Maria Yfeu at Sony Music UK

20th February 2020

World - ibis team

Maria Yfeu
« The globe-spanning debut campaign of ibis MUSIC has hosted 89 acts across 44 shows in 17 countries, showcasing the freshest new up-and-coming talent. »

From this incredible selection of global artists, nine were handpicked by our team of judges to perform on the Europe Stage presented by ibis at the legendary Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary. It was a hugely memorable day, with all nine stepping up to deliver show-stopping performances to sizeable crowds.


Following Sziget in early October, we were delighted to announce Spain’s Maria Yfeu as the winner of ibis MUSIC 2019. As part of her prize, Maria was flown to London on Friday 25 October for a unique, ‘money-can’t-buy’ day-long experience at the office of our ibis MUSIC partner Sony Music Entertainment.

Meet the A&R team

The first part of the experience was a mentoring session with key Sony A&R executive Preye Crooks, who has worked with superstar names from the label, including Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. It was a special opportunity for the young Madrid-based musician to learn about the process of signing to a label like Sony, and how songs develop and evolve before they’re released to the mainstream.


Maria found the experience valuable. “I found it so interesting, sharing my songs with him, and hearing his thoughts. He said something I found very important from working with a different mix of acts; artists have to be completely honest and sincere with the music they make. Nowadays it’s no longer just an artist being developed by a big label; they have to be genuine otherwise people won’t believe in their music. I completely agree with this.”

In session with Maria Yfeu

Following this A&R workshop, Maria was taken to experience Sony’s in-house recording studio, which many of its biggest acts use as a songwriting hub and to demo new recordings. Using its state-of-the-art equipment, Maria (alongside regular collaborator and member of her live band, Julio Martin Macias) recorded a beautiful-sounding stripped-back version of her song ‘Loyalty’. Kris Winter, Sony’s Audio Engineer commented “Maria’s voice exceeded all expectations, I really enjoyed the session. To celebrate, we added a Polaroid of her to our studio wall, which has pictures of all the famous acts that’ve recorded here”.


Maria meets Reuben

The final part of the afternoon was a photoshoot in Sony’s studio, where Maria worked with the label’s experienced in-house creative manager Reuben Bastienne-Lewis, learning how the label collaborates with new artists to create a visual output that connects across various cross-media platforms, from music videos to Instagram. “It was lovely working with Reuben; he made the whole experience really enjoyable and relaxing.”


The day was a unique opportunity for an exciting new talent to experience working with a major record label, and sample the various departments that co-operate together to help launch new acts. Maria expressed how valuable the day had been, telling the team, “It was a great experience and I’m so grateful to ibis for this opportunity.”


A worthy winner of ibis MUSIC 2019, Maria Yfeu is a hugely exciting new artist with a bold voice for 2020 – keep an ear out for her in the coming months. 


See more of Reuben Bastienne-Lewis photography at: