ECHO

EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Ortiz Talks New Song “That’s Okay,” Favorite Hip Hop Artists and More

Anthony Ortiz should be on your new to listen to list and if he’s not definitely fix that now. His unique R&B/Pop sound will immediately capture you. His recent song “That’s Okay” makes the perfect car tune for a road trip in the summer. He’s just getting started in the music industry and we chatted with Ortiz about his new song and much more below.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

How are you doing today? 

I’m great. I am finally feeling like I can just- this is the first time I’ve sat down . 

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

So, kind of explain to listeners how you kind of got started in the music industry? How did you find your way into the music world? 

So, originally it all began through my senior year of high school I grew up as a skateboarder. I was a sponsored skateboarder and I was doing contests and competitions and it was all I ever did. And my dad thought I was hurting myself too much or I was putting my health in jeopardy. Because my dad skates but like he works at a hospital, so he has this whole mindset of like medical this medical that. I was 17 and he took away my skateboard and I was like, “Dad like bro what the heck?!” So, I was like “Not on my watch”, kind of thing. And I saw this guy on YouTube playing just a random video popped up of him singing to people like on the side of the road and people were just giving him money. And I was like, “I could learn this like even if”- I’m like, “I just need 60 bucks that’s all, I need is to get a new skateboard.” Yeah, I never had played or like really sang before and the music I skated all day every day all the music that around me was like all thrash skate punk music, so it was not much singing a lot of screaming.  

So, I never really grew up on any singing. But I had this really old guitar and my grandpa gave my dad and no one ever used it. So, I just grabbed it and like never had played before. I went to under this bridge in Tampa and I just winged it and just like used like kind of like I trusted my ear; I didn’t even know if I sounded good or not. But I made a couple hundred bucks that day and then I started going every day. And like I realized that how much I actually enjoyed playing it rather than making the money from there I was like I have to do this for the rest of my life. So, that’s like how I started that sparked my interest and everything was through the skateboarding. And every day for like a year I went out all day singing to public people under this bridge.  

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

Now, your recent single, “That’s Okay,” talk about creating the creative process behind the song. What was putting this song together like for you? 

It was so awesome because this studio session for this song in particular, was really fun because a lot of times like when especially because I’m learning I learn every day. I learn from every conversation I have and people who are just more experienced than me and things because I’m new; I’m still starting off. And just seeing people make songs it’s very like a lot of people tend to take this like science project route towards it like this E equals MC squared. Like well the bridge has to be this long and like this has to be this part it’s like I kind of kept seeing that and I was like dang like that’s not fun. So, this set this one session in particular was like I was like, “Guys we just need to just make something that’s just like feels dope to us in the moment” which is what I always do. But it’s like there’s just this consistency- sorry the dogs are barking- there’s this consistency of like people saying like, “What is a hit song?” Like rather than like let’s just make something that feels good while we’re making it and that’s what we did. And it had like this really bouncy flow like whether it’s not the most like put together like advanced, all this production and stuff it’s just something really simple and cool melodies that just felt good. 

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

Talk about like experimenting with this sound a little bit more because it’s kind of like it’s not totally different from your past music, but it is kind of more like R&B kind of pop infused. Talk about like finding sound for the song this time. 

So, I’ve always like once I started getting into music thoroughly branching out of what I was just used to growing up on which was country music and rock and punk rock. I started listening to a lot of stuff because my parents never let me listen to rap music. So, I started listening to rap music and I got super hip hop inspired with my fashion everything that I like. I don’t know I just loved hip-hop music. So, I always wanted to go for this like pop with a bounce because like you know there’s a lot of like I call it like bubble gum pop. You know like just pop music it’s just straight up pop music, but it’s like I want there to be like the pop music that has that has the flow the bounce the coolness the swag to like the pop music. And that’s definitely about how I inspired my sound is like basing it off of how much I just was inspired by hip hop and tried to fuse it with pop. 

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

Who are some of your like favorite hip-hop artists right now that are like not like legends, but like new hip-hop artists? 

Right now? Man, this dude Smino. S-m-i-n-o he is just killing the game. Like I am so inspired by him. Every time I listen to something from him or hear him talk- because that’s another thing I like him as a person too. Like when watching an interview about him he just speaks facts and it makes me love his music more, but his melodies are just so insane. Like the only problem with his music is that the songs end you know what I mean like that’s the issue that is there. Smino and I’m a diehard J. Cole fan and Amine.

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

Who do you think your sound would kind of match with if you were to collaborate with one of them? 

Amine for sure I feel like we would just have so much fun. And not necessarily thinking about like how our sounds would work because we would figure out a way to work whoever I was with no matter what. But I just feel like I mean and I would have like the most fun studio session. Bro, you think about it like you’re in the studio session with someone who’s a dope artist, but then like they’re really quiet and then you have to bring the inspiration out of anywhere you can grab it, but then like you have someone in there who cracks a joke and then you’re like laughing and then boom all of a sudden a new idea pops up it’s like… 

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

And then you also released another song earlier this year called, “Using Me”. Talk about like kind of that song as well. How would you say, you kind of like changed since that sound versus “That’s Okay”?   

Well using me was another situation of how the studio session with That’s Okay, it was straight up homies just not thinking about the science behind music and just making something we love. The really interesting thing about that song is like it was me and my friends and I and we were all kind of just talking about experiences like we got in this really deep conversation about you know how people how can someone like use someone for something. It’s like we were just like baffled and we were just kind of on the topic of it and then we were like, “Bros like write a song about it.” And then so we were all like taking our personal experiences from what we had and kind of like laying it out on the table. Like why does the one to call you up that you always back down- like why are you out of town. I don’t know like we were just like just going in on like what annoys us and that’s why I like that song so much. I think since that song to that’s okay I’ve really let myself make the music I want to make. And now I can start thinking about music in a sense of how I want it to sound when I perform live. Like I imagine I want to perform. Like one day I want to be on an arena tour. I want these songs to slap on the tour like you know what I mean. So, that’s kind of the idea behind everything. But these past two songs I definitely will say are the path that I’ve grown to making the songs I really want to. 

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

What have you been kind of doing to stay creative during this like quarantine? What like new hobbies have you found? What have you been like doing to stimulate the brain? 

I’ve been picking up like and I did this a lot when I was younger like I got really good at it and I stopped but origami like folding paper and just like just trying not to look at my phone you know. I’ve been doing origami and like uh and I’m just making music. I’ve been like playing the guitar. I’ve been trying to like perfect my craft with different instruments and just come out of this quarantine like really just dominate but I’m using this time to definitely not be staring at my phone as much. 

Photo Credit: Will Heffernan

What have you been trying to like do to like have that performance experience still because like obviously with everything going on you can’t perform on a stage in front of a crowd? So what have you been doing to kind of like build that experience right now? 

So, definitely like the reason anyone should be getting into music is because they love making music right. The other half of it besides making the music is performing that’s my favorite part. Like as much as I love making songs like I just have this exhilarating feeling that I can’t get anywhere else when I’m on stage. And really what it is I think is, just connecting with people who relate to me at the end of the day. So, I can kind of get the same feeling just being interactive with the supporters I have and just checking up on them and making sure everyone’s good. Because you know everyone’s going through this quarantine thing together. So, it’s like at the same time I kind of just have this comparison in my mind it’s like as long as we’re still on the same page as the Ozone fam, then I’m still getting this like exhilarating feeling of like people are still relating to me and being inspired by messages that I want to put out. Because every song I put out I want it to be some sort of message to better yourself like that’s okay it’s a bounce back song. Like it doesn’t matter what happened whatever it is that you regret doing, it’s okay you’re going to bounce back from it. Like all these things, but yeah… 

Is there a line in That’s Okay that like kind of connects with you the most? 

Yeah very first one. “I don’t really want to think about last weekend”. It’s that thing of like, “Oh man…” And it’s not like I didn’t write it based off of any specific experience- well I did have one in my mind. But like that was inspired by just like being in high school and then like some DB thing happening at a party where I was just like, “Oh gosh I shouldn’t have gone to this party.” Like one of those things you know, but yeah like really it was about that but then I started realizing it was something bigger than that. It was just any decision you make that you feel like you should have done something differently. It’s like it’s all good. It’s like you can definitely just bounce right out of that motion. 

Now if you could set up a fan in a setting for them to like listen to your music whatever creative crazy setting, what setting would that be? 

Ooh. I would definitely want to be in like, if I could put like a a mini ramp at the top of like the tallest mountain with the craziest view and like just sit in this mini ramp and like look out and at the whatever view it is with headphones on and listening to it like that like that probably be like coolest thing ever? 

What’s one quote that you’ve heard in life either from your childhood from right now or even a song of yours that you would want to echo out to the world?  

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding like how do I accomplish this, this seems so far away and people comparing themselves to other people. Honestly, like the best thing that I had ever heard because I have myself asked for advice and quotes and like got the typical like, “Oh just believe in yourself” kind of thing. But it’s like “Where’s someone that really is going to tell me something.” The more you do it the better, you get at it is really like something that really stuck with me because it was just like firm- straight up just like, “Bro I’m calling you out right now.” Like if you’re not going to focus that much, then you’re not going to get better at it. Like the more you do it the better you get and that’s something that is always stuck with me.” 

Take a listen to “That’s Okay” now!

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