by Kenny Kerner

Madonna. Prince. Eminem. Aruna. Well, it could be, right? This is the story of a determined singer / songwriter / pianist who found what she was looking for some 3,000 miles away from her home after trips from New Jersey to Boston to Miami then back to Boston and finally to Hollywood, California.

Aruna had been studying piano since she was five years old--and hated every minute of it during her earlier years. "I can't remember ever wanting to do anything else but music. I think for a short time I was interested in sharks and thought about becoming a marine biologist but I was never serious about it", she told the Meter. "I bought some books and watched a lot of the Discovery Channel during shark week but that's as far as it got." Aruna took private lessons on the piano until she turned 21, realizing that the better she got, the better her instructors got.

Our Passenger lived in New Jersey until she was seventeen then headed up to Boston to enroll at the Berklee School of music. She lasted two years before being enticed to head to Miami and join up with a band called Cynic on Roadrunner Records. "The plan was for me to go down to Miami and write and record their second record with them and then tour behind the new release. But it didn't quite go down that way. The band ended up getting out of their deal. We stayed together and tried to find something else but were unsuccessful. We all started getting antsy because nothing was happening and my parents were on me to go back to school, so in 1996 I went back up to Berklee to finish." Aruna graduated with a dual major in music synthesis and film scoring.

Name: Aruna
Residence: Hollywood, CA
Occupation: Singer/Songwriter
Joined Taxi: 2000
Songs Forwarded: 7
Deals: Management Deal
Blue Metallic
Entertainment Group

While hanging out in Miami trying to make ends meet, Aruna began singing in local piano bars as a way of earning some much needed cash and honing her craft as a singer and live performer. She loved the experience. So when she finished her studies at Berklee, she was convinced that a career as a writer/performer was for her. "When I graduated, I went right out and cut a record and started playing out in clubs. We tried shopping the CD a little but there wasn't much success there. I tried building a live following but found that very difficult as well. Partly because I didn't have a band and partly because Boston is a college town--great outlet for bands, not so for solo artists."

Realizing that she wasn't moving forward as she had hoped, Aruna thought about her career for a bit and decided to move--either to New York or across the country to Los Angeles. "California made the most sense from a cost standpoint and also because I was very much into nature, health and not into congestion. I drove cross-country and crashed at my friend's house for a few weeks until I could settle in. Being in Hollywood with the business in your face all the time kinda rejuvenated me. I really felt like it was time to turn up the burners."

Although Aruna had heard Michael Laskow (TAXI owner) speak at NEMO and had joined while still in Boston, now, living in Hollywood brought her even closer to the Indie A+R company and their massive yearly Road Rally. "I put together a business plan that I wanted to follow and it included finding a manager. I was hoping to go to the Rally and have something good happen for me. I needed for something to keep the engine going. I was starting to get drained. It always seemed that every six months or so, the universe throws me a little bone. I was going to the Road Rally hoping for another bone."

Aruna jumped right in and was randomly called to perform at the Open Mic Show on the opening night of the Rally. Although she was approached by many industry types after her performance, it wasn't until the next day that the artist made a solid career connection.

"The next day, I was approached by a manager named Sean Agnew from Blue Metallic Entertainment. He saw my performance on Friday but wasn't able to get to me until the next day. We managed to speak all weekend long. By the time he left Sunday night, we had already begun working together. We're doing a huge photo session, completely revamping my press package and then I'm going in to record a full-length CD. We've been working together ever since the Rally. If your music is strong, I think it's beneficial to belong to a community like TAXI. It's a really great way to get your stuff to people you wouldn't have been able to get your music to. It's worth every cent."

Aruna was one of the many TAXI passengers who knew that the company does more than merely critique songs--they make connections for you--all year long. And this, TAXI's 10th anniversary, is going to be a special time to be a member.


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— Mike Rawlins,
TAXI Member

"Thanks to you, I've recently signed a deal with a publisher in New York."
— Rene Gely,
TAXI Member