticity in the music industry. Still, the transparency between Orla Gartland and her fans makes it easy to believe that it is possible.