Q&A: The Marías’ lead singer talks diverse influences, experiences on tour

Nikhil Agrawal

At the start of The Marías’ Austin show on April 28, a woman enthusiastically handed lead singer María an overflowing bouquet of roses, one example of the deep love fans have for this LA-based psychedelic soul outfit.

The Marías were formed by María and her boyfriend Josh Conway on drums, accompanied by guitarist Jesse Perlman, bassist Carter Lee and Edward James on keys. The band is currently on tour following the release of their second EP, Superclean Vol. II in 2018.

The Daily Texan spoke with María, the Puerto Rican-born and Atlanta-raised frontwoman of the band, to discuss their creative process and fan base.

The Daily Texan: What pushed you to pursue music?

María: I had a friend who had moved from Atlanta to LA and she said that you need to move out here. I had my bags packed and drove out there and within three months I met Josh and then we started collaborating and then dating. The first few songs we wrote were actually to pitch for film and TV.

DT: How have your backgrounds influenced your music?

M: I grew up in a hodgepodge of things. My parents are Latin. We listened to a lot of Latin music and regularly go back to Puerto Rico and Spain. There was reggaeton from Puerto Rico. I also grew up in Atlanta that introduced different things like country, hip-hop and R&B. Going to church added gospel music. And then Josh was brought up with the Beach Boys and the Beatles.

DT: What decides whether a song is in Spanish or English?

M: It’s definitely a natural process. We don’t wake up one day and decide to write a song in Spanish or a song in English. The language comes out based on the feeling of the song, what comes out of my mouth based on the melody. Sometimes writing or listening to a song in Spanish just hits you in a different spot.

DT: I heard that the song “ABQ” was written on the road. How is that writing process different compared to at home?

M: It makes a huge difference. For me personally, it’s not easy. We have some really late nights and are practically exhausted all the time. I feel anxious on the road because we’re not able to be writing, creating or conceptualizing like at home. All that frustration and anxiety went into “ABQ.”

DT: Are there moments when you see fans being impacted by your music?

M: At shows and on social media, people tell us really intimate and personal stories about how our music has impacted their lives, how our music helps them through a tough time in their (lives). That, to me, makes a lot of things like being on the road worth it.

DT: What do you think about your music evokes these strong feelings?

M: It’s not a conscious thing we try to do. Josh and I love each other a lot, and maybe that love could be found in the music. We are very comfortable with each other, and what we create together might transmit that comfort and love. Often, we write what we want to listen to and a lot of the time I do want to feel relaxed and good and understood.