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Camila Meza makes Paste '12 New Jazz Artists to Watch in 2019'

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As the jazz community bids farewell to some revered elders who passed away in 2018 (Cecil Taylor, Randy Weston, Nancy Wilson, Bob Dorough, Sonny Fortune, Hugh Masekela), some intriguing new faces are emerging on the scene, bringing fresh visions and expanding the boundaries of the music in the process. Here are a dozen to watch for in 2019:

The Chilean-born musician Camila Meza is a bona fide triple threat-consummate guitarist, captivating singer, accomplished songwriter. Arriving to New York in 2009 from her native Santiago, Chile, Meza studied at The New School with guitar greats Peter Bernstein, Vic Juris and Steve Cardenas and soon began making a name for herself on the scene, bringing what The New York Times' Nate Chinen described as, "an appealing combination of lightness and depth to all the material, singing in a bright, clear voice against the agile stir of a first-rate band" to her performances around town. Inspired by American jazz guitarists George Benson and Pat Metheny, South American folkloric music, Brazilian music and American popular songs, she debuted in 2007 with Skylark then had her Stateside debut with 2016's Traces, which showcased her great storytelling (in English and Spanish) as well as her remarkable dexterity on voice and guitar. Traces won two Independent Music Awards for Best Adult Contemporary Album and Best Latin Song ("Para Volar"), and established her as a Rising Star in both guitar and female vocal categories in the esteemed DownBeat Critics Poll. She also performs as a member of Ryan Keberle's Catharsis and Fabian Almazan's Rhizome and leads her expanded jazz-plus-strings octet, The Nectar Orchestra, which is showcased on her upcoming Sony Music Masterworks release Ambar, a new project that elevates Camila's musical storytelling to another level. "Music is my driving force, the expression I feel the most resemblant of our essence as human beings," says the Brooklyn resident. "I've found my deepest moments of connection, reflection and joy through music and I hope to bring the same to the ones who listen." And while she may be deeply connected to the jazz tradition, Meza's appeal goes beyond jazz. "I'm always looking for new music," she explains, "and I'm always listening to whatever I feel attracted to." (Top photo by Chris Drukker)

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