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Bebe emerged from near-obscurity in 2005 to become the most talked-about Latin artist in America after she was awarded a shocking five Latin Grammy nominations to become far and away the year's most nominated act.
The Spanish singer/songwriter from Valencia doesn't neatly fit into any stylistic category, which made her Grammy nominations sweep all the more curious. Bearing a strong resemblance to mid- to late-'90s Aterciopelados -- edgy dance-pop songs that brazenly defy gender stereotypes -- as well as more contemporary alternative Latinas such as Natalia LaFourcade, Ely Guerra, and Julieta Venegas, Bebe didn't sound totally out of place when she debuted in 2004 with Pafuera Telarañas. In fact, some described her as Laura Pausini with attitude, while others billed her style as flamenco-punk. Before the wave of attention that followed her Grammy nominations, Bebe was a steadily developing artist with a small buzz. Back in the '90s she sang for a group called Vanagloria, and she subsequently enjoyed a lot of success in Spain as a solo artist, selling hundreds of thousands of albums, scoring numerous hit singles, and winning a few major awards. But it wasn't until 2005 that she crossed over to America in the wake of her Grammy nominations, which were announced almost exactly a year after the stateside release of Pafuera Telarañas. During that year, the album sort of languished in obscurity. That was a shame, because it was a wonderful, colorful, and creative album, on a par with LaFourcade's self-titled debut and Venegas' Sí. In 2006, feeling burnt out with touring, Bebe announced she was going to take an indefinite break from music. That year, she focused on acting, appearing in three films, then did little for the next two years. In 2009, however, she returned with her second album, Y., a more stripped-down, acoustic, and personal affair. The five-year gap had done nothing to hurt her career; the album went straight in at Number One in Spain and was again nominated for a Latin Grammy. Three years later she changed her style up again for the album Un Pokito de Rocanrol. Recorded in Paris with Iranian-born French producer Renaud Letang, it had a raw punk rock energy. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi