Hi darling! Nice to meet you 🙂
My name is Maruja Retana (if that’s too overwhelming, you can call me Maru). My mission is to motivate people to follow their dreams 🙂 I’d love to share with you how I went from an ‘ok singer’ to consistently getting the most wonderful praise for my vocals, hearing my songs on the radio, and most importantly: singing in front of large & appreciative audiences all over the world and actually ENJOYING it.
I was inspired to start taking singing seriously, after having a vivid confrontation with my inevitable future (I got Scrooged, basically). You see, after obtaining my Master’s Degree in Cognitive Psychology in 2006, I started working as a psychologist in the Netherlands. Most of my clients were not happy, depressed and/or close to a burnout. Why? Because they were not pursuing their passion. The universe could not have given me a more obvious red flag! Suddenly it hit me that if I kept ignoring what I really wanted to do in life… I would end up on the other side of the sofa. I decided to quit my job and pursue MY passion: music.
There was only one little tiny problem… I really did not know how to sing or how to perform at all, I was far from a natural singer. But deep deep deeeep down I KNEW I had a good voice. I just didn’t know how to let it out! I’d get incredibly nervous, I’d shut down, I would feel the emotion of a song but wouldn’t be able to convey it. My throat would hurt, I wasn’t able to reach high or low notes, and I had no volume. I had no control over my voice at ALL.
I took singing lessons from an amazing teacher and after a few years of obsessive training and researching, I had learned SO much about the voice. The technical part of singing was now basically 100% clear to me. But I still wasn’t performing on the level I wanted to. I built up the confidence to do little gigs here and there, but I still felt like I was faking it…as if sooner or later, they would find out I wasn’t really a singer. I was convinced I was a fraud. An impostor. That’s when I realized: ‘I can learn all the right techniques, but if I don’t truly believe that I can do this, that I am good enough, and that I deserve to be heard…my muscles are going to react to those beliefs first, and it will always prevent my voice from shining. Even worse, it will prevent me from really connecting with my audience. I need to think differently!’ I learned how to sing like a good singer, but maybe even more importantly, I needed to learn how to THINK like a good singer.
Out of this need, Vocal Psychology was born. It changed my life in a spectacular way, and it has profoundly helped my students as well.
Today, I live in beautiful Los Angeles and I spend my day singing, writing and recording songs in the studio with the most talented people in the music industry, something I could only dream of when I was a little girl. I signed with Sony/ATV, worked with several top producers, DJ’s and songwriters ever since, such as Jef Martens (Will.I.Am, Britney Spears), Jorgen Eloffson (Kelly Clarkson), Paul Oakenfold, Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams), Marcus Killian (Flo Rida), Cimo Frankel (Kris Kross, Armin van Buuren), Cass Lowe (Fifth Harmony, Tinashe), Fedde Le Grand, and Tearce Kizzo (Afrojack, Ne-Yo), to name a few. I can still get shy and nervous when I sing, but I know how to not let it get in the way of my voice. I know now what I need to perform at my best, even when the circumstances aren’t ideal (spoiler alert: they never are).
I’m committed to bringing out the best in each unique voice and person. I would love for you to start your own personal revolution. To have the courage to get out of the comfort zone. You CAN sing, you have a beautiful voice that wants to be heard. And cliche as it may sound, I truly believe you can do anything you put your mind to!