The solo debut Maria Usbeck is a collection of songs written across the span of three years in Ecuador, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Barcelona, Lisbon, Easter Island, Costa Rica, Florida, L.A. and her home in Brooklyn. Though the songs were composed electronically, Amparo called for an acoustic treatment, so Maria spent a winter in the studio recording the arrangements live with producer Caroline Polachek and engineer Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.
Amparo stems from Maria’s desire to compose in Spanish, her native language. Growing up in Quito, she was immersed in salsa, merengue, bachata and Andean music, but was more attracted to German and American culture than to her own, and moved to America by herself at 17. After five years of fronting new wave outfit Selebrities and writing songs in English, Maria experienced a delayed-onset homesickness and knew it was time to “let the mother tongue speak.”
Amparo is a reflection of the textures of Maria’s childhood. It is also a distinctly grown-up pop record – a travel diary, music made by a visiting outsider to tap into a shared core of human expression.