In 2015, singer/songwriting phenom Ariana Gillis was, as they say, going places, until a chance accident sidelined her career. Winner of numerous awards in her native Canada, including the Canadian Folk Music Award, her life was devastated by a bizarre incident. Her collision with a car door caused a rare form of concussion which was not diagnosed until much later, rendering her unable to work or perform. A devastating injury can lead to the early end of a career, something Gillis had a lot of time to contemplate, but fortunately she was able to continue, ultimately.
It was a dark time, but she eventually recovered and recorded an incredible new album with her longtime fan, legendary recording artist/producer Buddy Miller (Patty Griffin, Richard Thompson).
The Maze comes out June 14th, and her penetrating, beautiful songs are perfectly showcased by Miller and his crack band of Nashville musicians. Miller explained: “I have been a fan of Ariana Gillis since discovering her music on satellite radio…something rare and unseen – genuine, un-calculated, un-co-opted, art from a soulful gem.”
The Maze was recorded live at Miller’s studio in Nashville, after Miller witnessed Ariana perform live at the City Winery in Nashville.
This is just one instance where her powerful live prowess had a impact: years earlier she converted the legendary music journalist/radio DJ Dave Marsh after performing for him live in a stairwell at Folk Alliance in Memphis. This lead to Marsh playing her second album, Forget Me Not on his Sirius/XM show, which caught the attention of one of the greatest songwriters in recent history, Bernie Taupin.
Taupin stated, “Now under the wing of multi-talented Americana everyman Buddy Miller the stars are aligned and Ariana Gillis will prove through these recordings that she is no flash in the pan flavor of the month but a force to be reckoned with now and for a very long time.”
Hailing from just outside Toronto, Ariana Gillis began taking singing lessons at the age of six, but she was hardly thrilled. “I was starting to sound like everybody else, which is very boring.” 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.
Gillis made an immediate impact on the Niagara music scene, and the Canadian Folk music scene, winning Songwriter of the Year at the 2009 Niagara Music Awards, followed by Female Vocalist and Album of the Year in 2010, as well as 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award, Young Performer of the Year.
Gillis will criss-cross North America this summer in support of the new album, tour dates are below with more to follow.