“Merenia Gillies is so damn impressive ... she should be at the forefront of the Australian music scene. She can switch from seductive soul siren to feisty MC in a heartbeat.” 3D World
Drawing on her Maori, Welsh and Roma Gypsy heritage Merenia Gillies is a powerful Latin Soul and Club diva who sings in five languages.
Merenia as a member of the critically acclaimed Barefoot Divas, who enjoyed a highly successful sold out season as part of the Black Capital program in this years 2012 Sydney festival and also toured in March 2012 with the same show as part of the NZ International Arts festival also to critical acclaim and a sold out season.
In 2011 Merenia was guest vocalist with internationally respected musical icon Roy Ayers on the Sydney leg of his Australian tour.
Mischievously bending the rules when it comes to her music and performance Merenia seduces with a blend of Afro Latin Soul, Deep Funk, Jazz and Flamenco elements. Merenia is signed to ABC Music Publishing and her ability as a performer and a writer makes her one of the Sydney music scene’s most unique female live performers.
At 17 she was the recipient of the NZ Recording Industry ”Most Promising Female Vocalist Award” and has performed her own material throughout Asia and the Pacific and worked extensively with groups from different cultures.
A few highlights include- being a panel member at the Inaugural Women’s Storian Music Conference in Vanuatu, delivering writing and performance workshops to young women in remote islands and herself performing at the Festival Napuan in Vanuatu. Merenia performed for 9 months in China with Australian based Latin Super group Son Veneno. In addition to many other international engagements in Hong Kong, NZ, Australia and the Pacific, in 2011 she toured successfully to Sri Lanka as a member of an Afro Brazilian Jazz ensemble. Merenia has also worked with and mentored many Culturally Linguistically Diverse groups producing performances and recorded material with Southern Sudanese, Liberian, Samoan, Tongan, Kurdish, Filipino and Hispanic groups.
Her first solo album “Libertine” (2009) was well received and did well synchronized across several major Australian Television shows. Merenia also had compositions in the Australian film “Cedar boys” and in NZ’s critically acclaimed “Once were warriors”.
In Sydney she performs with her own band Merenia & the Way, Hybrid Latin band Reyes de la Onda (comprised of members of Watussi, Mi Tierra, the Strides and Son Veneno), she also collaborates regularly with Afro Brazilian jazz project Samba Mundi. Merenia also injects a heavy-hitting dose of female power and class to Latin Block Party, an all star Sydney Line up that recently supported Los Van Van (Cuba’s biggest musical export) at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
Merenia Has also worked extensively in the Club Genre collaborating and performing with the likes of the All good Funk Alliance (US) KateMonroe (Aus), Omegaman, Love Tattoo, Rephrase, Groove Junkies (US), Russ Dewberry (UK), Richard Earnshaw (UK), Sound Conducterz (NZ) and Club Luxury
Merenia is currently working on her next album.