The new video promotes her single, ‘Brighton Boy’, which is released for download on Wednesday as a sneak peek of the long-awaited debut album ‘Her Night At Noon’.
Maria directed the video, shot by co-writer Bjorn Dahlberg, on Hove seafront on Sunday 25 March, after putting out the call through social media.
“We were determined to get every single person we shot in”, she says, “because they’d all given time for us. And absolutely everyone’s really good.”
The video is a direct descendant of her viral hit ‘Baby’, in which diverse Brighton characters mime the familiar Justin Bieber lyrics over Maria’s vocal.
Music website Cover Me listed ‘Baby’’s salt-air visuals among it’s top 10 cover videos of 2010 for its cheeky comment on the ubiquity of the song.
She challenged herself, she explains, to transform “the cheesiest song in the world”, which she skilfully renders as a convincing cry from the heart.
Among predictably negative feedback from the teen idol’s ‘bieliebers’, the version received plaudits across the blogosphere, and a new version appears on the album released in September.
The Brighton Boy video is more sophisticated in conception and execution, but retains ‘Baby’’s home-made charm and Maria’s obvious affection for this haven for individuals.
Daughter of Trinidadian jazz man Al Timothy and an Irish beauty, Maria grew up in Newcastle, ‘the only brown girl in the village’.
She found solace in Irish Dancing (which she still teaches) and songwriting, which she started at the age of eight. “I just used the black notes on the piano” she’s admitted, “ because I liked the sound of them better”.
She moved to Brighton, where she “didn’t know a soul” after a break-up six years ago. “I came here to be on my own” she explains. “It’s where I found myself – maybe that’s why it’s special.”
Her chilling drama, ‘The Bees Mouth’, set in that pub and firmly rooted in Brighton, was an underground festival fringe hit for three successive years, and will soon be a film.
She waited in terror while technical vocalists hitting lots of high notes were criticised by BBC Introducing judges. Her fragile, vulnerable rendition of original song, ‘Colourless Rainbow’, was the Panel’s Choice for 2011.
After hearing her ‘Drink The Pain Away’, children of alcoholics’ charity NACOA recruited her to sing Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Going To Come’ on Sean Caveille’s heart-rending awareness-raising video.
The sunniest of her own compositions,’ Brighton Boy’ has a simple, romantic hook, and Maria’s warm, wistful vocal quickly worms its way into the psyche.
Not every shot for the video was planned. “Like the guys on rollerblades; that was something in the moment. And it’s the best sequence”.
As a whole her jazz-tinged album is redolent of red wine and late night conversations. “It’s more of an autumn album” she says, “more melancholy”.
She’s described on iTunes as a ‘female Tom Waits’. “Oh, God… I just love Tom Waits. I love voices that are just cracking and fragile and…not perfect.”
WRITTEN AND POSTED BY HOPE WISECHILD