If Kacey Musgraves and Meghan Trainor had a country-soul love-child, the result would be Calgary, Canada-based country artist Mariya Stokes.
Known for her quick wit, quirky sense of humour, and signature retro style, Country Music Alberta's two-time Horizon Female Artist of the Year is in music for the long haul. From hosting the 2020 CMAB Awards Show alongside the legendary George Canyon to playing guitar and opening for Ru-Pauls Drag Race superstar Trixie Mattel, Stokes always appears where you'd least expect her.
“I’ve written with a lot of young songwriters and what I love about Mariya is that she knows what she wants to say and has an interesting way of saying it. She has a natural talent for creating unique melodies and lyrics.”
- Jake Mathews, CCMA Nominee
With confident, expressive vocals and gritty steel guitar, her current single, "Break My Heart," is a laid-back, pop-country feminist anthem. Produced by Juno Award-winners Spencer Cheyne and Justin Kudding and dripping with attitude, Stokes' fourth single solidifies her commitment to empowering women and telling their stories.
A three-time CMAB "Songwriter of the Year" nominee, Stokes' 2019 feel-good debut,"Hands on My Body," pushed country music boundaries with an R&B feel and sex-positive lyrics. Her second single, "Christmas, Arizona," landed in the Top 100 on the BDS Canadian Holiday Chart and was followed by a vulnerable, heart-wrenching ballad: "Rebound." Released in October 2020, “Rebound” was featured across Canada as the "Next Big Thing" on the Casey Clarke Country Countdown and has over 200,000 streams on Spotify.
“The third release since her 2019 debut, “Rebound” demonstrates the incredible versatility Mariya possesses as an artist.”
Growing up in Stavely, Alberta, an hour south of Calgary, Stokes spent time in her parents' small-town bar, and at eight years old, was sneaking in on Friday afternoons to sing with the local jam band. Now a seasoned performer, she has opened for Doc Walker, Lindsay Ell, and Jann Arden and was one of three artists selected to work with 19-time CCMA winner Terri Clark at National Music Centre's RBC Master in Residence program in 2019. In addition, Stokes' was the 2019 runner-up in Project WILD, a country-focused artist development program run by WILD 95.3 FM (Calgary) and Alberta Music. In 2021, she graced festival stages, including Nashville North at the Calgary Stampede, Elk Valley Pride in Fernie, BC, and was a featured artist in Breakout West's "Back To Live" showcase.
Her small-town, community-minded values have followed her to the big city: Stokes was a 2020 Artist in Residence at the Women's Centre of Calgary. A past volunteer at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre, she worked on two charity records and independently organized numerous coat drives for the organization. In addition, she is a member of the 2022 CCMA Host Committee, taking part in planning the Canadian Country Music Association's upcoming awards week in Calgary in September.
Focusing heavily on songwriting, Stokes has had songs recorded by artists in multiple genres, including CCMA nominees Leaving Thomas, alt-pop singer Celia Palli, country-rocker Devin Cooper, and pop singer Hayden McHugh.
"I'm a songwriter first." Stokes says, "My songs are rooted in country storytelling, but I'm not afraid to bend outside the genre if it feels right. My sound changes drastically with each release because I'm constantly evolving, and I like to surprise my fans and keep them excited for what could be coming next. We're hitting the road again in 2022 - I can't wait to see everyone and share my upcoming record with you."