22 January 1985 (age 37)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Orianthi Penny Panagaris (born 22 January 1985 in Adelaide, South Australia), better known simply as Orianthi, is a Greek Australian musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist who has released four albums (Violet Journey (2007), Believe (2009), Heaven In This Hell (2013), and O (2020)) and one EP (Fire (2011)) as a solo artist. She is best known for her virtuosic guitar skills, displayed while being Michael Jackson's lead guitarist for his ill-fated "This Is It" concert series, and as the lead guitarist in Alice Cooper's live band. To date her first single "According to You" has been her most notable hit.
Her debut album "Violet Journey", was officially released in 2007 through Universal Music (it was self released earlier in 2005), in which she composed all the material, contributing guitar, vocals and drums on most cuts. She also produced and mixed the final product at her home studio.
Her breakthrough came with her debut single (which is off her second album "Believe") "According to You" which peaked at #3 in Japan, #8 in Australia and #17 in the US. Her second album, "Believe", received a worldwide release in late 2009 (the album was re-released on 8 June 2010 as "Believe (II)", which included four new songs).
Her third album Heaven In This Hell was released on 12 March 2013. The album featured Orianthi moving away from pop rock leanings of Believe, and towards a somewhat rawer sound. Orianthi cited modern country and blues as the main inspirations on the album's sound.
Orianthi first started learning piano and playing at the age of three and moving to acoustic guitar at the age of six. She learned to play the acoustic guitar at six at the encouragement of her father, started electric when she was eleven and left her school, Mercedes College, enrolling at Cabra Dominican College. At the age of 15, she turned her focus to writing songs and so began her professional career. She has been playing in bands since 1999 England and in France, and performed in her first stage show for Steve Vai at the age of 15.
Orianthi has appeared on several late night shows, most notably on American Idol results show 26 March 2010. In 2010 she toured extensively with headlining shows in the US, Japan, Australia and Malaysia. She also opened for other artists including: John Mayer, Mika, Kid Rock, Daughtry and over 30 dates for Adam Lambert’s Glam Nation Tour with former Idol contestant Allison Iraheta. Orianthi has performed at various music festivals and charity functions most notably at the Stand Up to Cancer telethon.
Orianthi has been very prolific in collaborating and being featured by many artists. She is featured on Iraheta's third single "Don't Waste The Pretty" and on Fefe Dobson's song "Can't Breathe" which appears on Dobson's album Joy released in November 2010. She has stated that the people she has collaborated with (i.e. Allison Iraheta and Lacey Mosley) are some of her best friends.
She recorded for the song Saadda Haq composed by Academy award winning composer A.R.Rahman for a Bollywood film soundtrack Rockstar. The song became popular and lot of media coverage in India came for Orianthi, being cited for her time as Michael Jackson's lead guitarist.
In 2009, Orianthi was included on a list of "12 Greatest Female Electric Guitarists" by Elle magazine and won the "Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year" award from Guitar International magazine in 2010.
On 29 August 2011, Orianthi was announced as Alice Cooper's new guitarist. She replaced Damon Johnson, who is now a member of Thin Lizzy. She was the first female member of the Alice Cooper band. Orianthi did two world tours with Alice Cooper, but resigned in June 2014, and was replaced by Nita Strauss. Her departure caused a rift between her and Strauss' respective fanbases, though the guitarists themselves are friends.
Orianthi has appeared as a guitarist for other stars including shows with Michael Bolton, Dave Stewart and James Durbin. She also appeared on the Top 7-week season 12 of American Idol on 3 April 2013 to play guitar for each of the performances. One month later Orianthi performed Fine China with Chris Brown at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, and on 8 December of that same year she paid tribute to Carlos Santana, performing in the Kennedy Center Honors Gala. She spent most of 2013–2015 touring with Dave Stewart, started BeMyBand, and released a song. In 2014, she joined Richie Sambora for his solo tour in Australia and Europe. In 2016, the two toured under the name RSO in Australia, South America and the UK
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