She has played with Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper and Santana, but, for Adelaide's Orianthi Panagaris, school was her toughest gig
Panagaris said the mean kids never crushed her dreams of becoming the most talked about female guitarist on the planet.
"It was definitely difficult going through school," she said. "I was bullied a lot about being a guitar player, being into different music and being a bit of a hippie. So I left school when I was 15 and did home schooling."
At age 15, Panagaris or "Ori" as she is known by friends and family, already had made a name for herself as one of the most promising musicians the state had produced.
Performing in cover bands around town, she was spurred by her former tormenters. "You know what, I knew what I wanted to do," she said. "I felt like school wasn't really the place for me because I wanted to be a musician and travel the world and make records.
"A lot of the guys who played guitar were pretty mean and the girls were, too. I was pushed into lockers and teased and it wasn't fun at all.
"Any kids that are going through that now - it's an awful thing. It can have such an effect on everything. It affects getting up in the morning and the whole school and learning environment. I don't think kids realise how damaging bullying can be."
Now based in Los Angeles with the world at her feet, Panagaris feels comfortable to talk about the problem and encourages those experiencing it that "it is OK to talk about it".
"I can talk about it now and let kids know who are bullied to just hang in there, keep doing what they love and not let the others affect them," she said.
Performing alongside Grammy award-winning singer Bolton on Thursday at Adelaide Festival Theatre, Panagaris's future is looking bright.
After the success of her second solo album in 2010, Believe, which came off the back of working with Michael Jackson on his This Is It tour, Panagaris, 27, now is shredding onstage alongside another iconic rocker - Alice Cooper. She pushed herself to score the gig.
"It's a blast going on tour with Alice," she said. "We're touring around with Iron Maiden; it's a really crazy tour.
"They're such sweet people and it's really cool to be the guitar player, but for Alice I had to learn 24 of his songs in just a week.
"With a lot of these gigs, and particularly Alice, it's like throwing myself into the ocean and forcing myself to swim."
Panagaris will spend a few days in Adelaide after her tour with Bolton to catch up with family and explore her new love of strawberry picking. Then it is back to work, heading back to Los Angeles to finish her follow-up album to Believe, set for release this year.
"It's going to be a bit rockier," Panagaris said. "I'm excited - it's definitely a lot heavier and has a bit of a Jimi Hendrix influence. It's a little crazier - almost voodoo rock blues."
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Posted By: HaboobSplit |
8/29/13 11:44 AM
I saw her play with MJ she was awesome.
Posted By: StrawberryVineNC |
9/05/13 1:39 PM
She rocks out!