Tori Amos, Paula Cole, Fiona Apple & Sarah McLachlan reinvigorated the piano in the ’90s pop/rock world. Now, Meredith Blis is drawing comparisons to these stars in the new millennium as she blazes her own path in the tradition of such confessional singer/songwriters.
During a summer road trip in 2002, the one-time New Yorker traveled to Taos, N.M., where she fell in love with the mountains, the open sky, the sunsets and the creative energy of the small settlement an hour north of Santa Fe. She returned the next summer and remained for nine months to record her debut CD, “A Purple Kind of Blue,” which won the NM Music Award for Best Pop CD and was nominated for best vocal performance. The beautiful mountain town that she now calls home is where she runs her Purple Sky Records label and recorded her new CD with Grammy Award-winning producer Larry Mitchell at Insatiable Studios Southwest. This new album, titled “Let it Rain,” was released in spring of 2009.
The title track of this record has already won The Song of The Year Competition as a Finalist in the Adult Contemporary Category. The Album was nominated for Best Pop CD at the New Mexico Music Awards 2009 where she also had the honor of playing her song, “Fade to Dust” which received nominations for both Best Song & Best Arrangement of an Original Composition. Meredith was also the unanimous winner of the Los Angeles Music Network (LAMN) Jam- a live performance competition sponsored by NARIP (national association of music professionals) in March of 2008.
One of the CD’s tracks, “The Birds and the Bees,” discusses the issue of sexual assault in America, and the chorus details statistics of this pervasive problem. “I feel very strongly about getting this song out there for education and awareness, as awareness equals prevention,” she says. “Furthermore, my hope is that the music will bring healing to survivors.” Meredith has hosted 2 Benefit Concerts for RAINN (Nyc & Taos) and part of the proceeds from “Let It Rain,” will go directly to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) 24/7 campaign for financial aid to keep its crisis hotlines open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Music has been integral to Meredith’s life since day one. Her father, Milton Sincoff, was a longtime executive at Arista Records, and her mother played piano. Her grandmother studied voice and piano at the Juilliard School, and her grandfather owned a music store. Meredith tinkered at the keys as a girl, but her heart was set on being a dancer. However, two knee surgeries forced her to re-evaluate her career, and she switched her creative expression from dancer to musician. She began focusing on music during her senior year at Sarah Lawrence College, and after graduating she continued her education by studying classical composition and music theory at the Juilliard School.
Armed with a nimble, jazz-tinged piano and a voice that leaps from a smooth croon to a powerful siren, Meredith’s melodic-piano-driven-pop-meets-blues is a refreshing change of pace. “I don’t always write a song in terms of what’s going on in the moment, but for them to be real they have to come from a real place inside of you,” she explains. “There’s a subtlety to my style, and I’m sneaky in that I use metaphors, which I think lets people interpret things through their own experience.”
Meredith developed into a seasoned artist by touring in the Southwest and by inhabiting New York’s live-performance scene, gigging at such venues as the Bitter End, the Cutting Room, Arlene’s Grocery, Cafe Vivaldi and CBGB’s Gallery. She also worked for as a talent buyer, promoting jazz and independent artists through the I AM (Independent, Alternative Music) Showcase, which she founded. In the spring of 2006 Meredith also single-handedly created a new jazz venue on the Lower East Side called Jazz on the Bowery at the Mannahatta lounge, where she worked with some of New York’s top jazz artists.
Having recognized her passion for helping others in her role as a certified Kundalini yoga teacher, she has worked with ‘Yoga for Youth’ as a volunteer yoga teacher for troubled and incarcerated youth, as well as a volunteer for Musicians On Call. Meredith has also promoted concerts for both the World Hunger Year Artists Against Hunger and Poverty initiative and a series of shows that raised a substantial amount of money for New Orleans Musicians and the ASPCA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. By Christa Titus