Rea (Maria White) is a jazz/indie pop singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and visual artist based in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Rea released her fourth album, Safe and Sound, in November 2019. This latest album showcases her growth and development as a songwriter and performer. Rooted in life’s experiences, the album focuses on mental health issues and relationships. Rea spoke more about her album on CBC radio’s “First Listen”. Rea's lyrics have been described as honest, quirky, and well-crafted, and her captivating, playful melodies are at once thoughtful and memorable. Rea stirs up some sophisticated harmonies and simply sweet melodies into an appealing alternative palette, performing them with a relaxed, matter-of-fact style. Rea also performs her own arrangements of popular covers from the ’80, ‘90s and early 2000's including works by Norah Jones, Britney Spears, Fleetwood Mac, Blondie and The Cranberries.
Rea graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston in May 2019 with a Professional Music Diploma in Songwriting. While in Boston, Rea founded the band “Rea and the Tugboats” ( Evan Kesel, Andrew Borron and Nick Larimore) which was a frequent performer at various venues around Boston. Since Rea’s return to St. John’s, she has performed with three talented local musicians (Jordan Young, Brad Jefford and Chris Donnelly) in a group called “Rea and Friends.” Rea also has a fine arts degree (visual arts) from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), and uses this talent to design her album covers and other promotional materials. Upon graduation from MUN, Rea worked as the curator at the Peter Lewis Art Gallery in St. John’s, did some commissioned pieces as well as exhibited her own artwork. During this time, Rea was a regular performer at St. John’s cafes and bars and at Rocket Bakery where she built a loyal fan base. Rea was also a featured performer at a number of charity events in and around St. John’s.
In early March, Rea was the featured artist on CBC’s “The Parkway Sessions” where she performed original songs off her newest album.
Rea was also approached by a local film company, The Bown Sessions, to shoot three music videos featuring songs from her album, “Safe and Sound.” The videos include Rea’s original songs: “Shy Girl”, “Wonderland” and “Safe and Sound”.
Rea has been collaborating with Co-VIDeo Collective, a group of well-known musicians in the Newfoundland scene who perform remotely, from their respective homes, to create an entertaining online experience for people during these tough times. Rea has provided lead vocals for “Take on Me” by A-ha, as well as “Angel of Montgomery” which was a tribute to the late John Prine. Rea will be making more appearances in upcoming Co-Video Collective videos. As a result of the Co-vid 19 pandemic, Rea has also hosted and been a featured artist on a number of live stream events.
Most recently, Rea has been nominated for two MusicNL Awards 2020 categories. Bell Aliant Pop Artist of the Year and Solo Artist of the Year. She was also a nominee for The Telegram Fans Choice Entertainer of the Year, where fans voted for their favourite artist online.