Maria Milian is a brewing cup of lyrical coffee, sweetened with a bit of half and half. This New York-born, South Florida raised artist is half Spanish and half Armenian. She is also torn between two loves – old school 90s music and new school jams.

Milian counts Alicia Keys and the late Aaliyah as her musical influences. Their music, she says, is “where you get that feeling of a young, happy time. It’s music that makes you wanna dance, have fun and be in love.”

No stranger to music, Milian’s mom is a singer and dancer, and her dad – who still performs regularly – is a Berkeley-trained musician as well. Her desire to sing really began to stir at the age of four, when her mom would help her grab lyrics from songs on the radio so that she could practice them.

“I would sit with my mom and we would listen to music she was rehearsing for her shows. She would play and rewind, and play and rewind, so that we could write the lyrics down. She used to cover a lot of songs from the Miami Sound Machine. At the age of 5 I knew all of the lyrics to Conga.”

Milian’s foray into the music industry actually began with modeling and dancing. Her modeling career began with her crowning as Miss Southeast Florida Teen, and becoming a semi-finalist in Miss Florida Teen All-American that same year. From there professional opportunities in fashion shows and magazines reined in. Still the desire to sharpen her music and dancing love was strong. Her career then beautifully curved into dancing. As a Dancer, she’s appeared in numerous music videos, including: Nelly-Stepped On My J’s, Baby – L.L. Cool J featuring The Dream and numerous videos for Miami’s own Pitbull. Notably she credits her work on Joe’s video for “Can’t Get Over You” as one of her favorite projects to date.

“Aside from being overjoyed to work with and R&B great like Joe, what made it even more awesome was the song was a remake of a classic by Frankie Beverly and Maze, which I grew up listening to.”

It was during a casual encounter, that a producer introduced her to vocal coach Anita Wilson, and with arms wide open she embraced the opportunity to exercise her vocal skills. Milian says she wants to bring back 90s music, ripe with powerful and soulful real lyrics. She wants people to hear her sing and get that same – oh, yeah vibe – reminiscent of Jodeci, TLC, and Janet Jackson. She wants them to hear all of that – with a twist – the Milian twist – a spicy taste of Hispanic and urban flavor.

As she prepares to make her big splash, she is working on writing her own original lyrics. This Milian-created music brings together elements from her heritage for a soulfully innovative sound. Part of her secret desire as she soars is to work with an eclectic group of fellow artists. Some of those include Talib Kweli, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J Cole. Interestingly, Milian says, if she could cover any project, it would be Teena Marie’s “Out on Limb.” She says it is Teena’s soul, passion, and ability to feel and relay every word in a song that she wants people to get when they hear her sing.