Vocalist, MC & Full Band
Maria Isa is a Boricua (BO-REE-KWA) singer, songwriter, actress, rapper, activist and international recording artist born in Minnesota and raised on St. Paul’s West Side barrio. Isa was raised by the influences of many different rhythms of Afro- Latino Indigenous culture and channeled it into performing arts and activism at an very early age. Since 2009, Maria Isa serves as CEO for her independent label SotaRico distributing 13 of her albums bridging her music mix and upbringing of Minnesota and Puerto Rican culture into a fusion of sound. Isa received the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s “Rising Latina Star” award for her outstanding work on behalf of working and educating incarcerated youth throughout the state of Minnesota while hosting several Nobel Peace Prize Laureates such as Rigoberta Menchu-Tum, Adolfo Esquivel Perez, Rev. Desmond Tutu, President Oscar Arias Sanchez, and Dr Shirin Ebadi through dedication towards presenting motivational performances, women empowerment and Hip Hop Activism workshops to over 20,000 youth across the country.
Maria Isa has performed alongside and opening for artists such as The Roots, Common, Bad Bunny, Moby, Bomba Estereo, Sheila E, Kendrick Lamar, Atmosphere, Semisonic, Yasin Bey, Wu-Tang Clan, Tito El Bambino, Ana Tijoux, Tego Calderon, Beanie Man, Plena Libre, LP21, La Tribu De Abrante, Anthony Hamilton, Faith Evans, Medusa, Slick Rick, Pedrito Martinez, Nahko, Las Cafeterias, and many more. Maria wows audiences with her passionate vocals, attitude infused raps, virtuoso percussion work and astute sociopolitical commentary while selling out the historical First Avenue Mainroom to dominating New York Cities’ S.O.B’s BMI Publishing Latino Alternative Music Conference showcases. Maria continues to spread a message and create contemporary music fusing LatinX Urbano to create a catalog of work which has been featured on numerous of National network shows on ABC, VH1, Starz’s, MTV’s, NETFLIX, E’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Oxy’s The Bad Girls Club, and the Fast and Furious video game allowing her music to reach audiences around the world.
In addition to winning the National Target “Mis Sazones” song jingle competition, Maria Isa received the Cedar Cultural Center’s 416 Club Commissions grant provided by the Jerome Foundation in 2013, where she executive produced and directed the Latina Ritual Project, compilation and concert dedicated towards the recognition of the Latina arts movement in the Twin Cities.
Maria Isa was nominated by the Twin Cities Film Festival for best Best Breakthrough Performance for her film debut as Angie Garcia in the Latino Independent Film Strike One with Danny Trejo. Isa starred as “Mimi” in Broadway’s RENT at the Guthrie LAB and was one of the playwrights featured alongside Junot Diaz in Mixed Blood Theater’s DJ Latinidad.
Maria Isa’s latest mixtape ” The Dragon Lady” was named by LA WEEKLY as “one of the strongest mixtapes of the year to come out by a female rapper.” Maria Isa continues to instruct, mentor students through 5 youth programs and serves on the board of the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project. She is the co-host and co-creator of
The Latina Theory: A Spanglish Podcast in which NPR titled as “one of the top LatinX podcast in the country to listen to.”
As a member of PRIM (Puerto Ricans In Minnesota Committee) she has conducted press conferences, media forums, community events and agendas educating national community leaders, Senators and Congressmen about the history and current status of Puerto Rico.
In September of 2017, Isa became an advisor for El Fondo Boricua a Fund of the St. Paul Foundation, where she has led efforts in Minnesota to raise close to $400,000 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico’s aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Her upcoming album “Sasa” is set to be released this year and is anticipated to be Isa’s finest work to date.