Maria Connel
Gig Seeker Pro

Maria Connel

Band Christian Adult Contemporary


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Music For The Soul"

Eight years ago, Maria Connel made the life altering decision not to return to her banking position following her one year maternity leave. Instead, she chose to concentrate on pursuing music as a full time career. She had no idea that in Nov.2003, she would celebrate the release of her third CD. "It was the best decision I've ever made," she says confidently.
"Once I had the time to concentrate on my music, things really fell into place," she explains. She credits her versatility as an artist for her success. She is a regular performer of adult contemporary cover hits at Casino Windsor.....the highest paying professional singing job in the area. And although she is modest about her abilities as a musician, she also plays the piano and flute. "I mostly use the keyboard to write, although I do play at the Casino."
As her latest musical venture, a compilation of 3 contemporary Christian songs entitled "Your Will" has been released to 1,000 U.S. radio stations, Maria reflects fondly upon the journey that has brought her this success. Having grown up in a musical family, singing was really just a hobby from the time of her first paid performance at age 16. Through the years, she has performed in just about every local club, playing with a variety of bands. She taught for 5 years at the Canadian Conservatory of Music, and while she continues to teach simply because she loves it, her demanding performance schedule restricts her to just about 5 students at a time.
Three years ago, she took a giant step forward by writing and producing her first CD, "All About Me" - 7 songs that reflect her life experiences. "I had performed in every venue and wanted to take it to the next step," Maria explains. One of the songs from that album struck a chord with Larry Rogers, a big-time producer who holds a place in the Memphis Hall of Fame and has worked with artists such as Faith Hill, Ricky Nelson and even Garth Brooks. She travelled to Studio 20 in Nashville, which is actually one of Patsy Cline's old homes, refurbished into a world-class recording studio. "How could you not be inspired?" Maria asks.
She spent a week in Jan.2002 re-recording "Just Another Broken Heart" - her favourite track from her first album. Surprisingly, she had actually written the song while on a coffee break at the Casino. She speaks glowingly of her colleagues and her professional recording debut. "The experience was incredible. You're working with top of the line producers and musicians and you can't help but grow."
Rogers also wanted Maria to record something that had been developed by an established writer, and set her up with a song called "The One", co-written by Annie Roboff, who also co-wrote Faith Hill's smash hit "This Kiss" and Holly Lamar, writer of "Breathe". Maria's 2 singles were produced with the intent to raise radio interest and released in June of that year to 2,200 stations across the United States. The strategy proved successful beyond her wildest dreams. During the week of Oct.18th to Oct.25th, 2002, Maria was thrilled that "The One" hit the #1 spot on the World Indie charts.
This great success was followed by another tremendous surprise. HMG Nashville, a Christian record label, approached Maria to further explore the Contemporary Christian music genre. Within a few months, she had created 4 songs, 2 of which she loved. Before travelling back to Nashville to record her 2 favourites, she negotiated the ability to again have Larry produce her CD. "We had worked so well together and it was such a positive experience I really wanted to work with him again." Once she arrived, Larry, who liked to shake things up, threw another monkey wrench into her plans. She had intended to record the 2 songs she had written back home but upon her arrival, he encouraged her to again sit down with an established writer. He introduced her to Amber Gunn, a writer under contract with the well-known Polygraph label.
The two collaborated for a couple of hours and "Come Into My Life" was the result. While they convinced HMG Nashville to include this third song in the CD, Maria was very unsettled. "We wrote it the day before we recorded it," she recalls. "I'm very organized and like to revisit things time and time again before I am confident. This was very off-the-cuff." Never the less, she is inspired by the result. "When I heard the song for the first time, I was so overwhelmed with emotion. I really felt as though those words came through me."
The project was very timely, she explains. "Having just turned 40, I felt that I needed to reach people and to say more with my music." She hopes that regardless of what people believe in, the song will inspire them to open their hearts to good. And while she did approach the project with some trepidation that she would be boxed into a certain genre, she ultimately feels that she is following the right path at this stage in her career.
She feels no stress or pressure about where her choices will take her. "I have no big dreams of becoming a starlet," she laughs. "As long as I am continuously moving to the next step and always growing creatively, I'm happy."
Living in Essex with Terry, her husband of 12 years, and her 3 children, ranging in age from 8 to 17, regardless of her future level of success, she has no plans to relocate. "I will go where I need to perform, but coming home to this house and my family is what grounds me." Considering her Casino job, weddings, and the various bands with whom she sings, Maria performs about 3 shows a week. Add that to her writing, teaching and rehearsal schedule and she spends about 3-4 hours each day singing.
She also maintains her own website where her CDs can be purchased, and looks forward to the imminent release of her first Italian-language project entitled "Maria".
As the vocal director for Music Express, she revels in the chance to share the spotlight with her peers. "We take turns performing solos and when my turn is over, I move to the back to sing the 4-part harmony with the rest of the group." She is particularly excited to undertake 5 Christmas performances with the ensemble and students from regional schools. Next year, she hopes that Comstock Records, the label for her Italian CD, will set up a short European tour to coincide with the planned Music Express trip to Italy.
"To perform "Your Will" in public in front of a large group with a big orchestra would be incredible," she says excitedly.
And just when you can't imagine that she could fit anything else into her schedule, she reveals that she also serves as the music director of her church choir. "I feel very blessed that I have been able to do everything I wanted to do and make a very good living at it. This gives me an opportunity to give something back."
Christmas events for Music Express will take place during the last week of Nov. To hear Maria perform with Music Express, contact the group's box office at 519-735-6397. - Windsor Life Magazine, Dec.2003

"Maria Connel Hits Number One"

When Essex resident, Maria Connel heard that she had hit number one on the Indie World chart, she was excited but took it with a grain of salt. Ironically, the title of the song which went straight to the top is, "The One".
Penned by Annie Roboff and Holly Lamar, Connel recorded the song in Nashville earlier last year. At the end of October, The One had climbed to the top of the mountain. A fact which was confirmed recently when Connel received a plaque stating this.
The One, however, is not the only success story for Connel. Just Another Broken Heart, released in the new year, is also garnering big-time interest and is cracking the top 10 list in Europe.
Just Another Broken Heart has held the number three spot in Belgium, while it's been number five in both France and the U.K.
In some ways this is even a greater personal victory for Connel than the number one success of The One. After all, Connel wrote Just Another Broken Heart herself. It is her song that is catching the listener's ear.
The whole idea behind the release of The One last year was to create interest within the music community while opening some industry doors. That has happened as Maria has been contacted by HMG Nashville, a subsidiary of the Christian Country Music Assoc.
HMG would like to support another single released by Connel, while promoting her on television, and in print. Connel sees this as a great opportunity to get further exposure.
While she has been enjoying her success, Connel has also been frustrated by the fact that she has had little time to write songs. "If anything, that's been a disappointment," she noted. Now, with this new project with HMG looming on the horizon, she has been offered the opportunity to write once again. Currently, she is working on a new song that she is hoping to record with HMG in Nashville. - The Essex Free Press

"Maria Connel's Music Video Premiere"

Many Essex residents have been following Maria Connel's music career closely. As the saying goes, "She's a local gal, done good." Well she's done it again, as she's upped the ante and added another link in the chain of her successes.
On Wed.Apr.27th, Connel will be playing host at the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre to a music video premiere, featuring the first public viewing of the music video for her captivating single, "My Saving Grace".
The occasion is extra special as it happens to fall on her and her husband, Terry's wedding anniversary.
The release of the video means alot to Connel as it's another tick off her to-do list. "First and foremost, the night itself represents, more than anything, meeting one of those goals I've set for myself in life to create a music video," she stated from the comfort of her own home last week. "The fact that I can share it here, with the people who are close to me, family, friends, fans that have supported me and been with me, that's just huge."
She's steeling herself not to get all emotional and become a "blubbering mess" on the big night. The fact that she's giving a live performance will certainly help, as she's focusing on that.
The video, which was shot locally by Media Street, is a work that Connel is very proud of. She was very pleased with the final edit (a process which she feels honoured to have been a big part of), as Media Street hit the nail on the head as far as she's concerned.
She couldn't sing the praises of local video/production company loud enough, a company which is earning a reputation for doing exceptional work.
The video itself plays an important role in Connel's career. It's a milestone on the road of her musical journey, just another step down the path of success. But with success, comes the responsibility of making the right decisions.
Connel is more cautious than ever as a label deal is in the works, but we'll keep that all hush-hush for now. As the stakes are being raised she's turned to the sound advice of entertainment lawyers.
Nashville producer, Larry Rogers, who Connel has worked with in the past, has offered her some direction in this regard. With 40 years in the biz, he's loaded with sage advice. Rogers has become a good pal of Connel's and he and his wife may head up to Canada for the video release.
There is a saying that the entertainment business is 10% entertainment, and 90% business. All Connel can say is, "ain't that the truth". The business side of it all, is constantly demanding, demanding, demanding. Still, she makes sure to set aside a block of practise time each and every day to remain polished.
Through it all she has been amazed at the fabulous support she has received from the people in her hometown, along with the business community. " The Essex businesses came through for me again, which is wonderful," she remarked on how they helped sponsor the upcoming release party.
When someone asked her why she doesn't move to Nashville or Toronto, her immediate response was, "Why?"
"The benefit of living in a small town is that you have this great support behind you," she pointed out, "people care."
Which brings us back to the beginning. "She's a local gal, done good", and we're all rooting for her. - The Voice of Our Community, April 19, 2005


All About Me - debut Young Country release
The One - 2 track Nashville-recorded release
Maria - Italian language debut
Your Will - Contemporary Christian release


Feeling a bit camera shy


As a professional full-time musician, Maria has appeared with duos, performing adult contemporary, country & christian genres, 6 pc. special occasion band for corporate / Italian-language gigs, and 4 pc. pop / rock groups in clubs. After more than 20 years in the business, Maria's versatility has been key in building a reputation of music excellence, both as a vocalist and entertainer.