Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Maria Neckam has made a name for herself as a highly unique and versatile voice. She has been praised by the press -- from the New York Times to NPR's "A Blog Supreme," and Le Monde in France -- as a "trailblazer," and "natural wonder."
Her latest songs are the result of a somewhat dramatic and life-changing breakup a few years back. Amidst the chaos and confusion, the Austrian-born singer and composer realized that this was an opportunity. A chance to start over, start fresh, and this time do it exactly as it felt right, from the heart.
This new beginning marked a departure from a career of smart, complex jazz-influenced compositions, into the world of indie rock. Songs with a unique edge that talk about what it's like to let go of safe solutions and follow your dreams, all on your own.
Maria is preparing the release of her fourth album in early 2018, produced by Jon Cowherd (Brian Blade's Fellowship, Meshell Ndegéocello) and Steve Wall (Lucius, Motherfeather).
She has also lent her voice to countless other artists' projects, such as: four-time Grammy award winner Erykah Badu, composer Ted Hearne and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, HipHop producer Mesta Bish, Indie Rock artist David Bronson and Drum/Tabla virtuoso Dan Weiss. She has released two EP's with her electro side-project/alter ego Milán, which have been remixed by many DJs and producers, amongst them NYC-based Kissey and Pax Humana. Her award winning music video for '25' by animator Nina Pfeifenberger was screened at Cannes and London's International Shortfilm Festivals.
Selected press quotes:
“...clear-water tones.” – Ben Ratliff, The New York Times
“... a jazz singer of composure and purpose.” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times
“...a vocalist whose compositions are informed by unconventional phrasing and a striving for serenity.” - Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR’s a blog supreme
“a natural wonder” — Sylvain Siclier, Le Monde, France
“a valiant trailblazer” — Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
"[Her] fecund creativity emerges from a genre-blurring sensibility that spans jazz, pop, rock, opera, musical theater and sacred hymns... She has found eager and superbly gifted copilots. Led by Neckam's crystalline soprano, they travel to some remarkable places, many not of this earth, several influenced by her conversion to Buddhism.... Every Neckam voyage is a wild one." — Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes
“Neckam functions as a coequal instrumentalist and deft storyteller, using a clear fluid voice to convey raw emotions with philosophical detachment. She dresses the stories with an impressive array of compositional and orchestrative strategies. Some evoke the autobiographical clarity of Joni Mitchell. Three duos with cellist Mariel Roberts nod to the art songs of Mahler and Schoenberg. Another three pieces frame poems by Hafez, Pablo Neruda and Rainer Maria Rilke. Others refract the rhythmic, harmonic and performative pathways established by stars such as Brad Mehldau and Luciana Souza. Whether rendering a lyric or a wordless melody, Neckam unfailingly follows her line, traversing the tricky time feels with confidence and grace.” — Ted Panken, DownBeat
“Lovely.” – John Schaefer, New Sounds, WNYC
“...idiosyncratic jazz riffs and haunting pop hooks.” — Jaime Cone, New York Daily News
“It's not often that a singer like Maria Neckam comes along. Blessed with a voice that she can set free as it flutters and streaks into stellar regions of music, Neckam is still able to keep it in control. She has a natural ability for heartbreaking emotion, in much the same way that Billie Holiday did.” — All About Jazz
“It’s going to be difficult for her listeners to avoid finding her irresistibly charming.” — PopMatters
“****Four stars. Neckam writes all of her own material and delivers it in a sweet, pure soprano that belies the dark sophistication of her lyrics... A collection of finely crafted songs that range from angular downtown jazz to poetic duets with cello to catchy indy-style numbers.” — Cormac Larkin, The Irish Times
“*****Five stars. ... this album [Unison] is simply genius.“ — Jazz Forum, Poland
“Her voice becomes a precious instrument that allows her to heighten her expressiveness and to engage in dialogue with
the instrumental and rhythmical voices around her, painting scenarios of pure beauty.” — All About Jazz Italia
“The Austrian artist fuses Scandinavian, Indian and Japanese elements into a music that elates through its freshness and emotional depth.” — Jazzpodium, Germany