“I’ve never seen an unknown performer with more power as when I saw Ariana…. I couldn’t stop talking about her. She may be the best new emerging artist anywhere.”
~ Writer – Rock Critic – Historian, Dave Marsh
Hailing from just outside Toronto, Ariana Gillis started taking singing lessons at the age of six, but she was hardly thrilled. So, her father encouraged her to write her own material and learn to play the guitar. An award-winning songwriter himself, he gave her invaluable insight into the process. However, music’s importance didn’t really become apparent until her final year of high school, when she got double pneumonia. She missed three months of school, and couldn’t sing properly for about a year. “Within that span of time, I realized I needed music. I craved it.”
With renewed focus, Gillis made an immediate impact on the Niagara music scene, winning Songwriter of the Year at the 2009 Niagara Music Awards, followed by Female Vocalist and Album of the Year in 2010. She networked at music conferences, which led to a quick, two-song performance for Dave Marsh in a stairwell in Memphis, following the release of her second album, Forget Me Not. Marsh then played Gillis on his Sirius XM radio show, which caught the attention of Elton John’s songwriting partner.
“I’m staggered by how good she is. There’s not much that impresses me these days but after hearing her available tracks, I can honestly say she’s the single most exciting artist I’ve heard in a long time.”
~ Award-winning Lyricist, Bernie Taupin
Gillis gained Canadian national attention via her recordings and live performances. As a performer she has toured with such artists as Josh Ritter, Eliza Gilkyson, Jeremy Fisher and Ani Difranco, and opened for Patty Griffin and John Prine. Her other appearances have included festival dates throughout North America, a one-year residency at New York City’s The Living Room, and a SXSW endorsed showcase.
Just recently, Gillis worked with multi GRAMMY® Award-winning producer, Joel Moss to produce an EP of her newest work. “Freedom,” the first single off the EP, presents a timely statement surrounding the repression of human rights and false promises in the U.S. and around the globe.
Photo Credit: Terri Lynn Pellegri