Queen of Latin Pop: Thalia Looks Back On A Decade of Reigning
In Greek mythology, Thalia is the goddess of festivities and rich banquets. In our world, you probably know Thalia—”the queen of Latin pop”— best for her crossover hit with Fat Joe in 2003, “I Want You.”
But “I Want You” was just a blip on the radar for Thalia, who has been one of the most popular Latin artists of the last two decades. Yes, I just said two decades, meaning Thalia has been belting out hits for the last 20 years—possibly before some of our readers were born?
Forget fifteen minutes of fame. Thalia, who has dabbled in acting as well—sat down to chat with us all about her first taste of success (buying her own house in Bel Air with a Rolls Royce convertible out front), how she balances her priorities (she actually lays it out for us), and some obstacles she has faced along the way (Lyme disease is a bitch).
Enjoy her wisdom, plus some bomb photos involving vintage Christian Lacroix + cute male models in Versace underwear.
What would you tell a young Thalia about the journey ahead as a singing and acting superstar?
I would tell her to never doubt her inner voice, and to never stop being fun, innocent, sweet and loving. Always cultivate compassion for others and especially for herself, and not be judgemental with herself. And please, please, please enjoy the process! It is not as important as it looks. Everything will happen at the right time.
How do you stay so youthful as if time hasn’t passed? What’s your secret?
I’ve been through so many wars in my life! I have had so many falls and internal scars that I just don’t take things so seriously anymore. Battling the death of my father at six years old, working in show business at seven, dealing with fame as a teen, and fast forward to leaving my country, living 24/7 in a new place and speaking another language, fighting Lyme disease for more than 12 years, and my mom’s death, amongst other battles— makes you appreciate life in a different way.
Before, I took life too seriously, and I was super nervous about what people had to say about me . Then, I changed my own perception— meaning, I understood that everything others think of me is NOT me. I learned that what others think of me is a deformed perception that they have created based on how they see their own lives. So, once I identified all of that, and once I learned to further love and respect my emotions and myself, I became lighter and happier. Hence, less stress, less worries, more youthful.
Has it been tough to balance work and family?
Not easy at all, but once you develop your own formula, you find your flow. In my case, it’s a three factor formula:
My priority in life is my kids, my family. I have to organize that first. It is all about finding quality time to create fabulous memories with them, and build trust and love.
#2 Team Work
To be successful in juggling family and professional goals, you need an amazing team that can support you while you are busy at home. It is of utmost importance to find professional partners who will keep your business going at all times, 24/7.
#3 Zero Guilt
You are always going to feel guilty if you are focusing on one and pushing the other one to the side. Meaning, if you are working, you are always wondering how the family, kids, and home are doing. And when you are home, you are always thinking things such as, “I need to have a conference call with the jewelry team,” or “I need to get the next video going,” or “We need the pictures for approval as soon as possible.”
It is normal to feel that something is incomplete when you are not there, but that’s just an illusion. As long as you have a team and you are supervising everything, nothing will get affected.
If you had to choose one, would you act or sing for your career?
I find that the two of them are faces of the same coin. When you are singing, you are basically acting out a story. So, whoever listens to the song will also get into that frame of mind. Furthermore, if you act and you sing, you can get incredible opportunities in the kind of movies that allow you to dance, sing, and act such as classic musicals. I can’t choose one over the other! Both have the same importance in my universe.
Looking back, is there anything you would change?
Definitely, and it doesn’t have to do with my career at all. It’s more about friendships. Looking back, I never had a chance to really cultivate close friendships, and now my circle is very small. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends, I’m not complaining, but if I could change something, I would put more effort into finding more friends and keeping in touch with them through the years.
What’s next for Thalia?
Everything! As long as there’s life and my heart is beating, there are always new ideas, new horizons, and new paths to be discovered. I believe it is our duty to work towards making the world a better place for our children. It is in a state of imminent change, and if we work together, we can do so much for our planet, for our people, and for our culture and traditions! This is a vulnerable time in human history and we all can help with the healing with what we know. In my case, I believe music is a healing agent. For as long as I can, I plan on creating, writing, singing and producing music. I don’t want to do this for selfish reasons, but because of gratitude and because I believe in the power of healing through music.
Out of your extensive repertoire of hits, which would be your favorite or favorites?
So many! I think of my songs like every one of them is a petal forming a beautiful rose. Therefore, it is impossible to tell you which one is my favorite. Although, I can mention some of the ones that have been pivotal in my career: “Piel Morena,” “Amor a la Mexicana,” “Entre el Mar y una Estrella,” “Las Marías,” “Equivocada,” “Arrasando,” “I Want You,” and so many more! It humbles me to know that people love them and have made them part of their go-to playlist.
What do you listen to in your free time?
Blues, jazz, “Buena Vista Social Club,” Sade, 80’s, electronic… I just love music! I love to explore and keep learning. There are so many styles and so many great musicians, writers, and singers.
Tell us something no one knows about you and your fans would be surprised to learn.
That every day I wake up with my body in pain! I feel like a bus ran over me! I fight Lyme Disease every single hour of my life. It is a moody illness. Some days I feel better than others, some days I feel terrible and when I am lucky, I feel brand new! I have learned to live my life “mind over matter” and no matter how I am feeling, I jump out of bed every morning and get into my routine. Discipline is my best friend. Exercise, a healthy diet, a positive frame of mind, staying focused and living a life of gratitude are the best combo to survive living with Lyme.
What’s your most precious memory?
Everything from my childhood. My mom, my sisters, my neighborhood, my Mexico. All those colors painted the woman I am today. I feel lucky that I had a great childhood and I treasure those memories, especially the food! When my mother cooked, her food was out of this world! And the best part? When she served the food, and on top of that, kissed my forehead… priceless.
Your greatest milestone?
Learning English. Really! When you’re born in a bilingual family, you don’t even realize how important that gift is. Seriously, it is a gift! I had to learn English late in life, and it was difficult— not impossible—but difficult. I went to French school so my second language was mainly French. So, being able to speak in English was definitely a big milestone for me. I never imagined that one day my kids were going to have full conversations with me in English! Now, I make sure we work on their Spanish skills every single day because I don’t want them to go through the same experience I went through, especially nowadays when Spanish has become, in my opinion, the second most important language in the world.
The moment you knew you had made it?
You are going to laugh with this one. In 1989 I bought my first house in LA, and not just anywhere—a house in Bel Air. And, my first Rolls-Royce, a blue Corniche convertible. So THAT right there was the moment when a very naive Thalia realized that she had made it! Not bad for a teenager, right?
PHOTOGRAPHY + CREATIVE DIRECTION: PRINCE AND JACOB
STYLING: JOEY THAO
MAKEUP: ETIENNE ORTEGA
HAIR: JESUS GUERRERO
Location Provided by Houston Hospitality