Music for your soul Conversation with singer-songwriter Maria Thornton

“We are living in a throwaway society. Everything goes way to fast. You experience this in all areas: jobs, love, material world”, says my friend Maria on one of those girly days where we are sorting through our wardrobe, then she continues: “When I wear clothes that I got from friends, I always think about the person who gave them to me. See, this skirt is from one of my closest friends, Alena, who wore it when she was still in high school.”

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“On the upside, we are lucky to have so many opportunities nowadays, don’t you think so?” I reply, while Maria is trying on my favourite old blue jeans. “Well yes, true”, she agrees. “Otherwise I probably wouldn’t be able to live the dream of making music and studying at the same time.”

Maria’s music career started five years ago. She always loved music, but until 2012 she was only listening to it. “I wanted to buy myself a guitar for my 22nd birthday, so I went to a music store in Vienna. The shop wasn’t open yet, but I’ve met a guy in front of the store and we started to talk. He also wanted to buy a new instrument. The shopkeeper was quite unfriendly and wasn’t helpful in giving us advice. We both decided to move on without buying anything in that place. I surely looked pretty upset, because the guy I’ve met offered me to use his guitar for some weeks to test it. Unfortunately I forgot his name, but I loved his guitar and decided to buy myself the same one. That was my first guitar.”

“Did you know how to play?” I asked curiously. “No, I’ve learned everything by myself on that first guitar. My goal was to sing, play an instrument and to compose my own songs.”

Not that everyone told her that she had a great voice, or to do something with her talent, quite the opposite. Especially some friends asked her not to sing when they are around, because of her horrible voice. Luckily Maria didn’t listen to them, and kept to her own path. “Those were actually lonely times. I couldn’t fall asleep, and wanted to fill this gap with something good. I often practiced until 4am in the morning – my skills improved pretty fast at the time.”

At first, Maria’s main goal wasn’t to get famous or to play concerts in front of others. “Music is kind of a language to me. I can express feelings, events and everything else much better than in any other way. Every song tells their own story, and I sing about things that are actually going on in my life.”

Nowadays Maria plays many concerts. I wanted to know how she felt on stage, or why she made the leap to play in front of a crowd?

“I love adrenalin. I love challenges. I just had to try it, and as soon as I experienced that feeling once, I had to do it again and again. On stage, I forget about everything else, I stop thinking: it feels as if I lived all my life for that special moment.”

One of the dreams Maria realised last year was to produce her first debut album: New Path. As for her current goals and dreams, she replies quickly. She wants a garden. “A garden, without a house?”, I asked. She waited a bit with the answer. “Maybe a treehouse.”

NEXT CONCERT: 5 April 2017 at Kramladen (Vienna)

Photos: Thomas Steineder & Rafael Rosenmayer