Orianthi Panagaris was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and is of Greek and Australian descent. Orianthi first started learning piano and playing at the age ofthree and moving to acoustic guitar at the age of six. She learned to play the acoustic guitar at six at the encouragement of her father, started electric when she waseleven and left her school, Mercedes College, enrolling at Cabra Dominican College. At the age of 15, she turned her focus to writing songs and so began herprofessional career. She has been playing in bands since the age of 14 in England and in France, and performed in her first stage show for Steve Vai at the age of 15.Orianthi met and jammed with Carlos Santana when she was 18. He invited Orianthi to get up and jam with him at soundcheck then later asked if she would join him onstage that night to jam at his Adelaide concert, Memorial Drive on 30 March 2003.
Orianthi independently released Violet Journey in 2005, composing all thematerial, contributing guitar, vocals and drums on most cuts. She produced and mixed the final product at her home studio. Carlos Santana brought Orianthi to Paul ReedSmith's attention which led to her endorsement. Orianthi relocated to Los Angeles, signed with Geffen Records in late 2006 and struck a management deal with 19Entertainment.
Orianthi has played with Prince, made a commercial for Panasonic HD, featured in the song Now or Never for Bratz: The Movie, played at the EricClapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, appeared in The New York Times business section promoting eco-friendly acoustic guitars, and opened for Steve Vai in the US.