Future diva – My little daughter, she’s 6 in October. I tell her, “Mommy is gonna go on tour. You’re coming with me.” She says, “And I’m gonna be onstage. I wanna sing the ‘Dora (the Explorer)’ song that you sing with Dora.” I don’t think the musicians know the “Dora” song. It’s so funny.
Time off – Rock climbing is my favorite thing. Just to go out in nature, take a little hike with a group of friends. Breathe and have a little snack or protein bar and just enjoy life, enjoy beauty.
Being a child star – The quick way of the Internet changed everything. From one moment to the other, you have big stars because of YouTube and loading one video. That makes it very vain. It’s not about being famous. It’s about the connection that you create with someone else. It’s about finding your magic element. It could be your voice. It could be acting. It could be writing. It could be drawing. You want to just share it with somebody and make a change in the life of whoever receives your work.
It’s strange, really, to think of Thalía as part of Latin pop music’s old guard. The Mexican superstar’s music and attitude still have a fresh, vibrant air.
Her solo debut album, issued in 1990, followed stints in kiddie group Timbiriche, alongside fellow diva-in-training Paulina Rubio, and as the heroine in classicnovela (soap opera) “Quinceañera”. Thalía’s first several albums were fluffy pop trifles, but her sound eventually matured, fusing a kitschy pop sensibility with regional Mexican elements, aggressive club sounds and rock.
She deconstructed her signature glam image and sound even further for 2009’s acclaimed “Primera fila” (“First row”) and last year’s “Habítame siempre”, both of which mixed originals and covers with a bevy of special guests.
“There were a lot of little triggers that made me realize that life is now, life is happening while we’re preoccupied with stupidities”, Thalía says. “Of course, growing. Of course, becoming a mother and understanding life from another perspective. I also got the Lyme disease thing (in 2008) and was in a battle for 2½ years. That made me realize how important and how simple life is. How vulnerable we are. I wanted to go out and sing in the same jeans that I used to (wear to) play with my daughter on the floor, my same sneakers, just a ponytail, and who cares? Just focus on the songs and pour my soul into them.”
She’s still nature-defyingly gorgeous in her early 40s, but it’s no longer a hyperprocessed, pop-diva sparkle. Gone are the intricate corsets and gowns made of flowers and teddy bears. In 2000, Thalía married music mogul Tommy Mottola, who was previously wed to Mariah Carey. Daughter Sabrina Sakaë was born in 2007, and son Matthew Alejandro was born in 2011. The entire family will join her on the road.
“My kids are my no. 1 priority. They’re the light in my everyday life. The sunshine. The miracle. Those eyesThose smiles”, Thalía says. “At the same time, I have an extended, amazing family that is my audience. All these people have been with me for such a long time. I have these two responsibilities.”
That fan base has been carefully built via Thalía’s enterprising spirit, which has included clothing and homeware lines, an eyewear collection, perfumes, a radio show and a series of self-help books. And, of course, the novelasHer string of Spanish-language soap operas – “María Mercedes” (1992), “Marimar” (1994), “María la del Barrio” (1995) and “Rosalinda” (1999) – broke ratings records around the world and cemented Thalía’s superstar status. Everyone from grade-school kids to grandmothers likely has a memory associated with one of her rags-to-riches characters.
Thalía released an English-language album in 2003, hoping to ride the wave of crossover stars Shakira and Enrique Iglesias. It didn’t quite work, though first single “I want you” became a Top 30 Billboard hit. She has since gone on to record duets with Michael Bublé, Robbie Williams and Tony Bennett.
The current Viva Tour, her first in almost a decade, includes just five dates, though there are plans to visit Spain and South America. Most of Thalía’s previous Houston appearances have been limited to promotional stops, including a performance during the 2005 Selena Vive tribute special from Reliant Stadium.
“In 10 years, everything happened to me”, she says. “I became a mother. I got another perspective on life. My music changed with me. My singing evolved. I’m excited to face my audience at this moment in my life where I feel incredibly happy and confident and relaxed with everything, especially my career. I finally have the time to enjoy myself onstage.”
Saturday’s show includes an appearance by Tejano singer Bobby Pulido. And Thalía promises to try to showcase every side of her still-evolving sound.
“This show has a lot of the elements of my last two albums. They’re more organic, more about the music, more about the singing”, she says. “My previous albums were explosions and dancers and big, extravagant costumes. This show is very challenging for me, because I wanna keep true to who I am right now, but I know the layers of the cake. Some of my fans want me to just dance and go crazy and wear flashy outfits. I’m trying to make it happen, to do a hybrid. It’s very different layers of this big, beautiful cake.”