Maria Diane Taylor (born May 21, 1976) is an American singer/songwriter from Birmingham, Alabama. She is also a member of the duo Azure Ray, with Orenda Fink, and Now It's Overhead, both on Saddle Creek Records. She plays several instruments, including the piano, guitar, and drums. Taylor plays with the high E-string removed from her guitar. Taylor previously dated Bright Eyes singer-songwriter Conor Oberst. She is married to Ryan Dwyer and has two children.
Taylor started her musical career at the age of fifteen in the band Little Red Rocket with Orenda Fink which released two albums on Geffen, Who Did You Pay (1997) and It's in the Sound (2000). The group disbanded during the merging of Geffen with Universal Music Group.
Taylor later moved to Athens, Georgia along with her musical collaborator, Fink where they formed the band Azure Ray.
Taylor released her first solo album 11:11 on Saddle Creek Records on May 24, 2005. The album features Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Gretta Cohn of Cursive, Andy LeMaster and Mike Mogis as both musicians and producers. Grey's Anatomy named its March 31, 2011 episode Song Beneath the Song after a track from the album and also featured the song on the original soundtrack. Taylor later recorded a new song for Grey's Anatomy's 2005 Christmas episode entitled Christmas After All. Her second solo album, Lynn Teeter Flower, was released on March 6, 2007, also on Saddle Creek. A Good Start, the first track, was subsequently named one of NPR's 10 best songs of the year for 2007. The Ballad of Sean Foley was co-written with Conor Oberst. The following year she released an acoustic album titled Savannah Drive with Andy LeMaster which includes stripped-down versions of songs from her first two albums, plus one new track, Tell Me. On March 31, 2009 she released her third full length, LadyLuck via Nettwerk Music Group featuring the song Cartoons and Forever Plans, co-written by and including guest vocals from Michael Stipe of R.E.M.. LadyLuck reached number 48 on Billboard's "Heatseakers" charts.
Overlook, Maria's 4th solo album, was released August 16, 2011. After moving back to her hometown of Birmingham, Taylor was unable to write for nearly a year, eventually composing the entire album over two weeks during a break in touring with Azure Ray. This release marks the first time Taylor produced her own album. Paste called Overlook "her best, most animated collection in years."
Maria Taylor released her fifth solo record, Something About Knowing on October 29, 2013 on Saddle Creek Records.
After moving back to Los Angeles, Taylor wrote and recorded In the Next Life, released December 9, 2016 on her own label, Flower Moon Records. The album features guest appearances from familiar collaborators Joshua Radin, Conor Oberst, among others. If Only (featuring Conor Oberst) was prominently featured in NBC's This Is Us. NPR, who premiered the full album stream, called it "her warmest and most affecting album… filled with gorgeous, touching songs about family, legacy, fear and the pursuit of contentment."
In November 2017, Taylor joined Ben Lee and an all star band of other musicians as Daniel Johnston's back band during the Los Angeles stop of his final tour.
In April 2018, Paste premiered Real Life (Trump Era) from the Friends and Family Vol. 1 compilation, put out on her label, Flower Moon Records. Released May 11, 2018, other contributors included Azure Ray bandmate Orenda Fink, Nik Freitas, Louis Schefano, Jake Bellows[/artist, and more. Flower Moon Records has since re-released Taylor's earlier albums, 11:11 and LadyLuck. On November 11, 2019, Taylor released her self-titled album, Maria Taylor.