Friday Nite Retro- Beth Orton
Beth Orton, folk-electonica artist, has a voice that was summed up rather well by a commenter on one of her videos: "She has a telephone book voice . . . she could open up the phone book and start singing the entries, and she'd still have my rapt attention".
Orton is a Brit who was born December 14, 1970 in East Dereham, Norfolk. She was raised on a pig farm in Norwich, before moving to East London at age fourteen. Her father left her mother when Beth was eleven, and she lived with her mother, an artist and political activist, and her two brothers, her father dying shortly afterward. She lost her mother to cancer eight years later, in 1989, after which, she took to traveling to Thailand for a short period, residing with Buddhist nuns.
Orton found success as a musician relatively late, having first worked at menial jobs such as as a waitress at Pizza Hut and even owning her own catering company. She was also more interested in acting during her early career, and spent some time touring the UK, Russia and Ukraine with a fringe theatre company.
Her first contribution in music came when she met William Orbit at a London nightclub, when he tried to borrow a cigarette from her. They began a relationship shortly after, and before long he invited her to do some spoken word for his current Strange Cargo project, but she drunkenly decided to sing also. Shortly after, Orton and Orbit began experimenting to pull an L.P. together. It was called SuperPinkyMandy, named after a rag doll which she bought at a garage sale at the age of six. This rare album was released in Japan alone, in extremely limited numbers.
The sound is very much Orbit's, but several songs were co-written, and some tracks were later recycled, in very different versions). "She Cries Your Name" later appeared on what she now considers her debut album (Trailer Park). "Yesterday's Gone" became "Montok Point" for the fourth Strange Cargo release Hinterland in 1995. That album featured Beth on several tracks as vocalist, and also included an alternative version of "She Cries Your Name".
In 1997, Orton toured with Lilith Fair, as well as releasing Central Reservation, her second album (proper). Although retaining the electronic edge of the former, this record showed a notably more acoustic side with several tracks consisting purely of Beth's vocal accompanied by a solitary acoustic guitar, with subject matters becoming more introspective, including "Pass in Time", a song about the death of her mother. Despite this style, the album still provided more polished moments such as lead single "Stolen Car"
Orton has been romantically linked with a number of high profile musicians, including William Orbit and Ryan Adams. Adams' songs "English Girls Approximately", "You Will Always Be The Same" & "Friends/For Beth" were written about her.
Orton gave birth to a daughter, Nancy, in mid-December 2006. She cancelled her September 2006 UK tour because of her pregnancy.
She is a well known opponent of the War on Terror, and played at the One Big No concert in March 2003 at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, organised by Emily Eavis.
In the Telegraph interview she revealed that in the past she had shunned several opportunities to raise her public profile, on ethical grounds. Such opportunities included becoming the face of Calvin Klein, representing Gap (which, according to some sources, use sweatshops to manufacture their clothes), and promoting the sales of her records at Starbucks coffee outlets. While she is a supporter of Fairtrade, she has subsequently relented on this last stance.
All of her recent releases are "carbon neutral", whereby a tree is planted in a poor area of Mexico for every certain amount of units produced to offset the emissions generated when pressing the CDs, and other marketing paraphernalia.
She has also been offered the opportunity to return to her first love, acting. Having played the lead female in the independent film Southlander, she was offered to audition for the role of John Cusack's girlfriend in the film High Fidelity, but didn't accept the invitation (the part went to Iben Hjejle). Orton also wrote music for the Erin Brockovich soundtrack. She does state that she would act, if an appropriate part came up for her.
Orton is a well-known sufferer from Crohn's disease.
Check out her official website HERE.