TV

The Goldbergs’ Hayley Orrantia Gets “Love Sick”

She's Now Playing Erica and a Country Singer

If you’re a fan of the hit TV show The Goldbergs, you’re probably thrilled that the new season premieres on Wednesday (Sept. 23).

But the even better news is that Hayley Orrantia, who plays the oldest child in the Goldberg squad, has the same kind of wise-beyond-her-years persona as her Erica character does. Especially about her new project in country music.

For starters, she knows that not everyone will see her journey into the music world as a good thing.

“There’s something that comes along with an actress trying to be a singer, and it’s a negative thing,” Orrantia told me when we talked about the new single, “Love Sick.” Maybe people think she’s just trying to follow in the footsteps of actors-turned-country-singers Lucy Hale, Jamie Lynn Spears and Jana Kramer.

“It’s frustrating when people say, ‘She’s just an actress, she can’t sing, she can’t write songs, what is she trying to do getting in on our business?’ But in my case, I was a singer and songwriter first. I got into acting because people in music told me that was the only way I’d get looked at. That I needed a platform,” she explained. “But music was the one place I wanted to go, and then magically I found this amazing show, and now it’s time to get back to music.”

The 21-year-old grew up in Dallas, so she said she grew up on Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and her mom’s favorite, Keith Urban.

Then fast forward a few years, and she is sitting in songwriting sessions and recording studios with the very same people who helped create the hits for that era of music.

The Goldbergs films from August to March, so Orrantia has been able to spend her summers in Nashville, working with Mark Bright, Corey Crowder, Liz Rose, Emily Shackelton and more.

“Even though I’ve written songs by myself, it was nerve-wracking to go into sessions with these people who are obviously so good at what they do,” she said. “But they are so good at collaborating, as opposed to saying, ‘OK, little girl, you don’t know what you’re doing so let me take the reins.’ Songwriting is something I really love to do, and always have to itch to do. “

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.