Known for her powerful voice and bold expressiveness, Mónica Naranjo is a Latin pop singer/songwriter from Spain whose popularity extends from Europe to the Americas. Her music is dynamic, often leaning toward cutting-edge dance music. Her popularity peaked in the late '90s with the release of Palabra de Mujer (1997), though she has retained a hardcore following over time, even after taking years off between albums, as was the case with Tarántula (2008), her first album of all-original material in seven years.
Born on May 23, 1974, in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, Naranjo made her recording debut at a young age, releasing Monica Naranjo in 1994 on Sony. Produced by Cristóbal Sansano, the self-titled album proved popular in Latin America as well as Europe, spawning a series of hit singles including "El Amor Coloca," "Sola," and "Sólo Se Vive una Vez." The follow-up album Palabra de Mujer (1997) was an even greater success, particularly in Spain. Again produced by Cristóbal Sansano, Palabra de Mujer spawned another round of hit singles including "Desátame," "Pantera en Libertad," "Las Campanas del Amor," and "Entender el Amor."
Naranjo's third album, Minage (2000), marked a change in her career trajectory. Following two multi-million-selling international smash hit albums, the singer/songwriter released a decidedly uncommercial album, a full-fledged tribute to Italian diva Mina Mazzini. While her record label wasn't especially pleased with her decision to release such an album, just as some of her fans weren't thrilled with her turn away from commercial pop, Minage still sold over a million copies worldwide, spawned a few hits, most notably "Sobreviviré," and remains a favorite of many fans.
In contrast to Minage, Chicas Malas (2001), Naranjo's fourth album, is a dance-pop album through and through. Her most collaborative effort to date, it includes the singles "Chicas Malas," "Sacrificio," "No Voy a Llorar," and "Ain't Better Like This." An English-language version, Bad Girls, was released in 2003. After a couple more years, Colección Privada (2005), a greatest-hits collection featuring a new single, "Enamorada de Ti," was released. Not until 2008, a long seven years since Chicas Malas, her last album of all-original material, did Naranjo release her next album, Tarántula. Led by the smash hit comeback single "Europa," Tarántula was an all-around success, topping the Spanish charts and garnering acclaim from fans as well as critics. A tour followed, which resulted in Adagio, a CD/DVD release featuring recordings from the tour. By early 2013, Naranjo was putting the final touches to her sixth studio album, Lubna. In the interim, she released 4.0, in 2014. It was a stopgap collection of "electrorock reworkings"—essentially elaborate remixes—of some of her hits. In 2015, "Jamás," the first pre-release single from Lubna was issued and reached number two in Spain. In early January, "Fin" was released as a second pre-release, followed at the end of the month by Lubna and its third track, "Perdida." Both the singles and the album reached number one on their respective Spanish charts. ~ Jason Birchmeier