For eight seasons, Hayley Orrantia has played Erica Goldberg on ABC’s 1980s-set family comedy, The Goldbergs.

But in real life, Orrantia has many other roles — including country singer. The 27-year-old has showed off her singing chops on The Goldbergs and released her debut EP, The Way Out, in 2019.

As she continues to work on new music from her home studio, Orrantia is acutely aware of the changes taking place in the country music industry, specifically when it comes to speaking out against racism following the Morgan Wallen controversy.

“I absolutely think this is an opportunity for country music and people within country music to start having conversations that they were very hesitant to have before,” Orrantia tells ABC Audio. 

“I think that not only in country music, but the entertainment industry all around has pushed things to the side or under the table that we’ve been able to ignore up until this point that you just can’t ignore anymore. It’s time to have a conversation. It’s time to make big changes.”

She adds that it gives her hope to see people in the industry speaking up, especially those in positions of power, because they help set the standard.

“There’s a fear when you’re in the entertainment industry, whether that’s music or acting, to be controversial because you don’t want to limit your audience,” she says.  “But at the same time, you know what’s right and what’s wrong. And at some point you have to be able to stand up and use your platform to be able to represent that.”

“I applaud everyone who’s been able to do that during this time because we’re just teaching the younger generation how it should be done,” she says. 

The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

By Andrea Tuccillo 
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