WRITTEN AND TRANSLATED by Emmanuel Garcia
Paulina Rubio is an international superstar. With a line of jeans to be introduced on Sept. 11, a new Spanish-language album that goes on sale Sept. 19 and a tour that will kick off shortly thereafter, Rubio is busier than ever.
All of this probably explains why our interview was rescheduled four times. So I had to extend a wait—which had begun a year ago when she was on tour—a few days longer, but finally the opportunity to interview Latin music's Golden Girl ( La Chica Dorada ) came about. She was taking a break to reinvent, re-energize, and re-establish herself as arguably the reigning monarch of Latin pop.
If you had to put her into a group, she would be right next to Shakira, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez. Her Golden Girl nickname represents her sun-kissed skin tone, blonde hair and ability to sell records.
Her career started out in Timbirichi ( think Mickey Mouse Club ) , a group of young kids eager for stardom. While most of them have found success as adults, Rubio went on to change the landscape of Latin pop music, incorporating traditional instruments with synthesized pop beats.
Rubio's image is as nontraditional as her music. As she continues to break ground in new markets, her skirts get shorter. Don't let the blonde hair fool you; this girl has a good head on her shoulders.
She is yet another artist who has crossed over to the Anglo music market. Rubio's mainstream success on this side of the border occurred in 2002 with her debut English-language album Border Girl, which included her Billboard chart hits Fire ( Sexy Dance ) and Don't Say Goodbye. She appeals to fans who can speak both English and Spanish, and has gained new followers in search of a new face and sound.
A la Madonna, Rubio has developed an accent—not from her native Mexico but that of her current home, Spain. Ananda, the name of her new album, means happiness, and I was extremely happy to speak with her about her what a diva does to come back better than ever.
Identity: The name of this magazine is Identity. How do you identify?
Paulina Rubio: I identify with colors, with life, and with feelings.
I: The name of your new album is Ananda. What does that mean?
PR: Ananda is the name of my house. I have a little studio inside Ananda, and Ananda means felicity … happiness. When I start [ ed ] learning about yoga, I found many different words that I start doing research and learning from them, and Ananda was one of the first ones and that's why I named my house [ and new album ] Ananda.
I: You have written three of the songs on this record. What inspired those songs?
PR: Tu y Yo, Ayudame, [ and ] Vamos Todas Juntos [ are the songs ] . Each one was inspired in that very moment. They have different meanings. Ayudame speaks of not being able to enjoy yourself without being with the person you love. You and I [ Tu y Yo ] stresses a life without that person. We Go All Together [ Vamos Todas Juntos ] is about what we should be doing to live, to transcend war… and the violence; it is a song with a message of self-help that, in some way and form, is going to pervade the whole planet.
I: What do you think about the chaotic Mexican election?
PR: I think that the PAN [ The National Action Party ] is the best option and the best election for Mexico at this moment; I believe and I trust that democracy exists in my country. I believe and I trust that little by little the PRD [ The Party of the Democratic Revolution ] is going to lose followers for its lack of seriousness and because of its ego. He [ Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ] has an ego without being president. Imagine! It's a good thing he didn't win. But definitely the best one won.
I: You have multiple homes. Where do you reside?
PR: Between Miami, Madrid and Los Angeles.
I: Is Madrid where you've gotten your Spanish accent?
PR: Well, my accent depends on where I'm at and with whom. My accent is a little mixed.
I: You've been in the entertainment business for a long time. What advice would you give some of the newcomers?
PR: I believe that the important part is not to arrive, but maintain longevity. I believe that at the difficult moments, when you want to throw in the towel, is when you have to be more focused and work harder to continue ahead. I believe that, in this career, competition is healthy, because it helps you to leave the mediocrity and to make things that are different.
I: What is different about this new record?
PR: I think the language, the mix, the freshness, the nostalgia, the fusion [ and ] the creativity are the different aspects of Ananda. I believe that it's important to take some time off in order to reconnect with the light and in order for you to go back to your roots and be able to share and just to be able to feel when you open your heart to life the light comes inside you and that's when the messages come back to you.
I don't like to be repetitive. It has been a really good year, I'm really glad that I was able to take a sabbatical. Also, [ I was ] able to find those love letters, those songs, those messages.
I: You have a large gay fan base. What are your thoughts on being the It Girl to these fans?
PR: I love the gay community; I love you. I have the honor to say that some of my better friends are gay. They are the most creative and direct. I respect them and I like them to respect me in the same way. I believe and support a free planet; I believe that it's much better to live in harmony, together and in social circles where it is accepted to be yourself than to be bitter, in the closet and livid.
I: What is something you've noticed about the Latino gay community on a cultural level?
PR: I believe that, in all of humanity's civilizations, we've always had these topics. I think that the more sophisticated we are as human beings, the more we are going to respect other religions, sexual preferences and races. For me, it's not so important if you eat meat or vegetables— [ or ] if you like men or women. For me the important thing is that you are a positive person who tries to live in harmony and what needs to be outlasted need to be violence and wars. I respect other people's ways of living.
I: You've been in the spotlight since you were a little girl. As a woman, how do you maintain a level of normalcy?
PR: I promote yoga and sports—especially activities that you can do outdoors. I think that when you get out of the daily routine, to connect with a physical sport or [ even ] a cultural activity, such as art, that's when your senses are heightened. In order to stay sane in this business, which is very difficult, I try to surround myself with people who love me [ and I ] listen to constructive criticism that will help me keep my feet on the ground. [ I try ] to always have good books and things that will nourish my mind and distract me from my day-to-day routine and personal problems.
I: Who is an author you would like people to read?
PR: I would like for people to read Descartes, and for them to see how he changed many forms of thinking with respect to religion.
I: You are into Kaballah. What would you say to naysayers who call it a fad?
PR: I study Kaballah—which isn't a religion, but a wisdom. I think that you have to study something that will work for you that will motivate you. I think this trend is turning massive. There are things that help you in this moment when there is so much chaos in the world; that helps you connect and find the light; [ and ] that frees you from the judgment of others.
I: Is Chicago on the top of your tour list?
PR: I love Chicago! I've had my best concerts EVER there. I love you with bites and tongue kisses. [ Both laugh. ]
I: Favorite quote?
PR: Water that you shouldn't drink, let it run.
To read the Spanish version of this interview, log on to emmanuelgarcia.blogspot.com .