María is, by all accounts, entrancing. As the lead singer of L.A. band The Marías, she beguiles showgoers with her velvety bilingual vocals, sultry grooves, and striking features.
Three years ago, María and Josh Conway, her producer-drummer beau, founded the groovy quartet after a fateful meeting at a show inside the Kibitz Room bar at Canter’s Deli. She was on the bill, he was overseeing sound, and the rest is history. “When we first worked on a song together, both of us knew right off the bat that we had chemistry, both personally and creatively,” she explains over the phone ahead of the band’s set at Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. Together, alongside Jesse Perlman (lead guitar, vocals) and Edward James (keyboard, synthesizer) on the group’s two EPs, Superclean Vol. I and Superclean Vol. II., the pair has dreamed up a flurry of magnetizing tracks with redolent lyrics balanced out by melodies that meld jazz, funk, and electro-lounge. “Our music is emotional, but also dreamy and relaxing,” she explains. “We just want to transport people.” Executing as much in their new music video for “Ruthless,” released today, the four-minute-long clip also showcases that María’s visual aesthetic is in keeping with their equal parts exotic and vintage-meets-contemporary sound.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, María’s Latin roots have had a significant impact on her approach to beauty. She idolized Mexican singer Selena and learned many rituals from the women in her family as a young girl. But when she decided to lop off her perennially long lengths to make way for her signature raven fringed bob as a newly-minted Angeleno, she was unafraid to buck tradition. “My family freaked out, and they still want me to grow it!” she says with a laugh. “In Puerto Rico, everybody has long hair. I mean, it’s all about going to the beauty salon and getting a weekly blowout. But I wanted change! Cutting it off, and being okay with that choice, was a testament to how much I’d grown personally. It was empowering.” While her curtain of wispy bangs and chin-grazing cut require little maintenance, María looks to R+Co’s Aircraft Pomade Mousse to add lived-in texture while it air drys, as does Conway. “Josh and I actually have the same hair with the same length and a similar texture, so he’ll pick up my hair products,” she says. And while on the road for gigs, she keeps everything travel-sized. “I get minis in everything,” she explains. “If they have a mini, I always get the mini. They’re cheap and easier to travel with on tour.”
María’s makeup routine is similarly no-fuss, hingeing on ’90s minimalism with a touch of sparkle. “I usually just do my own makeup,” she says. “I mean, I’m not the best, but I’ve watched a couple of makeup tutorials. I just kind of wing it and try to keep it natural... but with a glitter eyeshadow.” For a lit-from-within complexion, she begins with a veil of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer, then layers on Chanel’s Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Moisturizing Tint. “It’s amazing, and I’ve turned a bunch of people on to it,” she says. “It’s a little pricier, but it lasts for a long time. Over six months!” For a dose of understated glamour on the mouth, her go-to shade is NARS’s Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dusty Rose Dolce Vita, though she’ll occasionally mix in bright red Cruella. As for her shimmering lids, they’re executed at lightning speed with Stila’s Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in iridescent copper Kitten Karma. “It looks like it took me a long time, but it takes two seconds,” she says. “I don’t spend a lot of time on makeup, so I’ll put it on my eyes and call it a day.”
Putting a high premium on skincare, María gets regular facials with bandmate Edward’s mom, who is an esthetician, as well as practices a daily cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing routine. However, she believes glowing skin is ultimately contingent on a healthy diet and self-care. “What you put into your body is so much more important than what you put on your body,” she insists. María drinks plenty of water, takes multivitamin supplements (Vitamin C to strengthen her immune system, and magnesium to ease anxiety), and follows a low-sugar, nutrient-packed diet to treat candida. She also makes a mean turmeric latte, a tonic best enjoyed at night with its anti-inflammatory benefits, she says. Just as essential to her everyday wellbeing is her regenerative morning ritual. “I always try to get up before all the guys,” she says. “I’ll do a 15-minute meditation and some yoga stretching. But most important of all is not looking at my phone for the first hour or two I’m up. It helps me get in the right headspace for the day.” But limiting screentime isn’t just a priority first-thing. In the age of social media, María believes limiting time scrolling through apps in favor of face-to-face time is essential for good mental health. “I try to stay away from the Instagram explore page,” she admits. “We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others on it, and it’s just not helpful. Surrounding myself with positive people is what helps me be more positive about myself.”
While touring nonstop for the last two years, María has found her rhythm staying well on the move. But over the next six months, she’s looking forward to slowing down the pace as she returns to L.A. to work on the band’s debut LP. And while fans await the forthcoming album, The Marías will be releasing a couple of songs before the end of the year, she promises. Honing her beauty signatures while spreading positivity, María will continue to be one to watch as her silky vocals and lyricism continue to garner thousands of festival fans and Spotify streams. “Outward beauty is relative,” she says. “Inward beauty is the most important thing. It’s universal.”
*María’s Turmeric Latte Recipe:
- 1 tsp ground organic turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground organic ginger
- as much cinnamon as desired
- a tsp or two of maple syrup
- 1 tsp virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
- 1 cup of coconut milk or almond milk*
Originally Appeared on Vogue