Pop songstress Ornella shares some insights about her ’90s rom-com inspired single

Spilling all the tea, Ornella took some time to fill us in on what it’s like to perform for 20,000 people.

In the wake of her sugary new release, Western Australian artist Ornella spared us a moment. Drawing folk-pop inspiration from some of the industry’s royalty, she’s carving out a path of her own. Charming, infectious, and full of a dazzling sense of sincerity, Ornella is one to watch.

Her latest single Cher & Josh is a sweeping tale of a giddy young love, and this bright excitement translates into her optimistic sound.

HAPPY: Hey Ornella, thanks for your time! What do you find yourself doing right this moment?

ORNELLA: Hey Happy Mag! Right now, I am in my garden making the most of the summer sun and prepping for some upcoming gigs.

HAPPY: Congratulations on the release of your single Cher & Josh! Can you tell us about the creative process?

ORNELLA: Thank you! I’m so glad that it’s finally out in the world for everyone to hear! This song came about after a long period of writer’s block last summer. One day I sat down with my guitar and forced some lyrics onto paper, and I was finally excited about the concepts I was coming up with. The song conveyed the idea of being so enthralled by someone that you can’t think clearly anymore. The first line of the chorus really inspired me to have fun with the first verse and jumble up the lyrics, emphasising that feeling of being dazed and confused because you’ve fallen for someone that contradicts you yet makes you feel complete.

I had an awesome experience recording Cher & Josh with WA-based musician and producer Boy on a Hill helping to bring the song to life. I also got to record the sweet, little piano parts on a baby grand piano which was magical! It added such a beautiful sound to the final mix which could not have turned out better.

HAPPY: The title Cher & Josh is a reference to Clueless, what was it about that ’90s classic that inspired you?

ORNELLA: Clueless is one of my all-time favourite rom-coms because Cher is fashionable and feminine yet strongminded and smart in her own way. Once I’d written the first half of the song, I knew I needed to mention an iconic couple and I couldn’t go past Cher and Josh. From the get-go, they are mismatched, witty, and constantly bickering, yet they fall for each other. This was the exact kind of romantic relationship that the song presented, and, with a few tweaks to the lyrics, the puzzle was complete.

HAPPY: You’ve just filmed a music video for this one. What did your mood board for this look like?

ORNELLA: I had so much fun with this creative process. When I write a song, I always think about the look that is going to match it, so it was easy to take some inspiration from Cher in that area. There is a flirty, playful atmosphere in this music video with lots of cute and quirky surroundings. I filmed with Gordon Co Visuals in Fremantle and Woodvale, and they truly brought my wildest dreams to life one red puzzle piece at a time. Get excited for dreamy open paddocks and sweet sunset vibes when the video drops!

HAPPY: This year, you performed to 20,000 people at the Optus Stadium during an AFL match. What was that experience like?

ORNELLA: I have never been so excited, yet so nervous in my life. Hearing your own voice pump through the speakers of a stadium is so crazy and I’m crossing all of my fingers and toes so that I’ll get to do it again one day. It was an amazing experience.

HAPPY: What artists do you most admire for their on-stage presence?

ORNELLA: I have always been someone who loves an energetic, theatrical stage performance which is why Taylor Swift, Paramore and Broods are some of my favourite international live acts. In the Aussie music scene, I’m a huge fan of Vera Blue’s captivating, eye-catching shows, and the way she can connect with an audience. Locally, I love Perth bands Last Lions, Joan and the Giants, and Noah Dillon. I’ve seen these guys a few times each now and they are so real and inspiring, so if you’re from Perth, go check them out!

HAPPY: Have you been to any sit-down gigs this year, what was your experience?

ORNELLA: Sadly, I haven’t. I was already a homebody before the absolute mess that is 2020 happened, so I have become a little bit of a hermit. This summer I am so keen to get back into things and check out the music scene that is coming back to life in WA.

HAPPY: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

ORNELLA: I feel like I’m still in the early stages of my career as a musician so I’m learning small things about the industry as I go. As a DIY musician who tries to put much of my time, energy and money into making music as possible, I’ve come to realise how much streaming services are hurting smaller musicians. People are so surprised when I tell them how much it costs to make and promote a single followed by the income earned from a single stream. I think we’re living in a time where streaming is the most convenient way to enjoy entertainment so it is going to take a while for things to change in this area, but I know a lot of musicians who are vocal about it which is great.


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HAPPY: What’s to come for Ornella another single? EP?

ORNELLA: 2021 will hopefully bring more music in the form of an EP. I’ve obviously never done this before so I will be learning as I go but I’d love to just get my music out there. This summer I plan to record a new single and then hopefully get into EP prep. Expect some things to be the same and some to be a little bit different.

HAPPY: Cheers Ornella!

ORNELLA: Thank you so much for having a chat with me!


Ornella’s latest single Cher & Josh is out on all platforms, grab your copy here.