Lindi Ortega is a self-professed loner with a hunger for music that took her from Canada to Nashville.
"Music grabbed me when I was 15 years old," she said in a recent interview with the Herald. "My dad was a bass player with a Latino band, and his guitar hung on the wall in our home. I asked him to teach me some chords, and it just took off from there."
Ortega, 32, is one of the featured acts to open for the Social Distortion tour when it comes to the Tri-Cities on April 14 at the Toyota Arena, next to the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
The San Francisco Examiner said Ortega is one of the most important new artists of the year. She has been nominated for two Juno Awards, which are Canada's version of the American Grammy, for her album Little Red Boots.
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Ortega doesn't dispute she is a little bit country, blues, classical, folk and soul. Her signature red cowboy boots are part of her stage persona.
"It's hard to pigeonhole my music," she said. "It sort of runs in all directions."
The reason for that is simple, she said. "I went through a lot of dark times growing up," Ortega said. Writing songs about it helped her get through those troubling times, she added.
Touring with punk band Social Distortion also has been a new musical experience, she said.
"I didn't know much about punk before this tour, and I love the challenge of opening for Social Distortion," she said.
And when she's not touring internationally, she hangs out at her apartment in Nashville writing songs, surrounded by her guitar, her famous red boots and posters of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.
"I love the color red, and I'm a big Wonder Woman fan," she said. As for the posters of Kahlo, Ortega relates to the Mexican painter's troubled life and the moving self-portraits she is famous for.
Ortega opens for Social Distortion at the Tri-City concert, along with The Toadies. Doors open at 7 p.m., showtime's at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available at the Toyota Center box office. Otherwise, the cost is $41.85 if purchased through www.ticketmaster.com.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org