Orianthi on Performing at Michael Jackson's Memorial: 'I Didn't Know How I Was Gonna Get Through It'

Guitarist Orianthi told Oprah: Where Are They Now that taking the stage at Michael Jackson's memorial was one of the "hardest things" she's ever done

Guitarist and singer/songwriter Orianthi had the chance to perform with two of music’s biggest icons before their deaths — and now she’s opening up about the experience.

In an upcoming episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?, Orianthi reveals how she tackled singing at late pop singer Michael Jackson‘s 2009 memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Playing Michael Jackson’s memorial service was one of the hardest things to do because it was literally a few days after he had passed and Kenny Ortega, who was directing it all, was like ‘You’re gonna come out and sing,’ ” she explains, adding, “So not only was I completely shaken up, I didn’t know how I was gonna get through it. Then going out there just with a microphone, I was like, ‘I feel completely weird.'”

She says, “It was a special night but at the same time it was very, very sad.”

Orianthi, 31, had been rehearsing with Jackson for his ill-fated This Is It tour as a guitarist at the time of his surprising death. She was hired after being contacted through MySpace and performing a private audition for Jackson. Working with the star, she says, was one of the “craziest moments of my life.”


The artist also opens up about performing with Prince — who died earlier this year — and Sheila E.

Oprah: Where Are They Now? featuring Orianthi airs Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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