It's been quite a year for Australian guitarist Orianthi. In February, she shared the stage with Carrie Underwood at the Grammys and ripped a killer solo during "Last Name" that had the country superstar happily head-banging next to her. From there, she scored an audition for [artist id="1102"]Michael Jackson's[/artist] planned This Is It concert series and landed the gig after wowing the King of Pop with an athletic take on "Bad."
This week might be the wildest yet for the 24-year-old musician. Not only does "Michael Jackson's This Is It" documentary — in which Orianthi has a prime role — hit theaters, but her debut album Believe arrives in stores.
"There are so many guitars on this record," she told MTV News. "We beefed up the tracks, rock-ified them. It's a big-sounding record, and I'm super proud of it."
It's an album that has been more than three years in the making. Orianthi moved to Los Angeles after signing a deal with Geffen and spent a year writing material before recording off and on for two and a half years. The result is a guitar-driven pop album that has echoes of acts like Daughtry and, especially on first single "According to You," Kelly Clarkson. That's no mistake, as Orianthi's producer, Howard Benson, has worked with both former "American Idol" acts. As Orianthi said, though, the tracks look as much to the rock-and-roll past as they do to contemporary, radio-friendly pop.
"It's got a real '80s, now, rock vibe to it," she said. "There's a guitar solo on every track. It's bringing the '80s back, in a way. I just love that music."
It's the type of music she listened to in the car growing up in Adelaide, South Australia, when her father was a musician and she was weaned on tunes from Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. She laughed that a guitar is still her "security blanket." With Believe, Orianthi wanted to re-create the sort of album-driven experience she remembered from her youth, a collection of tunes that is the perfect soundtrack for a road trip.
"I hope they want to put it in their car and not want to change it," she said. "That was kind of the goal with this record, is that sometimes you buy a record and you listen to a couple of tracks and you want to put another record on or a playlist together on your iPod. But hopefully with this record, people want to keep it in their player in their car and they're driving."
Don't miss "Michael Jackson's This Is It" Premiere Special, airing on MTV and VH1 on Tuesday, October 27, at 8:30 p.m. ET! "Michael Jackson's This Is It" opens in a limited engagement on October 27 and wide on October 28.
Check out everything we've got on "Michael Jackson's This Is It."