A spunky young guitar rocker with an abundance of attitude, Belén Arjona began her career as a rising star exclusive to her native Spain -- until a surprise 2006 Latin Grammy nomination, that is, which garnered some international attention for the twentysomething madrileña. Born Belén Arjona García in Madrid on October 5, 1981, she claims to have begun singing at age three, later learning to play guitar at 13 and forming her first band at 16. Her influences are wide-ranging, from Janis Joplin and Ella Fitzgerald, to Alanis Morissette and Tahures Zurdos, to the Prodigy and Garbage.
With her band in tow, Arjona signed a contract with Warner Music Spain and proceeded to record her debut album, O Te Mueves O Caducas (2003). Produced by Juan Sueiro and released when she was only 21 years old, O Te Mueves O Caducas spun off a number of hit singles: the title track, "Me Voy de Fiesta," "Si No Estás," and "Sangre en la Nevera." Arjona got plenty of airplay on MTV España, and once her debut album ran its course commercially, Warner issued an edición especial of O Te Mueves O Caducas in January 2005, adding a DVD and several bonus tracks to the original track listing. The most notable addition is a cover of "Vivir sin Aire," a rock en español classic originally performed by Maná in 1994. Yet another hit single with an accompanying video, Arjona's cover is a duet with Maná lead singer Fher Olvera.
In summer 2005, not long after "Vivir sin Aire" faded away, Warner released Arjona's second album, Infinito, produced by Alejo Stivel. Showcasing a more thoughtful range of topics amid its lyrics, the album spun off a few singles -- the title track, "No Habrá Más Perdón," and "Sola Otra Vez" -- and featured a cover of Aerosmith's "Crying," retitled in Spanish as "Y Lloré." Moreover, Infinito was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2006 (Best Rock Solo Vocal Album). The award ultimately went to Gustavo Cerati for Ahí Vamos (2006), yet the nomination alone was a tremendous honor for the young singer/songwriter/guitarist. Up until this point, she hadn't yet garnered any significant attention beyond Spain, and with this nomination came publicity, resulting in comparisons to fellow young Latina guitar rocker JD Natasha as well as more than a few notices of Arjona as "la Avril Lavigne española." ~ Jason Birchmeier