You might know Hayley Orrantia from her performance on The Goldbergs or her work as a pop/country singer, but her music career is about to take an entirely new direction with her new single “Open Your Mouth.” The song is a fun, sassy breakup anthem— a stark contrast from the rest of her discography. “Open Your Mouth” is out today (May 13).
The multi-talented singer and actress sat down with American Songwriter to talk about her new single and the next era of her music.
The Next Phase
“Open Your Mouth” is Orrantia’s first new song in nearly six months, and she could not be more excited to share it with fans. “For me, it’s exciting because it’s been a while. I’m excited for people who have been following me and listening to my music to hear the sort of next phase,” she tells American Songwriter.
While Orrantia’s previous work includes a wide range of slow songs and ballads, “Open Your Mouth” shows off a whole new side of her songwriting. The pop-infused, upbeat tune is perfect for solo dance parties and shouting out the lyrics with friends.
“This is one that I personally jam to,” she says excitedly. “I’m ready to have the top down, screaming the lyrics with my girlfriends in the car type vibe.”
Orrantia wrote “Open Your Mouth” with her friends and co-writers Simon Reid and Kalie Shorr. The writing session began with the three of them chatting about things that had come up in their lives lately.
“Whenever you go into a songwriting room, you just spend time talking about your feelings and what you’ve been going through in life with each other, ” Orrantia says. “It’s the most vulnerable you get, sometimes with complete strangers, and then you go into writing about it hoping that it will resonate with a lot of people.”
During the session, Shorr mentioned that she ran into an ex-boyfriend at the bar and initially thought that feelings between them might resurface. However, when they started talking, she was reminded of why they had broken up in the first place.
“When you get the idea of an ex in your mind and it’s been so long since the breakup, you start plugging holes of all the bad stuff with all the good stuff,” Orrantia explains. “And then you get together and once you start communicating, you realize the interests and the values just do not match up.”
Their conversation about exes led to the hook of the song: Everything goes south when you open your mouth.
“Who hasn’t had a moment where they have looked at their ex after a long time and been like, ‘Why did we break up again?’ And then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Oh that’s why,’” Orrantia laughs. “And that could be true for not only running into an ex, but just people in general. I feel like that’s just a universal thing that we have all experienced at some point.”
Girls’ Bathroom Anthem
Orrantia is looking forward to spending the summer jamming to the song with her friends, and she hopes listeners do too.
“I really want this to be like a girls’ bathroom anthem song if that makes sense,” she laughs. “There’s such a culture and community of young women with that sort of camaraderie of, ‘No, don’t text your ex!’ I really want this song to sort of encapsulate that, and be the friend in the bathroom who tells you not to bother.”
Orrantia has also noticed that the pandemic has driven a lot of emotional, moody music, and less fun, upbeat songs. While she “always loves a good slow song,” Orrantia has been missing these high-energy tracks on her playlist. She hopes that “Open Your Mouth” can be that song for her fans.
“I just love the upbeat pop feeling. There are so many moments you can sing along to, and I just feel like after the years that we have had of constant ups and downs, we deserve a fun sassy song to sing along to.”
Acting and Singing: A Balancing Act
In addition to Orrantia’s music career, she is a well-known Hollywood actress. She has played Erica Goldberg, the eldest daughter on The Goldbergs, since 2013. In April, ABC announced that the show would be renewed for a tenth season.
While it is no easy task to balance two careers as a singer/songwriter and actress, Orrantia will continue to do both as long as she can. She currently splits her time between the two cities she calls home: Nashville and Los Angeles.
“I don’t think I could, at this point, choose one over the other,” she says. “I’ve actually been trying to open doors to more opportunities where the two are combined, whether that’s musicals or writing my own projects. I’ve been lucky with a lot of the jobs I’ve had in my career that I’ve been able to infuse music in a way. ”
On The Goldbergs, Orrantia’s music-loving character sings frequently. She has performed several classics on the show like Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” The Goldbergs has provided Orrantia with many opportunities to combine her two passions on screen.
Additionally, in 2021, she starred in the holiday comedy movie Christmas is Cancelled. On top of playing one of the lead roles in the film, Orrantia wrote and recorded the song, “The Same Way” for the soundtrack.
“It can be hard, but I’m not going to stop doing it,” she confirms. “I do believe at the end of the day that if it’s something you really want to do, you’re going to find time to make it happen. And even if it doesn’t come to fruition in the way that you imagined, if you love doing it, you just do it anyway.”
“Open Your Mouth” Music Video
Orrantia also got to combine her singing and acting skills for the “Open Your Mouth” music video. When she and her boyfriend Greg Furman had an idea for an accompanying video to the song, they decided to create it together. Furman helped with lighting, editing, and camera work, and they were able to transform their vision into a full music video.
“It was quite literally the two of us shooting an entire music video,” she says. “It was a really fun challenge for us to be able to find ways to marry [singing and acting].”
Orrantia revealed that “Open Your Mouth” is just the start of a new phase of her music. Over the last year, she has written several songs on her own that she is finally ready to share with the world.
“I have a whole series of songs that I’ve written in the last year that was just me and a piano. I feel so confident in these songs, so now it’s just about working with my producer Ben Zelico to try to find the right way of telling the story,” she explains.
While Orrantia is not sure whether she will release them as singles or as an EP, fans can expect much more music coming soon. Like “Open Your Mouth,” these songs will be pop-inspired, which she is thrilled for fans to hear.
“I’m really excited for this next phase of music because I am going to be leaning more into that pop realm, which I’ve just loved my whole life. It’s always been the one factor that has stayed true throughout all my music.”
Orrantia is also looking forward to returning to live performances after a long hiatus due to the pandemic.
“Being onstage is really great, especially when I meet fans who really resonate with a song. I’ve written songs that were so emotional to me and came from a very specific place, and then I’ll meet someone and they’ll tell me their story that is so drastically different from mine, but we both end up in the same emotional place,” she says. “It feels healing.”
Keep an eye (or ear) out for more music from Orrantia later this year, but in the meantime, stream “Open Your Mouth,” out now.
Photo by Brett Erickson / Persona PR