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Maria Schafer

Maria Schafer

As the jazz singer-songwriter sweetheart of SoCal, Maria Schafer’s velveteen vocals are highlighted in her songbook melding straight ahead, modern, and latin jazz. Remarkably memorable originals, modern lyrics with intimate delivery, and fresh arrangements of beloved chestnuts from the Great American Songbook welcome audiences to an expansive and inquisitive onstage alchemy.​

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 dancing and sometimes vulnerable melodies. 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.

An ardent student of life, Maria completed science courses like anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry as a pre-nursing major but a paperwork issue put her science studies on hold, at which point she started studying classical voice, then jazz and music theory. Eventually she earned dual two-year degrees in Kinesiology & Wellness and Music from Mt. San Antonio College along with her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance and Jazz Studies (B.M). As a student musician she ventured alone to Latvia as a Finalist in the Riga Jazz Stage competition and then cut her teeth on international stages as the female vocalist touring full-time with The Glenn Miller Orchestra across North America and Japan for two years. She has further developed her musical influences through a deep love of multiple Brazilian music genres and attending workshops and camps centered around folk and world music. Ms. Schafer's two full-length albums feature new-fashioned standards and illuminating originals and can be heard on stations across North America including KKJZ (Los Angeles), KNKX (Washington), KCSU (Colorado), WDCB (Chicago, IL), and CBC Radio in Canada. 


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