Mena Maria was born into an artistic family, her mother, a playwright and her father, a drummer. Both Maria and her brother, Tony, are named after characters from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Her mother is Norwegian and her father is Afro-Nicaraguan.
Her father played in several bands in Oslo, which influenced Mena to write and record her own music. When Mena Maria was nine years old, her parents divorced. She suffered from depression and developed an eating disorder.
When Mena Maria was 13 years old, she moved to live with her father. She sang and wrote lyrics as a form of self-soothing. “My Lullaby”, a song from Mena’s diary, expresses her pain from her parents’ divorce.