Singer and composer Maria Neckam’s unparalleled sound slips across genre lines and expectations with a youthful ease that’s rare to find. Since releasing her second album as a leader, Deeper (Sunnyside Records), in 2010, her pure, fresh vocals have been acclaimed by critics around the world. To top it off, her compositions are both complex and catchy; one moment intriguing the listener with precisely executed lyrics, the next moment dropping wildly into dissonance. Hailed as “a valiant trailblazer” by JazzTimes, she moves effortlessly from idiosyncratic jazz riffs to haunting pop hooks, blending borders with skill, well-honed technique and range.
Born in a small town outside of Vienna, Austria, Maria has always been driven by music. Growing up, she loved to sing, learned many instruments, and even performed in musical theater, with a rock band, and as a singer/songwriter. Exposure to classical and opera music heavily influenced her childhood, along with pop and rock.
Maria recorded her first album, Crossing and Blending, while studying vocal jazz at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. In that international crossroads, she eagerly soaked up Scandanavian, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian music, as well as free jazz and contemporary. She gravitated toward Indian music while studying with Sandhya Sanhana. After relocating to New York, Maria studied with Luciana Souza, Peter Eldridge, Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, Nils Vigeland and Samir Chatterjee at the Manhattan School of Music, where she received her Masters of Music in 2007.