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Nicknamed "La Nina Azul," jazz-blues vocalist Virginia Labuat has been described as Spain's most distinctive talent show winner. Born Virginia Maestro Diaz in Jaen in 1982, she grew up listening to the likes of Janis Joplin, Ray Charles, and Otis Redding, and after picking up the guitar at age 12, went on to perform in various local bands and study music at the University of Seville. Her big break came in 2008 when she entered the sixth series of Operacion Triunfo, where performances of Radiohead's "Creep," Nina Simone's "My Baby Just Cares for Me," and Mike Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow" helped her to beat Pablo Lopez in the final. Following her victory, she joined forces with the show's judge and her biggest champion, Risto Mejide, and alt pop producers the Pinker Tones to form Labuat, who went on to release their self-titled debut in 2009 and support Beyoncé on the Barcelona leg of her I Am tour. In 2011, she announced that she was to record under the name Virginia Labuat and issued her second album, Dulce Hogar, later that year. ~ Jon O'Brien
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