“Hey Maria” by Sara Ontaneda blends Heavy Subject Matter and Smooth Soulful Vocals

Based in New York City, Sara Ontaneda is an Ecuadorian-American singer/songwriter and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Sara has been professionally releasing music since 2015 and has an incredible impression repertoire. Her newest single “Hey Maria” dropped and the end of the summer and we’re hooked. Sara continues to tour internationally and is currently working hard on new music! 

While from the outside there’s a contemporary RnB presentation to the song, there’s more than a little about “Hey Maria” that paints Sara Ontaneda under an original and authentic light. For one, the lyrics walk the line between personal and poetic really well. In addition, there’s a quickly likable and genuine tone to the vocal delivery. You can hear the subtle passion, the heart, and the connection to the words, and this works perfectly with the overall sentiment of the song itself. “Hey Maria” is about women that have been victim of violence and sheds light on how many times, justice is not available to them. There’s a whole lot of emotion here, and this is what “Hey Maria” ism every aspect works hard to portray the weight of domestic violence. Sara Ontaneda’s honesty, and her colorful, contrastingly optimistic soundscape here juxtapose one another in a wonderful way. This is an engaging and catchy tune, but with an undertone of melancholy and misunderstanding. Very well done! 

Check out “Hey Maria” here and read more with Sara in our interview below! 

Hey there Sara Ontaneda! Welcome to BuzzMusic! “Hey Maria” is category transforming! Tell us how you came to create this track!

Lyric-wise, I wanted to bring more awareness to gender violence and femicide around the world. I was visiting my family in Ecuador and we were watching the news, and they were talking about the alarming rates of femicide in Latin America and the Caribbean. It was so infuriating to see that in many cases, justice wasn't provided for these women. In many cases, people involved would resort to victim-blaming. I really felt the need to write a song about all this, to "heal" myself and also bring awareness to the matter.

Sonically, my brother, Sebastian Ontaneda, is a producer and really brought the song to life using 80's synth sounds and R&B grooves. Its the first time I work with a producer, as its really always been me producing my own tracks.

The song is definitively catchy but the lyrics hit with impact. How did you intend to connect with your listeners with this particular track?!

I wanted to tell the story of a girl who had been a victim of abuse and violence. I chose the name "Maria" because it is a very common name in Latin America and I wanted to show that anybody could be Maria. Many women have reached out to me on social media and talked to me about these issues and even thank me for spreading a message about it. I realized how important it is to have these conversations and how music can be a powerful medium.

Tell us more about the meaning of the lyrics within your new release “Hey Maria”!

The song is written from the perspective of Maria's friend, who feels bad that she didn't fight more for her, to bring justice to her, and help her through a difficult time.

In the music video, Maria's friends decide to honor her by getting together, paint bruises on their bodies, make signs, and march the streets. With these actions they hope to educate and bring awareness to gender violence.

What would you say is the most useful piece of criticism you’ve received thus far within your career? Do you typically take criticism to your advantage?

To not release a lot of music all at once. I do take criticism to my advantage. I think we need people keeping us in check. Its important to hear the advice others with more experience have to give you. There is times where you are your best critic and you just have to follow your gut.

It was a treat being able to showcase “Hey Maria” on BuzzMusic! We can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us as listeners! What’s the next goal for you artistically within the music world, now that you’ve just released a new single?!

I want to keep spreading the word of "Hey Maria" and continue the dialogue. I'm also excited to be working on new music and a possible tour. The overall goal is to continue to make music with the same passion that I have been having since day one and see this thing grow.


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