Maria was born in Finnsnes, but grew up in Senja, in Troms county, Norway. She first received national media attention when she had her first musical rôle at the age of 11, with the lead in Annie, at the Bryggeteateret in Oslo (1991). Maria and her family moved to Oslo for the musical, and when the show run was over, they moved back to Senja.
She has since performed in several musicals, both in the capital Oslo, and in the county Troms where she grew up.
At the age of 24, she was part of Idol (Norway) in 2004, where she finished 6th. She took part in the Idol Tour 2004, along with other contestants in the top ten.
She released her solo album in 2005, which peaked at #13 on the Norwegian album charts. The single “Breathing” peaked at #5 and was certified gold in Norway, while “Should’ve” peaked at #20. She went on a four month national tour to promote the album.
Maria was the Norwegian representative who performed in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 with the song “Hold On, Be Strong”, written by Mira Craig. The song peaked at #1 in the Norwegian iTunes chart. Currently (February 14, 2008) the song has reached #5 on the Norwegian singles chart.
Maria entered the qualifying rounds in Melodi Grand Prix 2008 on January 18, and was voted through directly to the national final. In the final on February 9, she received the highest number of votes from both the televoting and the jury, which made her the Norwegian representative in the Eurovision Song Contest 2008, which was held on May 20, 22 and 24 in Belgrade, Serbia. She performed ninth in the first Eurovision semi-final on Tuesday 20 May 2008, then qualified for the finals, where she performed as 25th (and last).