With her personal song interpretations, crystal-clear, warm voice and lyrical piano playing, Katja Maria enchants listeners with music straight from the heart.
Inspired by the melancholy of Finnish folk, the saudade of Brazilian music, and the musical storytelling of contemporary songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Silje Nergaard and Nick Drake, Katja sings and plays about homesickness and nostalgia, love and desire, dreamers and seekers, and the endless longing for freedom. With her music she takes the listener on a journey inward, and to the boundless rugged landscapes of the human heart.
Born and raised in Finland, Katja Maria grew up surrounded by music. She began formal music training at the Ostrobothnian Conservatory in Kokkola at age six, and by the time she was a teenager she played several instruments including the piano and the flute. In between practicing pieces by Bach, Debussy and Chopin, Katja taught herself to accompany her own singing and playing songs in a variety of styles of music from pop and jazz to Finnish folk and tango.
Singing in choirs since childhood made her lose her heart to vocal harmony, and during her teenage years she had her first experiences singing in professional music theatre productions. Throughout high-school, the town theater of Kokkola was her second home.
After high-school Katja went on to study music education at the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, where contemporary commercial music singing lessons under the guidance of Aija Puurtinen and Marjo-Riitta Kervinen, classical singing with Tuula Hostikka, and jazz vocals with Mia Simanainen introduced her to the versatility of the human voice. At the Conservatory of Rotterdam she studied Jazz and Brazilian music under the guidance of Fay Claassen and Josee Koning.
Katja’s eagerness to learn has brought her to study music and music education in many countries, including Denmark, Canada, Scotland, Brazil and The Netherlands, where she has been based since 2003. In the cultural melting pot of Rotterdam, her Fenno-Swedish musical roots have become influenced with music styles from all over the world. Performing a variety of music styles including pop, Jazz, Brazilian popular music and Nordic folk music, she has worked as as a singer and musician in projects ranging from bands and a cappella groups to contemporary dance and theatre productions.
Katja is also a singing teacher, vocal coach and music educator, with more than two decades of experience and extensive studies. She holds a Master of Music degree from the renowned Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, studied World Music and Jazz at the Conservatory of Rotterdam (Codarts), and trained as a singer and singing teacher at Complete Vocal Institute in Copenhagen, from where she graduated as an Authorised Complete Vocal Technique (CVT) Teacher in 2011. An avid learner, Katja loves to explore the voice-body-mind-soul connection, and is continuing to follow training in many science-based models for training the voice, including Connected Singing and Estill Voice Training.