Emilio Maya was born into a Gypsy family in Molvizar, a village just outside of Granada. At the age of eight he began to play the guitar, winning his first prize at a festival in Lanjaron at the age of twelve, where he was the youngest guitarist.
In 1980 he began to play in the flamenco clubs (known as Peñas) all over Andalusia, accompanying many different singers and dancers.
In 1984 he moved to Seville, where he worked with the flamenco company at the Curro Velez in El Arenal, sharing the stage with artists such as Carmen Montoya, Lalo Tejada, El Lele, Juan Manuel Flores, El Toro, etc.
In 1987, along with the celebrated jazz percussionist Frank Holder, he began a fruitful collaboration which would bring him to share the billing with Fairport Convention at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Following which he collaborated on a film by the director Manfred Wafender, with music by Miles Davis, presented by the BBC.
In 1990, with his own group, Grupo Maya, he performed in the theatre Isabel La Catolica in Granada along with artists such as Jose Merce, Aurora Vargas, Juan Habichuela, etc. From this moment, he began working more and more outside of Spain, particularly with the formation of a duo with Nono Garcia which took him to France, Belgium and Holland. He has since become one of the most respected guitarists in Andalusia, collaborating frequently with not only flamenco artists but with artists of many different styles of music.
One example of his many collaborations in the world of flamenco was during the centenary of the birth of Federico Garcia Lorca when he accompanied the renowned flamenco singer Enrique Morente, or with the performances of his own group, Grupo Maya two years running at the International Festival of Music and dance in Granada. Other collaborations that stand out have been accompanying singers such as La Nitra, Chonchi Heredia, Estrella Morente, Marina Heredia, and dancers such as Juan Ramirez, Juan Andres Maya and Ana Cali. He also performed in Brazil with Antonio Canales and Juan de Juan on their 2001 tour.
His versatility is demonstrated by his work with artists such as Jorge Pardo, Ruben Dantas, the Orchestra Andalusi of Tetu?n in Morocco as well as the Orchestra Andalusi of Tangiers, with whom he performed at the Arabian lnstitute in Paris. Emilio Maya has always complemented his artistic work with his work as a teacher at the flamenco school Carmen de las Cuevas in Granada.