Singer/songwriter Anna Maria Flechero released her first CD, Journey Into The Fourteenth Hour, boldly redefining music in her terms infusing bossa nova, Latin, R&B and gospel rhythms into the jazz equation. Described by Jazz Review as an "articulate and serious expression of vocal jazz at its finest," Anna Maria received the Jazz Group of the Year award from the Bay Area Blues Society in 2007 for Journey Into The Fourteenth Hour. "I am very proud to have received that award because I am not a straight-ahead jazz vocalist," Anna Maria recollects.
Performing in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years, it is evident Anna Maria writes ballads that focus on the human condition. Her first CD, Journey Into The Fourteenth Hour," features a R&B flavored song titled, "Trouble On My Mind," which is her take on the immorality of war and its impact on our society. "I Believe's" inspirational lyrics to achieve in life and the universal cry of "I Betcha Never Thought" (renamed "My Dream Is Your Dream") undeniably focuses on the very essence of humanity. "Trust In Me" recalls what true love is all about and "Quiet Time" remembers the moments of being together with the one you love. Journey Into The Fourteenth Hour makes a powerful statement about life and love.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Afro-Filipina Anna Maria Flechero grew up in an unforgiving urban environment, a harsh reality for a bi-racial child. To escape, Anna Maria would take money from her father's barbershop cash register to travel cross-town to a local music store, which rented piano time teaching herself to play the piano by ear.
At 17, she wrote lyrics, composed music and accompanied her brothers' bands in various music competitions. In her early 20's Anna Maria co-founded Blessed Soul, a 13-piece Latin jazz band with a long-time friend that performed at concerts on the same bill with such heavyweights as Santana, Pete Escovedo, Malo, and Graham Central Station. Eventually, Anna Maria ventured out on her own and landed a four-month gig in Fukuoka, Japan after being described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a "modern day blues singer. In Fukuoka, Anna Maria performed at an internationally known club named Blackberrys. While there, Anna Maria sat in and sang one night with jazz greats Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins and Tony Dumas.
In 2008, Anna Maria released her second CD, Within The Fourteenth Hour, featuring jazz luminary Cedar Walton. Within The Fourteenth Hour is a 10-track CD of well-known jazz and pop standards improvised plus one original, "Pretty Soon." Jazz Police wrote, "Anna Maria's incomparable voice creates a voyage from start to finish, each song having its own specialty and flavor to truly create a diverse passage from track to track, but it is in the final cut, ‘Pretty Soon,' where we get a full view of Anna's abilities as a lyricist and composer....Musically, Anna Maria has created a beautiful composition that is texturally stunning and harmonically rich." Music reviewer Paul Freeman of the Palo Alto Daily News seems to agree: "San Francisco jazz singer Anna Maria Flechero delivers an outstanding set. The soul and sophistication of her voice brings new meaning to such standards as ‘Misty' and ‘I Wish You Love.' Richly realized arrangements and production enhance her performances. The bonus track, ‘Pretty Soon,' is a Flechero original that holds its own in the company of classic tunes."
Listeners can find Anna Maria's music in rotation on the radio and internet from coast to coast. Internationally, you can hear Anna Maria "down under" in Australia as well as in Japan, Poland, Korea, Denmark and Luxembourg to name a few. In 2009, Anna Maria signed with Arizona University Recordings affiliated with EMI, Sony BMG and others to distribute select songs internationally on several different jazz compilations including "In Love With Jazz Vol. 3" and "The Best Smooth Jazz…Ever! Vol. 4" released by EMI Music Poland. "I am deeply honored to have my work included on the same CD with the music of Nina Simone, Lizz Wright, Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Horace Silver and others. These are absolutely incredible artists," says Anna Maria.
When asked about the meaning of the "fourteenth hour," Anna Maria smiles and graciously states "it is the dimension, the hour, wherein I fulfill my dreams. Moving forward, Anna Maria continues to perform at jazz venues and festivals. Additionally, she is a member of the San Francisco Filipino-American Jazz Festival.