If you had the radio on at all last summer, you would have heard the voice of Kristina Maria blasting through your speakers with songs like the hit Co-Pilot and Let’s Play, both of which have sold close to 100,000 units in digital sales. This success is no surprise, as Maria’s passion for the industry is evident, and her vocal chops are both powerful and highly technical - in other words, this girl can sing. Born in Ottawa, she has become one of the country’s fastest-rising music stars, spurred on by the success of her debut album “Tell The World”. She spent 18 months recording all over the world, from Sweden and Anguilla, to NYC, Montréal, and Miami, with music industry legends who have worked with icons like Madonna, Céline Dion, Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, and Britney Spears. As if that wasn’t enough, Kristina Maria has grabbed a record deal in France and scouts from the American record industry have certainly taken notice of this Canadian gem. They may have taken notice, but when she’s on billboards all over the world, we’ll always be proud that she’s a Canadian girl.
When did you realize that music would be your destiny?
I know that it's cliché, but I feel like I always knew music was my destiny. I remember belting out ballads from Céline and Whitney at the age of four and imagining I was performing in front of thousands of people.
Could you describe the feeling of releasing your first album?
It's difficult to describe the feeling I felt when I released my first album. I felt mixed emotions of nervousness, pride, and "OMG this is a dream come true!!" Vito and I worked very hard to perfect it and we were so proud of the outcome!
What was the process of creating your debut album like?
The process of creating my debut album was an amazing journey! My manager Vito Luprano introduced me to the most talented people to work with. I learned so much and grew as an artist.
What was the first thing you did when you heard one of your singles on national radio for the first time?
The first time I heard my single '"Let's Play" on the radio, I was in my car and thought it was my CD playing. I had to press the eject button to believe it was actually coming from the radio! Then came the freakin’ out part.
If you can, could you describe your album Tell The World in one word?
To describe my album Tell The World in one word it would be 'heartfelt', because it really is 'a day in the life of Kristina Maria'. I co-wrote 11 songs out of 14 and truly believe I poured my heart out. It's songs that most people can relate to.
You worked with countless talented people on the album; if you could work with anyone you haven’t yet, who would it be and why?
If I could work with anyone I haven't yet, it would be Bruno Mars. That man has such an angelic voice, he serenades me every single time I hear him!
You co-wrote 11 out of the 14 songs on the album; how would you describe your typical writing process?
There is no way of describing a typical writing process because it changes with every song. Sometimes you come into the studio with lyrics already written, a melody done, an idea, or a cool beat. Then the music making begins.
What was it like traveling all over the world while creating your album?
Traveling all over the world while creating my album was a great inspiration. It brought so much to the album by creating an American, Canadian, and European feel to it! Also I looooove travelling so I was like, “Hellllllo Sweden!”
What part do your life experiences or feelings play when you are writing your songs?
A lot of my life experiences and feelings play a big part when I am writing my songs. Most songs reflect a chapter in my life that I want to share with the world.
Do you have a favourite song amongst those that you have written?
All of my songs are my babies so it's very hard to pick a favourite amongst them. I do catch myself singing or listening to one more than the other, but it really depends of my mood. Today I'm totally feeling “You Don't Have The Right To Cry”.
Is there something you wish to communicate with your music?
I don’t have a specific message to communicate with my music, but I do hope to write songs that people can relate to. Music is therapy and I truly believe people can heal by listening to lyrics that describe how they feel. Whether it is a fun night out or a heartbreaking situation; we’ve all been there.
Pop songs, ballads, dance songs… do you have a preference?
Picking a single genre is too tough! They can all be my favourite depending on my mood.
What motivates you?
What keeps me motivated is waking up every day and knowing I'm living my dream. I get the opportunity to do what I love and thrive off of learning from my experiences in an effort to better myself as an artist.
What is it that you like most about your job (aside from the fact that it’s a pretty fantastic job)?
What I like the most is performing on stage! The adrenaline gives me a rush that I love! Being able to be myself and sharing the moment with my fans feels so liberating. Also, writing with other talented artists; it gives me a freedom of speech.
If you could jet off to anywhere in the world to play a show, where would it be?
If I could jet off to anywhere in the world to play a show it would be in Agadir, Morocco for the "Tolerance" show. I performed there last year with a bunch of other artists in front of 300,000 people by the beach. It was for a great cause that encouraged world peace. What a rush!
Can you tell us about the experience of performing on the Céline Dion Special in Paris?
Performing on the Céline Dion Special in Paris was a true honour. I used to sing her songs recreationally as a child but never in a million years would I have imagined myself on stage performing in her honour. As if that wasn’t enough, I also have the pleasure of working with Céline’s former executive producer and artistic director, Vito Luprano, who is my partner in my artistic journey.
Who were and are your musical influences?
Growing up I had many musical influences such as Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin (the list is too long!). I would listen to a different variety of music and try to imitate the notes that sounded beautiful to my ears!
Besides your voice, do you play any instruments?
Unfortunately I do not play any instruments other than my voice! I've always dreamt of playing the guitar. It's never too late to learn!
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself being successful at doing what I love and being happy!