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Talkback: Maria Elisa Ayerbe


Born and raised in Colombia, engineer and producer Maria Elisa Ayerbe began learning audio engineering at Universidad de Chile in Santiago. She returned to Colombia to continue her education, and by the age of 23 she was producing bands commercially and even teaching audio engineering. Maria later relocated to Nashville, where she continued to study while mixing professionally for a growing list of Colombian artists. It was her creative investment in the Latin music industry that eventually brought her to Miami, where she lives and works to this day. Maria remains as driven and busy as ever, teaching at the Abbey Road Institute Miami and even hosting the HBO TV show A Tiny Audience, all the while continuing her work as a commercial producer and engineer.

“It’s interesting how a lot of people consider Latin music a ‘genre’ here in the States,” she reflects. “But I don’t see how a culture can be defined as a genre. That’s something I keep stressing a lot, that I keep fighting against. In the US we have to advance from that standpoint, of thinking that everything in Spanish is in the same genre. We are Latinos, we do speak Spanish, yes. But our cultures are completely different!”

At the moment I can’t stop listening to

Right now, I’ve fallen in love with Bonnie Raitt. I’ve always listened to her music, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. But this past album, Just Like That: I really, really like it. I just love her songwriting. I love her voice. I love everything about her. She is such an amazing guitarist! She just makes it so easy! You see her performing, and she’s singing while sliding on a Telecaster... And it’s like, ‘OK, I could either do one, or the other.’ And she’s singing flawlessly. She’s leading the band. She’s doing both rhythm and lead guitar, all while she’s performing. She won the Best Song of the Year [Grammy], and I think even she was surprised. But to me, she’s always been amazing. As a songwriter, she’s got such a defined sound. And her voice is flawless. And her production has always had this trademark.

The project I’m most proud...

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