Vocalist Maria Schafer warmly welcomes jazz listeners swiftly into the 21st century with her polished, soaring vocal style and easy, empathetic charm. Driven by an inquisitive passion for self-discovery through song, Ms. Schafer's sensitive and uncontrived approach to jazz "stands out among the current crop of jazz singers (Jefferson Public Radio)" and is "just the right tonic for jaded jazz ears (Midwest Record)." Instinctually articulate with a remarkable ear, she is an adventurous songwriter and composer in her own right and mixes influences from jazz, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and folk music realms while also serving as a clever custodian of the Great American Songbook with fresh arrangements of silver-worn standards.
By writing lyrics from her own experiences and engaging directly and intimately with her audience, Maria seeks to convey messages of empowerment, endless curiosity, and physical embodiment of joy through melodies and poetry spanning the jubilant to the vulnerable. A cultivated mixture of Joni Mitchell's introspection, Dianne Reeves' vocal explorations, and Betty Carter's unabashed approach to the truth all serve key roles in both Ms. Schafer's originals and interpreted songs. Her current recording project set to arrive in Spring 2024 will be her first to feature a majority of original songs, offering catchy new standards and beautifully haunting, heart-bearing tunes exploring the vulnerability of love and the catharsis of reveling in lessons learned from failure. Maria spent two years on the road as the Girl Singer with the historic swing big band The Glenn Miller Orchestra, touring landmark venues in Japan, Canada, and the USA. Maria has also performed in Australia, Spain, and Latvia, and won Outstanding Soloist awards at the Reno Jazz Festival and Monterey Next Generation Festival while serving as soprano in Downbeat Award-winning vocal jazz ensembles.