Written by: Jen Dan
New York City-located alt-pop singer-songwriter Sara Ontaneda recently dropped Hey Maria, a stand-alone single that lyrically makes a strong anti-violence, pro-women statement. The Ecuradorian-American Ontaneda is known for her vibrant musical hybrid style where she combines folk, R&B, and South American influences into her pop-based sound.
The award-winning artist has been studying and making music since a young age. She has studied classical and contemporary music and made a name for herself in 2015 with the release of her first EP, Marte y Júpiter. Ontaneda’s acclaimed nu-Latin debut album, Entre Espacios y Colores, followed in 2017, with 4 songs sung in English and 5 sung in Spanish. International touring and accolades are part of Ontaneda’s rewarding journey, including playing at SXSW and receiving the Best World Music award at the Richmond Film Festival this past April.
The spark for Hey Maria’s lyrics caught fire when Ontaneda was visiting her family in Ecuador. She was watching a news report on the prevalence of violence against women in South America and around the world. Against a soft and dreamily laid-back pop backdrop, Ontaneda sweetly sings her serious and stark lyrics about “Maria”, the proverbial everywoman who has been physically abused. “Maria” is subjected to unkind judgment and isn’t protected and supported – which happens so often in this harsh and unjust world.
Ontaneda laments the fact that so many women are being treated so cruelly every second of the day, and she sings this song to bring attention to their plight in the hopes of creating positive change.
Keep up with Sara Ontaneda HERE