Maria Becoates-Bey knows the path to being a performing artist takes patience, perseverance, hard work and dedication.
Becoates-Bey, a Pittsburgh native and Point Park University alumna, certainly is living proof, having been performing professionally for more than 30 years. On top of professionally performing, she holds a day job as a marketing coordinator.
As an inside look into the music industry, Becoates-Bey shares how her passion produced a profession.
Becoates-Bey’s love for music and the arts flows from her childhood. Though she was born in Swissvale, Becoates-Bey spent her elementary years in Wilkinsburg where she remembers hearing her parents playing classics by Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, funk music, jazz and more.
Some of Becoates-Bey’s first gigs were at a very young age, serenading and doing her own performances at family celebrations.
She also grew up singing in the church choir. “I never knew I would [sing] for a living, I just liked to do it,” says Becoates-Bey.
“I just feel like it was always in me.”
After moving back to Swissvale in middle school, Becoates-Bey found herself playing albums found in the basement over and over again ranging from Aretha Franklin to Barbra Streisand. She treasures the times when her father played Stevie Wonder’s album “Songs in the Key of Life.”
By the time Becoates-Bey reached middle school, she knew singing was something she loved doing and had dreams of becoming a “singing star.”
To bring action to her love of singing and performing, a family friend gave Becoates-Bey a gift for her to participate in a summer acting program. She also performed in some high school musicals.
While noticing Becoates-Bey’s talent and tenacity, her high school adviser encouraged her to apply to Point Park University for musical theater. Becoates-Bey landed an audition and was admitted into the program.
Throughout her career, she has performed in musicals like ‘The Wiz,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Tin Types,” Constant Star,” “The Goodbye Girl,” “Beehive,” “Hair,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and films like “The Haunting Hours,” “Renegade Force,” “Iron Maze” and “Hammerlock”. She recently had a cameo appearance in the recent “What If” movie directed by Pittsburgh native Billy Porter.
Becoates-Bey has performed at numerous events such as weddings, fundraising galas, corporate events, The Cleveland Clinic and Museum of Art, and most recently Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, where she can be seen and heard while accompanied by drummer George Heid III, pianist Daniel May, bass player Dwayne Dolphin and others.
Becoates-Bey was not shy in sharing that performing takes a lot of work, and rehearsals can be both tedious and exhausting. “Working a day job and wearing too many hats right now, it’s a struggle getting to gigs and shows,” says Becoates-Bey.
Nevertheless, because of her love and passion for the arts, Becoates-Bey is vigilant. When stepping on stage, the hard work and effort is worthwhile. She describes singing and performing as a “stress buster.”
“It makes me feel good,” says Becoates-Bey. When singing, she tries to touch the audience’s hearts in a way that it would inspire them to think and reflect on situations they have been in, whether bad or good.
“At the end of the day I want the music to touch their hearts and make them feel good, and hopefully it would inspire them in some way, somehow,” says Becoates-Bey. “Help their day, encourage them, uplift their spirits.”
As a word to aspiring artists, Becoates-Bey says to “pursue your dreams. Hone in on your craft, study, and practice, practice, practice. Learn from others but try not to compare yourself to others in a way that makes you feel less adequate….,and most importantly, don’t give up.”
“Do what you do and do it well,” says Becoates-Bey, a quote famously said by Walt Disney.
You can hear Becoates-Bey perform Monday, July 31, at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood. Visit this website for the full schedule.