As an actress, she has starred in telenovelas that have been broadcast in over 180 countries — earning her a second nickname, “Queen of Telenovelas.” Mexico’s media giant Televisa made her the best-paid telenovela actress in history, while Billboard named her the most recognized Spanish-speaking soap star in the world. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has authored five books, hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, and has designed her own fashion line. In 2011, the Terra Networks included her on its authoritative list of “powerful and iconic women in Latin music,” and in 2017 she was honored with the Hall of Fame Award by People en Español.
Born Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda in Mexico City to parents Ernesto Sodi Pallares and Yolanda Miranda Mange in 1971, the singer/actress was the youngest of five daughters. She lost her father when she was five years old; his death had a devastating effect on her. Thalía was a good student throughout her school years and studied ballet as well as piano. From an early age, she aspired to be an actress and singer. She began singing professionally at ten as part of the children’s group Din Din, and shortly thereafter, in 1983, embarked on an acting career, beginning with a TV Christmas special. Her music career was enhanced in 1986 when she replaced group member Sasha Diez Barroso in the popular teen pop act Timbiriche (whose members also included Paulina Rubio). And her acting career was likewise enhanced in 1987 when she joined the cast of the telenovela Pobre Señorita Limantour, her first of several such roles.
In 1990 Thalía made her solo recording debut with a self-titled album, and in 1992 began starring in a series of “Maria” telenovelas — Maria Mercedes, Maria Mar, and Maria la del Barrio. Her acting complemented her recording career. In 1995 she changed labels from Fonovisa to EMI Latin and released her label debut, En Extasis, which featured her first major international hit, “Piel Morena,” as well as her hit theme song, “Maria la del Barrio.” Latin pop impresario Emilio Estefan, Jr. produced her next album, Amor a la Mexicana (1997), and it too met international success. Estefan also produced her 2000 follow-up, Arrasando, an even bigger success, spawning five hit singles, one of which (“Entre el Mar y una Estrella”) topped the Hot Latin Tracks chart. The album also featured the hit theme song from her concurrent telenovela, Rosalinda. Also in 2000, she married former Sony label head, Tommy Mottola; the couple celebrated the occasion with a three-million-dollar wedding.
Thalia (2002), was largely written and produced by Estéfano, the hitmaker who had taken Paulina Rubio’s career to megastar heights two years earlier with Paulina. Buoyed by a pair of chart-topping singles (“No Me Enseñaste” and “Tu y Yo”), this album was Thalía’s first to hit number one on the Top Latin Albums chart, reaching number 22 on the Top 200 — a feat at the time. In the early 21st century, Thalía tried to cross over into the greater stateside market with English-language versions of her music. These concessions, however, failed to produce the kinds of success she sought.
In 2003 and 2004, a remix and greatest-hits album followed, respectively, and 2005 brought with it a new studio album, El Sexto Sentido, again written and produced primarily by Estéfano. While it was met with a relatively lukewarm reception in the U.S., in Mexico, her popularity — and album sales figures — remained unmatched. Thalía gave birth to her first child in 2007, and released Lunada the following year. Her first live offering, Primera Fila…Un Año Después appeared in 2009.
After a long layoff to concentrate on family and then filming a live DVD, Thalía returned with Habítame Siempre in 2012. It quickly climbed the Latin pop chart. The year 2014 saw the singer release two albums: Viva Kids, Vol. 1 in Mexico (her first children’s record), which received a nomination for a Latin Grammy Award, and Amore Mio, which hit the top spot on Mexico’s charts and cracked the Top 200 in the U.S. It spawned two charting singles. After Mexican and American tours, Thalía released her first fashion collection in United States with Macy’s in 2015, and she spent time on the road promoting it.
Thalía issued the pre-release single “Desde Esa Noche” — featuring a guest spot by reggaeton singer Maluma — a year later. The cut landed inside the Top 20 of the Hot Latin Songs chart and hit number five at Latin Pop Songs. Sergio George produced Latina the following May. There were several featured appearances among its 13 tracks by Silvestre Dangond, De La Ghetto, Chiky Bom Bom “La Pantera,” One Moment, and OMI and Jacob Forever. It topped the Latin Pop Albums chart within a week of release and remained on the list for 26 weeks. ~ Jason Birchmeier .