Aruna Abrams (born January 16, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, DJ, producer and pianist. She is best known as the vocalist of dance music songs since 2007 and resides in Los Angeles, California.
Early life and education:
As a child growing up in Flemington, New Jersey, Aruna began studying classical piano and later, jazz improvisation. At the age of 17, she left her hometown to pursue a degree studying jazz piano with a double major in film scoring and electronic music production at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Two years later, she left school and departed Boston for Miami after receiving an offer to work with the progressive metal band Cynic. She recorded two EPs with Cynic over a two-year period, which were released years later under the name Portal (later re-released in 2012 as a full-length album called The Portal Tapes under the Cynic name), and returned to Berklee to complete her studies and graduate. It was at Berklee that Aruna first learned how to produce music, edit audio and design sounds.
Early career and influences:
Aruna's early work has been compared to artists such as Imogen Heap, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Jon Brooks, John Mayer, Paula Cole, Shawn Colvin, and Jeff Buckley. She first began performing as a singer-songwriter at local coffee houses, her style at the time being described as organic and acoustic, with a strong pop sensibility. Shortly after graduating from Berklee and still living in Boston, Aruna recorded Broken Circles, a three song demo EP. Broken Circles was produced by Alain Mallet and mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Kevin Killen.
After graduating college, Aruna relocated to Los Angeles. In 2004, she recorded and self-released her first full-length album, Running Red Lights. While pursuing a career as a pop singer-songwriter, Aruna saw some early success when a few of her songs were featured on the MTV shows, Laguna Beach and The Hills. An even bigger break came when she co-wrote a song for Miley Cyrus entitled "I Got Nerve" for the 2006 #1 Billboard album, the Hannah Montana: Season One soundtrack.
EDM singing and songwriting career:
In 2006, Aruna started working with her present manager Stuart Squires, who began pitching her for dance collaborations. Six months later, Aruna was approached by The Thrillseekers to feature her vocals on a track. The collaboration proved to be her unofficial introduction into the EDM world, as the track "Waiting Here For You" received much radio support and was praised by critics, peers and fans. Aruna went on to collaborate with other prominent trance acts including Cosmic Gate, ATB, Ronski Speed, Roger Shah and others until eventually releasing her own artist single in 2010. "Let Go" debuted on world-renowned trance label Anjunabeats' Volume 8 compilation and became the second most downloaded song from the album. Two years later her single "Live Forever" with Ferry Corsten was released and was #48 on Sirius XM BPM's Top 50 Most Played Tracks of 2012, peaked at #2 on the UK Upfront Top 40 Club chart and held the #1 spot on the Beatport trance charts for several consecutive weeks. In 2013 she went on to collaborate with Armin van Buuren on "Won't Let You Go" for his artist album Intense, which reached #1 on iTunes in 20 countries the day of its release.
In the beginning of 2009, Aruna was contacted by Myon (Mario Egeto) of DJ duo Myon & Shane 54 to work together on a track. After releasing "Helpless," both parties had ideas for track collaborations that didn't fit into their own artist personas, so the trio formed a new side project that they dubbed Velvetine.
"Safe" was the first original track released by Velvetine in 2010 on Anjunabeats Volume 7 and was warmly received by fans and by Armin van Buuren, who crafted an intro mix for it and a mashup version with his track, "Face to Face". Velvetine's second single "The Great Divide" was released in 2012, reached #1 on the Beatport trance and dubstep charts and became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter when it was first played by Armin on A State of Trance #573.
Aruna has credited Myon & Shane 54 as the inspiration for her to make the transition into DJing. Aruna's own radio show, The Hot List, began in September 2011 and currently airs bi-weekly every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 1pm EST/ 7pm CET on DI.fm.
In August 2012, she became the first solo female act to do a guest mix for Above & Beyond's Trance Around the World radio show. Afterwards, The Hot List reached #14 on the iTunes Top 200 Music Podcasts chart. Touted by Tony McGuiness of Above & Beyond as "one of the most talented singer/songwriters around at the moment". Aruna joined Above & Beyond for a second round in November 2013, this time doing a guest mix for their newly titled weekly podcast, Group Therapy.
In 2012, Aruna performed on the "A State of Pink" stage at Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance 550 festival in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. A year later, she accompanied Armin with live vocals during his set at the Hollywood Palladium in LA. She has also performed live at Nocturnal Wonderland, Avalon Hollywood alongside Ferry Corsten, and a sold out show at Exchange LA with Myon & Shane54. Other appearances that have featured her live vocals and DJ sets have taken place in Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Australia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Cyprus, Hungary, El Salvador, Lebanon, and Egypt.
Aruna moved to UK-based record label Enhanced Recordings in 2013. Her solo track "Reason to Believe" was her first single with the label and reached the #3 position on the Beatport Trance chart in August 2013. Remixes to "Reason to Believe" peaked at #7 and #9 in the Glitch Hop and Chillout charts, the latter a mix she self-produced. She has cited having studied privately with DJ/producer 7 Skies and has alluded to delving deeper into producing both remixes and original tracks in the future.