Aruna Beth Abrams (born January 16, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter, DJ, producer, and pianist. She is best known as a vocalist in dance music since 2007 and a DJ/producer since 2011. She resides in Los Angeles, California.
Early life and career
Aruna grew up in Flemington, New Jersey, the daughter of Beatrice and Larry S. Abrams, a clinical pharmaceutical researcher. Her name was suggested by her Indian godfather and means “sunrise” in Hindi. She began studying classical piano and later, jazz improvisation, and left her hometown to study piano as well as film scoring and electronic music production at the Berklee College of Music, Boston. In 1996 she worked on the ‘Portal’ project together with members of the progressive metal band Cynic, providing vocals and keyboards. This material was eventually released in 2012 as The Portal Tapes, under the Cynic name. At Berklee, Abrams was taught music production, audio editing and sounds design, while she graduated in 1999.
Growing up, Abrams listened mostly to 70s and 80s pop, which changed when ‘my tastes started diversifying and I got into hair, thrash and death metal as a teen’. She first began performing as an acoustic singer-songwriter at local coffee houses in Boston, and recorded the three-song demo Broken Circles, produced by Alain Mallet and mixed by Kevin Killen. In 2000 she was selected as the opening act for the Boston show of The Girls Room Tour showcase.
After graduating college, Abrams 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 number 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 vocals and songwriting career
In 2006, she was discovered through MySpace by her manager Stuart Squires, who began pitching her for dance collaborations. Six months later, Abrams was approached by The Thrillseekers to feature her vocals on a track. The collaboration was her introduction into the EDM world, supplying the track “Waiting Here For You”. She has continued to work with other trance acts, including Cosmic Gate, ATB, Ronski Speed and Roger Shah. Together with Mark Eteson she recorded the single “Let Go”, which was released on October 25, 2010 through the Anjunabeats label and later included on theVolume 8 compilation from the same label. Two years later the single “Live Forever” with Ferry Corsten was released and featured on the album WKND. She also appeared in her first video for the song. In 2013 she went on to collaborate with Armin van Buuren on “Won’t Let You Go” for his artist album Intense. On these collaborations she noted that ‘writing my own lyrics and melodies is and has always been a non-negotiable. I just can’t sell a song I didn’t write in the quite same way’.
In the beginning of 2009, she 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 first played by Armin on A State of Trance #573.
In 2011, Abrams decided to move into DJing, and has credited Myon & Shane 54 as the inspiration for her to make the transition. She started her own radio show, The Hot List in September 2011on 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 time in November 2013, doing a guest mix for their 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, 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 at Exchange LA with Myon & Shane54. She has performed live vocals and DJ sets internationally.
Abrams moved to the 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. In 2014, Abrams released Amsterdam Enhanced together with AWD. In November 2016, she released the single “Ready To Go” with English music producer Rameses B featuring American vocalist Kingdøms on Monstercat.