Ariana Gillis
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Ariana Gillis

Vineland, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Vineland, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop Folk

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This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Forget Me Not is as good as anything, anywhere, from anytime"

"I want to make this as clear as possible:
Forget Me Not is as good as anything, anywhere, from anytime. It's Ariana's second album (her first,
To Make It Make Sense, came out in 2009), and the quality of it is so incredible that I doubt my ability to describe it.”
Corin Raymond – Singer-Songwriter & Writer - Corin Raymond – Singer-Songwriter & Writer


"Ariana is a freak!"

"Ariana is a freak! I've learned that this is a 'good' thing. She has an ability to make you want to jump out of your bones, walk across hot coals, drive the entire state of Texas blindfolded, and marry the wrong person... twice. I once saw her so taken by the spirit of music, that her eyes had rolled up inside her head, all the while testifying to a stubborn audience, bent on having no part of the salvation she offered.
Fools! Before the middle eight, they were hers.
Although I have been part of the Ariana experience for several years, i feel as much a spectator as anyone who hasn't witnessed her incredible abilities as singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and lion tamer."
A wonderful treat at every turn. - Kevin Breit, Guitarist , Norah Jones, Hugh Laurie, Rosanne Cash, k.d. Lang


"When you compose songs as great as some of your heroes..."

"When you compose songs as great as some of your heroes, Bob Dylan and Patty Griffin, you enter into rarified air. Canadian folk singer/songwriter Ariana Gillis has rocketed herself into that stratosphere. 'Forget Me Not' soars with provocative imagination and brutal honesty. Her stunning voice warm and robust, conveys stories rippling with animated sincerity. They posses a certain pop intelligence without falling into the pop category. It's refreshing to hear such a grounded young artist orbit into greatness." - Found Magazine


"Ariana Gillis may be the best new emerging..."

"Ariana Gillis may be the best new emerging artist anywhere, PERIOD!"
– Dave Marsh, best selling author, former music critic of Rolling Stone Magazine & Creem Magazine. - Dave Marsh - Sirius Radio -The Loft & former Rolling Stone Editor


"Ariana is two people in one...."

"Ariana is two people in one. She’s a normal nice demure 21-year-old, but when she begins to sing her entire body is taken over by the most powerful force, and the songs become a lot more than just words or music…. her stage presence is the most visually grabbing I’ve ever seen. I was stunned at the intense connection between herself and what she was singing; I thought of the strength of character that embodied Janis Joplin’s performances.” - Steve Wozniak –Apple Computers co-founder


"I’m staggered by how good she is."

“I’m staggered by how good she is. There is not much that impresses me these days but after hearing her available tracks I can honestly say she’s the single most exciting thing I’ve heard in a very long time.” - Bernie Taupin


"ARIANA GILLIS - FORGET ME NOT"

An insanely young and talented songwriter and singer, Gillis is just 21, but has already wowed everyone who has heard her, and continues to amaze on her new and second album. I don't know what genre to slot her in, other than great music.

She can rock out, ya. She can haunt you. That's the first three songs. About a minute into number four, a bouncy banjo one called The Cove, after you've already figured out she a top singer, she opens her range up and starts hitting high notes and you realized she's got more tricks up her sleeve. Then, the song toughens up and it sinks in that this is a number about those hunters that lure and kill the dolphins each year in Japan, the ones caught on video a couple of years back, and the protest against them. This is strong stuff.

Next comes something extra-special, and like nothing I've heard before. It's a fairy tale, a child's story with a moral, and so well done it will touch the most cynical of us all. John And The Monster has to be heard to be fully appreciated, with the spoken-word start, the switch into a song, the tender and touching delivery, the ingenuity of the story. A monster who can cure cancer? The boy who finds him, but chooses to save him from being locked up instead of saving his own life? Five minutes folks, I marvel at her ability to write and then polish that story into brief perfection. I hope she's ready to turn it into a kids book immediately.

Another brilliant bit of story-telling comes in the tale of Cannonball Sam, the smartest sailor ever forced to walk the plank. Next up is Snap Crack, a mystery-hipster-blues that Tom Waits could sing. I could go on about each song, but I've run out of superlatives. - Bob Mersereau – CBC


"Morning Coffee with David Farrell, November 28 - Talent & Touring"

This column doesn’t make a habit of offering comment on live shows but the CD launch concert by Ariana Gillis last week at Hugh’s Room was just too exotic and memorable not to make mention of. Gillis released a promising if perhaps premature debut album when she was 17 years old. Now a full 21, Gillis has earned praise with a clutch of self-penned songs written in the past several years from the likes of respected American author and rock critic Dave Marsh (following an impromptu performance in a stairwell during a festival in Memphis) and Elton John’s longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin (“I’m staggered by how good she is …She’s the single most exciting thing I’ve heard in a very long time”).

At Hugh’s Room last Thursday (11/24) this slender slip of a girl owned the house within minutes of taking the stage with an evolving and revolving band of musicians that included her mentor and father David Gillis, himself an accomplished guitarist and songwriter, and drummer-turned-boyfriend Ben Rollo. Gillis has a unique, feminine fashion sense and a growing number of songs that are as imaginative as any by Dylan, Kate Bush or Jane Siberry. More often miniature stories than straight hook and verse, her novellas are populated by rogues, mythical creatures and historical archetypes and set to melodic tapestries that weave in and out of off-beat patterns and skillfully appointed dramatic breaks. There’s nothing conventional about this gal.

The icing on the cake is her undeniable and quite extraordinary sense of self on stage. Where so many artists falter in the telling of a story or in addressing an audience, Gillis seemingly assumes the very fact we have come out to see her is enough to know she delivers. What she does on stage at every turn is dazzle us with a show that is filled with extraordinary songs. There’s also her innate ability to pick, lead and coax the best from brilliant musicians. Her new CD Forget Me Not suggests what she delivers. She’s on a road to what promises to be an exhilaration ride and and an extraordinary career and I’m just glad I was there last week to catch the dawn of her success. - David Farrell


"A surprising style, A genre of her own"

"Ariana Gillis is a singer-songwriter who embraces a surprising
style, a genre of her own, and a sound that places out there
the question of `how far is too far?' Her songs have a fantastic
groove about them, a witty interpretation of life and a stamina
to just keep pushing." – ????? - Laura Bethell – Maverick Magazine


"A blast of energy and fearless confidence,"

"A blast of energy and fearless confidence, Ariana Gillis sings and strums and stomps and leaves ripples behind her wherever she goes. With an impressive vocal range and a firm grasp on the craft of songwriting, Ariana is unstoppable. In 2009, she won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performer of the Year and she has received multiple Niagara Music Awards. There is an intense, driving force behind her folk/pop sound, and a deeper story behind every song."
- Andy Frank, Roots Music Canada


"Ariana Gillis shows her roots"

As the daughter of a working musician, Ariana Gillis has certain advantages that must be mentioned: a musical upbringing, familiarity with the musical life, musical mentoring, and the open doors provided by a musical parent.
On the other hand, the expectations that come with being a musician’s kid are not easy to handle, and can often be confining.
Adam Cohen, Clay Tyson, Nathan Rogers and many others have struggled with the shadow. No artist wants to be defined on another’s terms. Even— maybe especially—if the musician is your mom or dad.
Enter the talented and highly energetic Ariana Gillis, whose father David Gillis is an accomplished songwriter, arranger and player.
Like Liam Titcomb, (son of folk veteran Brent Titcomb) Ariana has hit the stage in the past few years with everything an emerging roots artist could want: great voice, solid chops, good looks, energy, connections and an intimate knowledge of the craft.
But as the ears of the folk scene turn her way, the question is whether Ariana’s roots—genetically and musically—will help, or hinder the progress she deserves.
The answer lies with Ariana herself. I watched this kid start making waves as a teeny-bopper. She already had a bold hairstyle, a silver-lined voice and the energy of a banshee on stage when she was 16. Yet she was all class, and an eager learner as she followed the path laid out for her in her own unique way.
Thanks to David, who accompanies, manages and produces her, Ariana’s entrée was to the world of folk and roots festivals and venues.
She’s always impressed audiences and artistic directors both with her classy presence both on and off stage. Despite giving a powerful pop performance on stage with all the exuberance of her 20 years, Ariana’s venues are still mostly grassy hillsides and intimate cafes. She may not be a folkie, per se, but it’s a fit. We know where she came from.
The same is true for Ariana as a recording artist —but there the categories get trickier. She won the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performer of the Year – but Ariana’s debut album, To Make It Make Sense, doesn’t fit as neatly into a genre as she fits onto a festival stage. Like Serena Ryder before her, Ariana knows her roots, but she’s a musician of her time, too.
She’s no stranger to rock & roll rebellion, and she expresses it with full heart and throat on tunes like “Project Man,” in which the little guy gets the short end of the stick. The longings of youthful love make their way into the singalong anthem “Simon Brooke” and you could be forgiven for hearing a new country tinge when her sweet voice and a radio friendly backbeat come together.
“Blueberry Ocean” has a pop sparkle – but “Boom Dah” hits as hard as the name suggests, and there are deep introspective pieces too: “May 21st” deals Ariana’s own near-death experience, and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Vietnam both get serious treatment on “Bridges of Queen Elizabeth Hway” and “Agent Orange” respectively.
How will her peers – or the DJs who program for her peers – categorize this talented newcomer, who just happened to have the panache of a pro before she was even old enough to drive?
It will be up to Ariana to indicate her direction -and like many millennial kids, she’s got a lot of possibilities to choose from. Why pick one? Only because it makes it easier to categorize her music. She may not want that. Subtle indications, though, make me suspect that Ariana’s future is in an alt-country or roots rock vibe.
As a writer, the strength of her storytelling goes beyond mere puppy love lyrics; she explores complex themes like love and war, through intriguing metaphors like the currents of the ocean, the chemistry of a city, and the biology of a baby bird.
That’s the aura of serious songcraft that lingers over the pen of many a Canadian writer (to that point, Ariana recently took part in a Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert, where she handily proved her mettle with his material). Her lyricism dovetails nicely with the bold back beats, the twang of her dad’s six-string banjo, the slightly lonesome sound of her voice in the pining songs, and the depth of her themes.
To Make It Make Sense is a catchy, often very singable, sometimes surprisingly deep first album that shows the significant promise of this young artist. Which is why Ariana’s been able to work with the likes of Kevin Breit, Gary Craig, and Anne Lindsay, among the many gifted musicians who grace this CD.
It may be hard to say exactly To Make It Make Sense is from a genre point of view, but it is NOT the work of pop princess—and that’s a relief. You need to come from somewhere to get somewhere. Ariana Gillis has a bright future ahead of her, whatever the look and feel she adopts—as long as her roots are showing. - Roots Music Canada


"A blast of energy and fearless confidence..."

"A blast of energy and fearless confidence, Ariana Gillis sings and strums and stomps and leaves ripples behind her wherever she goes. With an impressive vocal range and a firm grasp on the craft of songwriting, Ariana is unstoppable. In 2009, she won the Canadian Folk Music Award for Young Performer of the Year and she has received multiple Niagara Music Awards. There is an intense, driving force behind her folk/pop sound, and a deeper story behind every song."
- Andy Frank, Roots Music Canada


"Ariana Gillis at Black Sheep Inn - Wakefield QC - March 5, 2011"

Superbly aided and supported by two male musicians, a marvelously soft percussionist and her father, a superb player of the six-string banjo or the dobro, Ariana Gillis knocked it out of the park. She's got everything, songwriting skills, natural stage presence, great melodic sense, and that rarest of qualities: charisma.

The crowd was a little sparse but chatty; after all, it was Saturday night. She was on stage, alone at the time, and she just started singing in a fairly sharp and strong voice for about two bars; the next two were softer, and damned if she didn’t get the whole crowd to hush, including one particularly loud table.

It didn’t take long to realise that she has all the qualities to become as big as she would like to be.

She’s got everything, her voice can be big or small, acidic or more rounded, strong or soft, and she’s got taste. She doesn’t “go for effect”, doesn’t seem particularly me-me-me. She may be all of 21, I'm not sure. Hell, she's touring with her dad!

Go see her and get wowed. A great musical trio. - Posted on Mar 07, 2011 on CBC by Benoit


Discography

To Make It Make Sense 2009

Forget Me Not 2012

http://www.arianagillis.com/images/forget_me_not_ariana.jpg

Photos

Bio

Not every young Canadian singer-songwriter gets to launch her CD with a live appearance on the US satellite station Sirius XM. The show was hosted by Dave Marsh, author of more than 25 books on rock and roll and known as the dean of American rock writers who admits to being her biggest fan.

But thats how Ariana Gillis , from St. Catharines, Ontario who turned 21 earlier this month began to premiere her second album, Forget Me Not. Earlier, Marsh had played a track John and the Monster from an advance copy of the CD; one response was a phone call from an enthusiastic listener who wanted to know more about the unusual song, and the singer. The mystery caller was Elton Johns lyricist and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.

Later, he wrote to the young singers father, musician and producer David Gillis: Im staggered by how good she is. There is not much that impresses me these days but after hearing her available tracks I can honestly say shes the single most exciting thing Ive heard in a very long time.


Forget Me Not, like her first CD, To Make It Make Sense, is a collection of Arianas original songs. Original not only indicates that she wrote or co-wrote all the songs, but that the subjects are unusual. Not many artists (regardless of their age) write songs about creatures in a lake with healing powers, people in adjacent graves chatting with each other, the annual slaughter of dolphins in a cove in Japan, or young sailors forced to walk the plank.

Chosen as Young Performer of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards, she is fulfilling the promise many people have seen since she put out her first EP when she was 17.

Unusually, her chief collaborator is her father, David Gillis, himself an award-winning guitarist with his own solo career. He produced the new CD, co-wrote several of the songs, and plays banjo and/or guitar on every track.

Best summary came from Andy Frank, who helps create the Roots Music Canada website: A blast of energy and fearless confidence, Ariana Gillis sings and strums and stomps and leaves ripples behind her wherever she goes. With an impressive vocal range and a firm grasp on the craft of songwriting, Ariana is unstoppable There is an intense, driving force behind her folk/pop sound, and a deeper story behind every song.

Band Members