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Ana Maria Alias Vega, commonly known by her artistic name, Pasión Vega, was born in Madrid on April 23, 1976. She grew up in Malaga, first performing publicly in church choirs and small Christian groups. Her first recordings were with a Christian group called Los Misioneros de la Esperanza (MIES) while she was still in her teens. Vega got her feet wet in the recording industry through a local radio competition, the prize for which would be a professionally recorded single. She won the competition a few years in a row, and started being noticed by local media professionals. Vega continued to participate in regional festivals and competitions, winning the attention of not only her audiences but also the press. In 1996 she recorded her first solo album, Un Toque de Distincion, for the Sevillian record label La Voz del Sur. Her debut was quickly followed by Con al Alma en los Labios in 1997 and Corona de Perlas in 2000, both with La Voz del Sur. The regional success of these first few recordings opened doors at the multinational BMG, with whom she released her self-titled major-label debut in 2001. As her discography with Sony/BMG grew, so did her international renown and credibility. Following Banderas de Nadie (2003), Flaca de Amor placed in Billboard's Top European Albums chart. Released in 2006, La Reina del Pay-Pay boasts not only a wide array of musical influences (jazz, tropical, blues, etc.), but also contributions from some of Spain's most notable songwriters (including Joaquín Sabina and Pancho Varona). Gracias a la Vida, an album of covers, followed in 2009, and Sin Compasión in 2011. In 2012 she released a greatest hits disc, Grandes Éxitos. Two live albums were also issued, En el Maestranza in 2005 and En Buenos Aires in 2009, the latter off the back of a push to market her in South America with the 2008 compilation Pura Pasión. In 2010 Vega was awarded the Medal of Andalusia for her exceptional artistic achievements. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez