Born in Minnesota to NuyoRican parents (New York-Puerto Ricans), Maria Isa began her arts education at El Arco Iris Center for the Arts in 1992, and quickly progressed from the role of student to the role of singer, songwriter, emcee, instructor and performing artist. Her 2007 M.I. Split Personalities and 2009 release of Street Politics, has received much critical acclaim using her talent to create social change and labeling her as a woman proud of her heritage. Isa acted in the indie film Strike One in Hollywood with Danny Treo; and her recent solo project Valley of the Dolls has been creating a buzz with the release of her latest singles and videos for Sabotage and Maruca.
In 2002 she co-founded the dance group, Raices, whose mission is to conserve ancestral Puerto Rican heritage through folkloric music and dance. In addition, Maria organizes various social events – walkathons, fundraisers and more to raise money and public awareness for juvenile diabetes.
She has been nominated for a Minnesota Music “Best Hip-Hop Artist” Award, and was recognized as a 2010 Rising Star by the National Hispaña Leadership Institute for her outstanding work with Youthrive on behalf of working and educating incarcerated youth throughout the Twin Cities. She has also been honored for her involvement with the international organization Peace Jam on behalf of hosting several Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.
She has received the Best Urban Artist award from La Raza Radio and Univision Channel 13, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Governor of Minnesota for her outstanding songwriting and contributions to the Latino Community, CNN's Top Latinos in Social Networking and the David Laffyette Award for her dedication towards the peace movement through the arts. She has headlined the International Bazaar stage at the Minnesota State Fair, received grand reviews for her role as Mimi in the Jonathan Larsen musical “Rent” at the Guthrie Lab Theatre and dominated the BMI Publishing Latin Alternative Music Conference showcase.
After releasing her third solo project “Sip-It” with production by world known hip-hop engineer extraordinaire Eddie Sancho in 2011, Isa introduced herself as the other half of the political satire hip-hop duo group Villa Rosa with Muja Messiah (God Kissed It, The Devil Missed It), whom have been praised by 2DopeBoys.com and World Latin Hip Hop for the critically acclaimed album Blue Diamond Island and EP titled Exotic Paraphernalia. Following these releases Maria made waves marketing activism and the arts through social networking trends which gained her recognition on CNN news as one of the nation’s top Latina indie-artist.
Her music has been featured on ABC’s The B in APT 23, Fast and The Furious video game (2013), MTV’s Punk’d, The Paulie D Project, JWow and Snooki, E’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Oxy’s Bad Girls Club and many more national network programming. Isa also presented and performed the Target "Mis Sazones" commercial for Latino Radio along with recording vocals for the "BudLight Twist Cool" commercial and Taco John's jingle. Maria’s voice has reached audiences around the world, including Asia, the United Kingdom, Latin America, the United States and Puerto Rico.
In 2013 she released The Latina Ritual Project featuring her collaborations and music with Malamanya’s Adriana Rimpel, Afro-Cuban artist Viviana Pintado and Bomba group Tambores Calientes of Loiza, Puerto Rico. The Latina Ritual Project was executively produced by Maria Isa though the Jerome Foundation's 416 Club Commisions presented by the Cedar Cultural Center.
Isa also released an album under In the Groove Records titled Latinization with producer Young Mennace, giving her the opportunity to perform at the 2013 X Games in Los Angeles' Staples Center as part of the Ford Fiesta Stage.
Maria Isa has shared stages, showcased and performed alongside Slick Rick, Plena Libre, The Roots, Atmosphere, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Dead Prez, Los Pleneros de La 21, Digable Planets, Ana Tijoux, Brother Ali, Julio Voltio, Tego Calderon, Magos Herrera, Maria De Bargos, La India, Popmaster Fabel, The Wu-tang Clan, Styles P, Chingo Bling, Bone Thugs in Harmony, Plena Libre, AfriCaribe, Bomba Esterio, Rokafela, Medusa, The Coup, Pam the Funktress, Tato Brujo, Tambores Calientes, Lemon, Tiempo Libre, La Bruja, Habana Harlem, Miguel Alegrin, Alice Russel, Bomba Esterio, Roxanne Shante, Semisonic and Paracumbe, to name a few.
After 6 successful showcases at this years 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, Maria Isa is now set to launch her own show IsaVison off Tu Vision Canal.com.
Be sure to follow Maria Isa on twitter @mariaisa and read her VOICES blog published by the Star Tribune.
Villa Rosa Music