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Ana Torroja launched her career as the lead singer of Mecano, one of Spain's most successful pop bands, during the '80s and early '90s. Formed during the early years of the Spanish transition to democracy, Mecano sold over 25 million albums worldwide, with most of the band's popularity centered in Spain, Latin America, Italy, and France. When the band took a break in 1993, Torroja began laying the brickwork for a solo career, which took off toward the end of that decade. Born in Madrid on December 28, 1959, Ana Torroja was encouraged to pay more attention to her academic pursuits than her musical ones. Her studies at the School for Economic Sciences wound up furthering her music career, though, when she met José María Cano at a faculty party. Cano's brother, Nacho, was also a musician, and the three quickly formed the Spanish supergroup Mecano in 1981. The rest of the decade was spent touring the Spanish-speaking world, including Latin America, and releasing a string of popular albums. Eventually, though, the stress of touring led a temporary hiatus for Mecano, with Torroja choosing to take a break from singing at the recommendation of her throat doctors. That break led to a two-year sabbatical when Torroja moved to New York, began traveling around the world, took dance classes, and took up diving as a hobby. When she finally decided that she wanted to sing again, the Cano brothers were both involved in solo projects, so she embarked on one of her own. Torroja released her first album, 1997's Punto Cardinales, after nearly two years of preparation. Shortly after the album's release, the brothers were freed up from their previous responsibilities and Mecano were reborn. The reunion didn't last long, though, with the bandmates releasing one final album in 1998 before breaking up for good. Torroja returned to her solo career by working on a complicated solo project with heavy orchestration and clear pop vocals. Entitled Pasajes de un Sueño and recorded entirely in New York, which by that time had become her long-term base of operations, the album featured the work of Arto Lindsay, Andres Levin, Txetxo Bengoetxea, and Jason Hart. It would take two years until Torroja stepped back into the studio, but in 2002 she teamed with Deep Forest keyboardist Eric Mouquet for her new project, Fragil. Steeped in traditional Spanish music, Mouquet helped her incorporate the music of her roots into a modern pop sound, which she continued exploring on her later albums. ~ Stacia Proefrock & Andrew Leahey