About Camila Meza
A fluidly inventive Chilean jazz guitarist and singer/songwriter, Camila Meza makes ambitious, lyrical music that combines progressive fusion, post-bop, and Latin American folk traditions. It's a sophisticated sound born out of her love for artists like Pat Metheny, Milton Nascimento, and Joni Mitchell. Meza first garnered attention with her 2007 debut, Skylark, before moving to New York. Since then, she has collaborated on projects with other boundary-pushing artists like Ryan Keberle, Aaron Goldberg, and Fabian Almazan. Applying her distinctive approach to jazz and pop standards, as well as her own emotive original pieces, Meza has garnered widespread acclaim for her genre-crossing albums, including 2009's Retrato, 2016's Traces, and 2019's ebulliently orchestral Ambar.
Born in 1985 in Santiago, Meza grew up in a creative, intellectually minded family the daughter of two journalists. Her father, who also played piano, encouraged her to play music. She also drew early inspiration from her brother, a drummer, who introduced her to prog-rock. By her teens, Meza was taking guitar lessons and listening to music by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, as well as singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell. At 15, she formed a rock band with friends from school. She eventually discovered jazz, especially the genre-bending work of Pat Metheny, who quickly became a major influence. Soon, Meza was studying the styles of other influential guitarists like George Benson, John McLaughlin, and John Scofield. She also developed a deep passion for Latin American music traditions, including artists like Victor Jara, Milton Nascimento, and Mercedes Sosa. Along with playing live shows, she studied with noted Chilean artists Jorge Vidal and Jorge Díaz. In 2007, she released her debut solo album, Skylark.
In 2009, Meza moved to New York City to attend the New School, where she further honed her skills studying with guitarists Peter Bernstein, Vic Juris, and Steve Cardenas. That same year, she released her sophomore album as leader, Retrato, which featured her original songs, alongside covers by Luiz Bonfa, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell, and more. It was around this time that she also began to branch out, developing close creative relationships with artists like Ryan Keberle, Lucas Pino, Fabian Almazan, and others. An EP, Prisma, arrived in 2013 and found Meza working with pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Pablo Menares, drummer Clarence Penn, and saxophonist John Ellis.
In 2016, Meza made her Sunnyside debut with Traces, singing in English and Spanish. The album featured contributions by Shai Maestro, Matt Penman, Kendrick Scott, Sachal Vasandani, and others. It earned Meza two Independent Music Awards, including Best Adult Contemporary Album and Best Latin song for "Para Volar." She returned in 2019 with the orchestral-string-inflected Ambar on Sony Masterworks, which again found her playing her own songs, alongside selections by Antônio Carlos Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, and others. ~ Matt Collar
BORNJuly 22, 1985