Bahama mama 

While some soon-to-be mothers might react to raging hormones by strapping in their bellies for a bumpy ride on an emotional rollercoaster, Latin Grammy-award nominee and former telenovela superstar Thalía decided to take all of her pent-up frustration and exhaustion and use it more proactively during the final months of her pregnancy late last year.

It had been over two years since the Latina pop singer born Ariadna Thalía Sodi Miranda released her last album, El sexto sentido (The Sixth Sense), a bilingual collection produced by Colombian songwriter Estéfano, who previously worked with such artists as Gloria Estefan,
Paulina Rubio, and Chayanne.

Although Sentido received a lukewarm reception in the U.S., Thalía still felt there was more inside her (metaphorically) that she wanted to let out. Anxious to determine how a life experience like giving birth would affect her as an artist, the Mexico City native began to focus on a pastime she always enjoyed but could not partake in while pregnant: going to the beach.

“I started to think about a new album when I was eight months pregnant last year,” Thalía, 36, says during a phone interview from New York City. “I couldn’t handle `my pregnancy` anymore. `The baby` was so big and heavy and I was so hot and I just started thinking about the beach and bikinis and strawberry daiquiris and friends. I started getting obsessed by the thought of it.”

Her mild, seaside-instigated neurosis lingered for another month until she and her husband, American music executive Tommy Mottola (ex-husband of Mariah Carey), had their daughter, Sabrina Sakaë, in October 2007. Now, it was time for Thalía to give birth again: this time to her next studio album.

Lunada (loosely translated as a celebration under the moonlight) began to develop once Thalía reconnected with producer Emilio Estefan Jr., who she worked with during 1995’s En éxtasis, 1997’s Amor a la Mexicana, 2000’s Arrasando and her 2002 self-titled album. Her collaborations with Estefan have consistently provided her with her greatest successes. Of the 20-million albums she’s sold worldwide in her career, her four efforts with Estefan make up approximately 13 million of those sales. Thalía hopes her reunion with Estefan continues to generate hits, this time for an album which centers on a simple, core message: Live life to the fullest, especially during the summer months.

“In Lunada, I wanted to invoke all my favorite summery songs of all time,” Thalía says. “I started to think about the time of my adolescence and the songs I would listen to during the summer. I was pulling together all my favorite songs and writing new songs in the process.”

One of these songs is a non-traditional lullaby written for her daughter called “Bendita” (“Blessed”), an upbeat pop song that praises her newborn for being her “air, fresh breath, eternal life, and child of God.”

“I told Emilio and the musicians that I needed a song that was pop reggae and middle-tempo,” she says. “I wanted something that would make you move and bounce. One day, I was listening to the `instrumental` track they came up with while driving to the studio and immediately felt the melody and immediately had these lyrics I needed to write down. I pulled any piece of paper I could find and started writing. When I arrived at the studio I said, ‘We need to work on this song now.’”

Thalía lovingly acknowledges that the birth of Sabrina is the reason Lunada was “the easiest album” she has ever recorded.

“When I became a mother it changed my world; it changed everything,” she says. “When you become a mother, you understand the human condition. You understand your parents. You understand life from a different angle and perspective. That definitely had a lot to do with the new music that I am doing.”

Along with “Bendita,” Lunada hosts a number of multilayered songs, from the album’s first single, “Ten paciencia” (“Have Patience”), a catchy, rhythmic, and sexualized escapade, to “Sangre caliente” (“Hot Blood”), a marimba-driven tune with tropical flare, to “Será porque te amo” (“It’s Because I Love You”), which, unfortunately, sounds like the opening theme song to every stereotypical Spanish soap opera ever produced.

“When people listen to this album, I want them to feel freedom, to feel easygoing,” Thalía says. “It’s an album about going to the beach with your friends, starting a fire, and playing the guitar and dancing. It’s about spending the day on the beach until nighttime and just having fun, enjoying the moment, and laughing about everything. That’s what Lunada is.”

This talk inevitably begs the question: What is Thalía’s idea of a perfect summer-vacation locale?

“Beautiful white sand, turquoise oceans, laying down with an umbrella over my head and feeling the sun on my legs and having a delicious Bahama Mama on my side and hearing music from a bar far, far away and hearing the ocean. Maybe it’s Tahiti or Mexico or the Philippines. Wherever they have this place, I’m in.”

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