Maruja Retana is a fiery young singer/songwriter who embraces and epitomizes dualities. Born of Costa Rican and Dutch heritage, she attributes the unique mixture of her exotic and practical nature to her diverse cultural heritage. Today, she is as talented at singing as she is at dancing and as artful at producing as she is at performing. From the tender age of ten, Maruja knew that music was the passion that ignited her soul. A year later she took up the piano and immediately began writing pop songs while learning the basics of classical and jazz piano. Having always felt music to be the primal expression of emotion and movement, she studied flamenco and never missed a beat on the dance floor. Always fascinated with the human mind, she received a masters degree in Psychology from the University of Maastricht. During this time, she appeared on her first released vinyl record at the age of 20. She has worked extensively with (and lent her vocals to) such famous Dutch artists as DJ Montana, DJ Mark Norman, Envotion, to name a few. She has graced many productions with her stunning vocals--a mixture of soaring ethereal beauty and deep, earthy soulful jazz. At the request of her supportive fans, she bit the bullet and appeared on the TV contest X-Factor in 2006, making it all the way to the final six contestants and getting some serious TV air time. Coach Henkjan Smits praised her for her intelligence, musical skills, quick learning abilities and radiant charisma. Her fellow contestants described her as warm and laidback, both in terms of her character as well as her sound. Today, she is as likely to be behind the next club-banging mega anthem heard on a Saturday night as she is behind a microphone in a quaint cafe singing old jazz favorites. She heads two bands, and can be seen performing gigs on a regular basis throughout the Netherlands. For her, she simply loves to do it all and no one and nothing can get in her way when she gets going. You can recognize her on the street by her stunning smile, but to know the real her you have to see her perform!