Born in Ecuador on July 26, 1976, Maria Tejada was nourished from a very young age by the richness and ethnical diversity of Latin American music and culture.
Maria’s artistic sensibility and vocation were developed thanks to the influence from her grandfather, the painter Leonardo Tejada, who profoundly marked her childhood and adolescence with his presence and example. It all began in 1980 when she started taking classical ballet lessons at the National Dance Academy in Quito. She spent ten years there, dividing her time between Elementary School and the Dance Academy.
In 1990 Maria discovered her passion for singing. She initiated her musical studies by taking singing lessons to improve her vocal technique with Professor Blanca Houser, a well-known Chilean soprano singer living in Ecuador. At only 15 years old and under the direction of Maria Norero, she became the youngest member of the “Juan Sebastian Bach” choir in Quito. Years later she continued her studies with tenor Alberto Negrón, who introduced her to the music of Ella Fitzgerald. Discovering Jazz was a decisive ingredient in Maria’s musical life. She developed a wonder and passion for popular music and improvisation. Her musical background was further enriched when she heard the repertoire of Antonio Carlos Jobim brilliantly performed by João Gilberto. Brazilian Popular Music became without any doubt, one of her major influences.
From that point on she became part of several Ecuadorian bands such as Dama Solitaria and Karma where she worked with Carlos Arboleda López. In 1996 she collaborated with Carlos and Paulina Rendón in the “Festival OTI de la canción” (the Latin American equivalent of the Eurovision competition). They won third place for the song “La era del Espanto”. Maria studied at San Francisco de Quito University where, in 1998, she obtained a BA degree with honours in Marketing, as well as a specialization in music from the University’s Jazz Department, under the direction of the sax player Esteban Molina.
From 1999 onwards, Maria decided to devote herself entirely to music. She left Ecuador for France where she met the cuban singer Dalia Negra; thanks to her, she explored some Caribean traditional styles. Maria also met Donald Régnier. They were mutually bound by their passion for Brazilian music and culture. With him, Maria rediscovered and deepened the study of the interpretation of traditional latin american rythms while admiring, as if it was for the first time, the beauty of songs from her homeland. Thanks to this music she confirmed her origins and cultural identity.
In 2003, under the direction of Thierry Peala, a jazz singer very well known in France, Maria earned the Certificate that culminates her musical studies: “Certificat de Fin d´Etudes Musicales (CFEM)”, awarded by the Jazz Department of the National Conservatory of the Metz Region.
2006 is a year of great success for Maria. She obtained a gold medal in vocal jazz with special mention by the jury’s unanimous decision. Maria also participated in the International Duo Contest “Voice & Guitar” in Völklingen, Germany, winning a third place (the prize was given by a jury of professionals recognized in the European Community). Maria finishes this year with a more personal musical project; she records her first album, Fábula (Cristal Records). The songs in this album were written in collaboration with Donald Régnier. Maria becomes also a popular singing teacher at the Thionville Conservatory. She performs her own music in France, Germany and Luxembourg.
In 2007, Maria starts her new record project; she travels to Ecuador and studies traditional African-Ecuadorian music with Lingberg Valencia, Papá Roncón (one of the Fathers of Marimba in Esmeraldas) and Herodita Huila. She obtains values information from Pablo Guerrero and from his book “Encyclopedia of Ecuadorian Music”. She decides the repertoire for her new album, working closely with Donald Régnier. They decide to make the recording between Ecuador and France, rejoining 41 musicians for the project, all good friends from Ecuador, France and Latin America.
In July 2008, the CD, titled “Al cantar tus flores”, is released in France. The project was sponsored by “Ministerio de Cultura del Ecuador” and by the private construction company “Andrade Gutiérrez” in Ecuador. For these reasons, in october 2008, Maria decides to go back and live in Ecuador in order to promote this new work in Latin America.