Starlet Hayley Orrantia opens up about typical day on-set of The Goldbergs, her journey on The X-Factor, and writing lyrics
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY TJ Manou
- Los Angeles, California
Starlet Hayley Orrantia talks exclusively with We Blab Entertainment Magazine about a typical work day on-set of The Goldbergs, and her journey on The X-Factor. Hayley also opens up about how she personally writes lyrics for her music.
Congratulations on the huge phenomenon of "The Goldbergs" on ABC, which, was recently renewed for seasons 5 & 6. Having grown up in the late 80's culture "The Goldbergs" reminded me of my own family with the fashion, and attitude. Can you take us threw your audition process for Erica Goldberg?
I actually was the first person they saw for the role of Erica! I received the audition from my agent while I was driving into California with my dad for pilot season back in February of 2013. As soon as we arrived I put myself on tape for it and soon after received a callback. The Goldbergs was also my first screen test ever so I definitely got lucky. The best part of this story is that I have heard that it came down to me and one other girl.
They originally went with her until an intern in the back of the screen test room fought for me. She apparently made a compilation of my personal YouTube videos where I was being my goofy self and the producers decided to take a chance on me despite my limited resume. I have been so grateful to work on such an amazing show for four years now and hopefully many to come!
You grew-up in Highland Village, Texas singing at the age of just nine years old R&B, and pop music which, eventually lead to writing with songwriter Jamie Houston from the (High School Musical series). How did you get started in the music business, and what made you decided moving to Los Angeles was your next step to stardom?
Music has always been a first love for me. It all started when a family friend heard me singing in the car along to the radio and suggested I take it more seriously. Over the next few years I performed all across the DFW metroplex and made incredible connections through my music school. Eventually those connections led me to Jamie.
Jamie introduced me to a bunch of labels in NYC and LA where they suggested I get some sort of "platform" to further my music career, like a television show. That is ultimately how I ended up acting and booked The Goldbergs. I happened to move to Los Angeles around the same time I booked the show. I really feel like it has all been fate the way it has worked out in my life.
The first time I personally became aware of your name was on the first season of "The X Factor", and I remember thinking Hayley is going to be a big star. Your appearance on The Which, eventually led to you be eliminated during the fifth week, but I'm sure it was a one of kind experience. What was your personal experience like being on the "The X Factor", and what did you learn from being on the show?
My journey on The X Factor is one I hope to write about someday. To sum it up, however, it was a whirlwind of emotion and excitement. I met some lifelong friends on that show and I learned so much about the way the industry works, good and bad. I learned that, as an artist, you cannot allow other people to dictate what kind of music speaks to you.
There will be countless people fighting to push you in one direction and while there are times they could be right about it, you have to follow your instincts because your journey to find your sound will come in time. It's been almost six years since my time on The X Factor, but i can still vividly remember my experience and treatment on the show. It shaped me into the artist I am today in so many ways.
On "The Goldbergs" set in yhe 1980's you play Erica Goldberg the older sister of Berry, and Adam whom is extremely popular, fashion crazy, mostly cares about boys, and loves to torture her brothers. What dose a typical day on-set look like, and how has your character evolved over the years?
A typical day on set requires about a 5:30 AM wake up call to be on set for an hour and a half of hair and makeup. After quickly shoveling breakfast and coffee in my face and memorizing my lines for the next scene, it's on to set where we put the scene on it's feet. We do one rehearsal before the crew sets up lighting and then we film that scene anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the scene. Our work hours and be anywhere from 5 hours to 12 hours in one day. It's kind of crazy schedule, but in the end it's all so worth it! Erica has evolved in so many ways over the last four years. Erica is actually based on creator & producer, Adam F Goldberg's, older brother, Eric. Because of the age gap between the real life brothers and the fact he didn't have an older sister,
Adam didn't have as many stories to start the show off involving Erica. I am actually thankful for that because I believe it gave the writers a lot of freedom when writing about Erica. She's always been headstrong, wise and the-middle-man of the family, much like Eric Goldberg. However, the writers have since added her musical ability once they saw my interest in wanting to do both. I believe it has really worked in the favor of the show & definitely for my career to be able to do both music and acting. Now that Erica is headed to college and chasing her dreams, the writers have a whole new playground to work with on the show.
In 2011 you started in the independent comedy "Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang", where you played Penny the mean sassy older sister of Cooper who, comes-up with a devious plan to foil her little brother's quest to find a family heirloom. Do you have any memories filming in Lewisville, Texas and what do you hope kids who just discover the movie take away?
I think working on Cooper and the Castle Hills Gang was a perfect transition for me into the acting world, especially since it was filmed in my hometown. I was actually a junior in high school during filming which was difficult for my schedule, but I learned so much. It was such a well produced movie and everyone involved was so incredibly kind that I could not have asked for a better first experience.
I hope that when people watch it, it can be an enjoyable family friendly movie that brings them together. I hope they can appreciate all the time and love put into that project and also the features that the movie highlighted about Castle Hills. Overall it was a fun and educational experience that I will never forget.
One of my favorite episodes of "The Goldbergs" is Kara-te where Erica sings Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" at the high school Holiday Talent Show. Can you tell us how the producers first let your character start singing on the show, and are you self-tough on the guitar?
I had a conversation with the producers one day asking that if they ever had an opportunity for me to sing on the show that I would be more an ecstatic. Luckily for me they gave me a shot with that first talent show episode. It went over so well that they continued to write Erica's musical interest into the show. Fun fact: I don't know how to play guitar! They hired a teacher to help me, but I REALLY struggled with it and even begged the producers to stop writing it in unless I could play piano. I guess I've made it look real enough that everyone thinks I can play. However, this summer I spent some time working with an amazing coach and I now can accompany myself a little better. We'll see if those skills are tested this next season!
You have an amazing singing voice, and your singles "Love Sick", and "Silence You" have a very indie country sound that you don't hear in most modern country songs. Can you give us some insight into how you go about writing lyrics? Are your lyrics based off personal experiences?
Lyrics to me are one of the most important elements of a song. A lot of people, I notice, just breeze by the lyrics and only tune in to the melody or production of a song, but I am so different. I love hearing the real story of the songwriter or artist played out in their song and the cleverness of a good line. My goal is to have someone listen to my song and be speechless with emotion because it truly hits home for them in a way that no one can explain. I know that when I go through something difficult in my life and I hear that experience reflected back at me in a beautifully written song, I feel more understood than having a discussion about it in person with someone.
All of my songs are based on a personal experience of mine. Even if I it's something I am not going through at that moment, I can tap back into that feeling or relate it to a time in my life when I did feel that way. I think that's where music and acting cross for me. It's very important to me to make sure that every line of my song is true to my personal experience. I believe this is what makes a song more relatable than anything else. If you share your truth honestly, it will resonate better with other people.
Since 2007 you have serviced as the ambassador for Texas Music Project, which raises awareness and funds for music education in public schools. What can you tell us about the non-profit, and how important is keeping music education in our schools?
When I started working with Texas Music Project, I couldn't yet appreciate the reality it would play in my own life. Music has always been important to me and while I am lucky enough to have been able to do it outside of school, not everyone can. During my time on The X Factor, I was a senior in high school and was forced to quit & take online homeschool courses to finish my education. Many states, including Texas, have a policy that does not allow the amount of absent days required to further a career in entertainment, despite your grades. Around the same time, my high school cancelled all future Musical Theatre programs due to minor complaints and issues. I was devastated that the next 4,000 kids to walk through that school would not have the opportunity that I did to appreciate the value of music & theatre classes. It has been my ultimate goal to change this policy and allow every child the same opportunity as I had whether it's a class for one year of high school or the beginning of a long lasting career. Many people view a career in entertainment as risky and short lived. However, from my experience, I know there are many levels to this industry, more than just being in front of a camera or behind a mic. I hope one day in the near future I can work with statewide school boards to discuss a change in policy.
The Goldbergs returns with season 5 this fall on the ABC network.