Latvia's first-ever winner at the Eurovision Song Contest, Marie N was born Marija Naumova on June 23, 1973. A regular on Latvian TV talent shows during the mid-'90s and a star of a locally produced musical version of Theodore Dreiser's Carrie, she garnered further attention in 1997 at a concert marking the 100th birthday of George Gershwin. She signed her first recording contract the following year and released her debut album -- a collection of songs by Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls, sung wholly in Russian -- that same year.
Shortly before the release of her second album, Ieskaties Acîs (Look Into My Eyes), Marie N was selected to perform at the Latvian Eurovision qualifying contest in 2000. Her "For You My Friends" ultimately finished a credible runner-up (to Brainstorm, who went on to finish third at the finals), but she confirmed her superstardom when Ieskaties Acîs won a gold disc within two weeks of release. (It went platinum within the year.)
Marie N was again unlucky at the Eurovision qualifiers in 2001, despite overwhelming public support for her effort, "Hey Boy Follow Me," but her third album, Ma Voix, Ma Voie, featuring French-language versions of traditional Latvian songs, was another massive hit, and she was finally selected to represent her country at Eurovision in 2002, performing "I Wanna" while executing an astonishing dance routine. She proved the runaway victor, Latvia's first-ever Eurovision winner.
Marie N's next album was released in both English- (On a Journey) and Latvian-language (Noslçpumi) versions. Since then she has released two further LPs, Nesauciet Sev lîdzi in 2004 and Another Dream in 2005, and starred as lead character Maria in a Latvian production of the musical The Sound of Music. 2005 also saw her elected a UNESCO goodwill ambassador.