To Top

Meet Maria Katre Osler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Katre Osler.

Maria Katre, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Wow, just thinking about how and when I started seems eons ago. Haha, No, not really. Well, I believe my journey started with my love for music as a baby and toddler, I was told. I remember as a little girl, I loved listening to the radio and my grandmother’s tapes in her 1988 Mercury Topaz.

I was raised by my grandparents and I remember being stretched out on my little twin bed in my room just lying there at night listening to artists like Anita Baker, George Benson, Prince and just loving listening to the smooth jazz station. The horns really caught my attention. It was almost as if I couldn’t fall asleep unless I heard music. I remember going to the 4th of July parades in Ypsilanti, Michigan, my hometown (30 minutes outside of Detroit), with my grandmother and seeing the marching bands perform. I remember my grandmother saying to me, “You’re going to do that one day!” I just smiled and was just so fascinated. I come from a very musical family full of singers and musicians, so it was kind of just instilled in me. I had my very first acting experience in 3rd grade, performing in a school play. I loved every minute of it! When I got into middle school (6th grade), I joined the concert band and started playing the cornet. Band and choir were my favorite parts of school. I loved performing and sight-reading music, it was my favorite thing to do ever.

Entering high school, I continued nurturing my musical talents by teaching myself how to play the tuba and the bass drum. I’ve always loved a challenge and wanted to play instruments that girls typically didn’t play. Playing a variety of different instruments taught me the importance of every instrument in a band. I was a band geek, an old soul and an introvert.

When I got to college, I strayed away from music as my primary focus for a change and got bit by the acting bug again. I continued to take piano and sang in a couple of choirs, but I was looking to transition into becoming an actress. I wanted to be just like Angela Bassett. She inspired me so much and I wanted to dive in and learn as much as I could to be like her. After two university transfers and two concentration changes, I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast/Journalism from Florida A&M University. “I really enjoyed producing and writing in FAMU’s Broadcast Journalism classes. I loved creating my own content and writing compelling stories.” After graduation, my professor entered a documentary that I wrote entitled “In Their Eyes” about a blind child and blind adult into the Florida Associated Press Awards and It won 1st place. It was so rewarding to see an idea I came up with really did mean something.

I arrived to L.A bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready for everything! The thought of being a musician again hadn’t even resurfaced yet. I dove directly into background acting to gain exposure and experience on being on set. After several acting opportunities, I went on to join SAG-AFTRA and signed with an agency. Fast-forward three years later, I finally successfully booked a few national commercials, TV, and print jobs but still felt like something was missing in my life. I remember one night feeling incomplete and unsure about everything. I felt like I had no purpose in life. I continued to meditate on what made my soul and spirit truly happy and the answer became evident to me; I needed to return to my first love: Music. I hadn’t read any music in years or even played any instruments so I needed to start over from scratch.

I returned to music in the fall of 2012 by enrolling in the Herb Alpert Music Center on Los Angeles City College’s campus. I will say this…that was one of the happiest days of my life. I felt back with myself again if that makes any sense. I humbly started with the basics all over again and learned the fundamentals of music composition over the course of 8 semesters. When I wasn’t auditioning for acting roles and working my many part-time jobs, I devoted all of my free time to studying, ear-training, and sight-reading. In the pursuit of our dreams, we often wonder if we’ve chosen the right path for our lives.

Fast forward to now, I feel so blessed to have performed with A-List entertainers including Taylor Swift at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, Valerie June, and have had the opportunity to work with Beyoncé at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show and Coachella 2018. I often think to myself, if I never went back to music, I wouldn’t have had any of these opportunities. I also got back into writing and just completed my first short film entitled, “MO” which I wrote and produced with director Shawn Pipkin-West and co-star, Jackie Ho.

We’re hoping to get into festivals and it was an amazing experience to see everything come together.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Smooth road? My God. No not at all, despite popular belief. Nothing is really easy. Everything takes time, patience and hard work. NO SHORTCUTS EVER! I would say the biggest challenge for me at this present time would be balancing both my music and acting career. I also have several part-time jobs that I work in between my music/acting career. Doing multiple things can cause extreme fatigue and feeling burnt-out. I can’t wait for the day when my passions are my main source of income.

I would also like to add that in the beginning stages of my career, I struggled with always feeling not good enough. From the way, I wore my hair, the way I dressed and everything in between. The hair discrimination part I’ll never forget. I remember going into a meeting with a prospective talent agent and her telling me, “I’d love to sign you but the dreads don’t work, they just don’t book.” As soon as she uttered those words to me, I knew it wasn’t going to work out for me either. The killing part was, I didn’t even have locks (not dreads). I really wanted to tell her they’re called braids but I didn’t and told her thank you and went about my day. I remember leaving that meeting feeling horrible, but I knew someone else out there was meant for me. The following week I signed with the agency I’m currently with and they love me and my look. I’m a firm believer in what’s meant for me will find me and that’s what keeps me grounded on my journey.

You can knock me down, but God gave me strength to get up over and over again and that’s what I’ll continue to do.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Honestly, it’s really hard to pick just one I have a few things. I ‘m proud of myself for going back to music school and relearning everything. That propelled me to perform with Taylor Swift and Beyonce. I’m proud of myself for getting accepted into the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England last summer. There I was able to dive in and grow more as an actor, and I’m proud to say I have written one TV pilot and three short films. One of my short films is completed and I’m hoping to get into film festivals after Covid-19.

Looking back in retrospect, I’m just proud of myself for never giving up PERIOD.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer Credit – Abigail Gorden, Bobby Quillard, Clarence Alford, and Debra Reed.

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in