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Orla Gartland
Orla Gartland
Orla Gartland

Orla Gartland

Singer-Songwriter, Producer, Guitarist
Orla Gartland

From recording songs in her bedroom Orla Gartland has now grabbed the attention of more than 10 million Youtube listeners and is now headlining UK and Ireland tours playing her unique, raw brand of alt-pop.

Orla Gartland has chosen the Aston Origin for her home-studio and as her video co-star.

Accidental Violinist

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Orla Gartland started making music from a very young age: at just five years old, she began learning the violin and Irish trad fiddle, although she found herself beginning her musical journey on an unexpected path: “I remember turning up for my first violin lesson and being distraught because I thought you held it like a guitar! But my parents had bought it at that stage, so I had to commit.” 

Determined to make the best of the misunderstanding, Orla embarked on a journey playing Irish trad in her hometown of Dublin. “Irish trad music is very different to doing grades and I didn’t learn to read music for years. I still don’t really read. It was more focussed on trying to tune your ear.

I picked up a guitar when I was 12 to pursue my original dream, and that was it, I’ve never looked back since!” 

Aged 14, Gartland began writing her own songs from her bedroom, “I’m not sure they were any good, but I was a bit of a show-off and keen to play some gigs. All the open-mic nights were in pubs and I was too young, so no one would have me play for years. “ 

In response, at the dawning of the Youtube bedroom-musician era, Gartland turned to video-sharing on the platform to find her own audience.

To the big city lights...

“I started putting up videos from my room. For years I made videos having absolutely no idea how to record myself, using the terrible, terrible mics on the cameras themselves, or on the phone. There really were no production values expected of anyone. You didn’t need to have a really good quality video or sound recording to stand out.” 

She quickly gained popularity for her original alt-pop songs and has now reached more than 10 million views for her videos. 

Things have changed a bit since the early days of Youtube, and Orla tells us that there is now a far larger emphasis on quality, equipment, and performance to get music noticed on the platform. She has now upgraded the home-studio set-up in her new London home.  

“People want to invest in good entry-level gear. I wouldn’t say there’s a barrier to entry, but I do think if people want to get in to Youtube now as a musician, there’s a bit of pressure to start with a decent mic and interface. I enjoy the production side of it - I think it’s a shame for the musicians who don’t.” 

Orla recently moved to London to keep up her career momentum. “While I’m nothing but grateful to do this as a job, it’s also a recipe for an identity-crisis, especially when you do something under your own name. You’re selling your personality. I found it hard at the beginning to see myself and my project objectively, which is why after a few years in London I placed a huge importance on finding the right manager.” 

Orla's Secret Demo Club

Orla's business sense extends to creative methods of funding her work:

"I use Patreon, it’s like a crowdfunding thing but it’s ongoing. An online tip jar is probably the best way of explaining it. Fans can pay, say, a dollar a month and get all these things no one else gets. So I have this thing called Orla’s Secret Demo Club. It’s a niche platform. I don’t have many people on there, but they keep me alive and help pay for recordings.”  

Those recordings still usually take place in her small bedroom studio, In terms of equipment, Orla is currently using an Apogee Duet, although she’s looking to upgrade to something with more inputs. “I use it live with Ableton and a LaunchPad but it's also my main interface. I have an Aston Origin, obviously, and some Shure mics too. I have a really nice pair of Focal monitors – they’re way too big for my room but I don’t care. I’d say our neighbours love us...” 

“When I need anything exceptionally close, I use the SM7, but when I need a bit more room, I use the Aston Origin, although you can get really close with that too. I use the Aston for all my guitars. I do a lot of random stuff like dance, K pop, and in those situations, I’ll just put up both mics and just see. I’m still learning to trust my ears on those things.

My Aston is definitely my go-to for all the videos. They’re all recorded in my room, so I want them well recorded. A massive part of it is being able to see a bit of the Aston but also to have it tucked under the camera and not too obtrusive visually. I want it to look like there isn’t too much gear and wires and stuff.”

'Stranger' and 'Why Am I Like This' videos


Q. Who are your favourite Artists?
A. I love Regina Spektor, she’s a piano singer-songwriter from the States, she does the Orange Is The New Black theme. I really love Imogen Heap as well, and Haim, and a new artist called Maggie Rogers

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. I was going to go to Uni to do graphic design, so I think I’d be somewhere in that world. I really love design and layout, and I like a good font. I’m a nightmare to make a tour poster for because I’m so specific about what I like!

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. Something that didn’t have a stand but that I didn’t need to hold! Also, a mic with a couple of different profiles.

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. Compact, Practical, Beautiful, Bashed-up

Q. What is the first song that made you cry?
A. Regina Spektor – Samson. Such a beautiful song. Definitely my teary song.

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