The music of Elvis Presley has been revitalized with a 21st century slant for the newest Las Vegas show, "Viva Elvis," which celebrates the life of the late King of Rock 'n' Roll" through his music and the acrobatics and dance of the world renowned Cirque du Soleil." The show is performed 10 times a week at the Aria Resort and Casino in Sin City.
Mexican singer Thalia, no stranger to fame in her home land (she rose to fame in the 90s after starring on popular TV shows, subsequently releasing a few solo record albums that topped the charts), shares a duet with the King on the companion album to the Cirque du Soleil show. Released by Sony records in an effort to get a younger generation interested in Presley's music, the album features new remixes and updates to his songs with added elements such as Hip-Hop and Alternative Rock stylings.
Thalia sings with the King on his all-time classic "Love Me Tender" on "Viva Elvis - The Album"; and our Stephanie Nolasco recently caught up with her and discussed the project...
When did you first learn about Viva Elvis the album?
Thalia: I received a phone call from my record company saying "We have a project from you, I don't know if you're interested, but you'll be duetting with Elvis Presley," and I was like "What???" They told me, "The song we are singing "Love Me Tender" is a classic romantic song, and we thought about you and we want you to do this." I immediately took the opportunity, because I think this is very personal for me, because my mother was a huge Elvis fan since I can remember, and in my house it was always his music playing - we had the movies, the posters, and she really was a huge fan. So when I went to the studio, and it was a little home studio in the Hamptons, it was basically like 7 people at the most with me - everyone was kind of quiet and mysterious and silent, because in the moment we really felt like a big energy, a big presence - it was a magical experience because somehow when his voice sounded, everybody was like - it was very indescribable, and at the end of the day when we heard the complete duet, everybody was crying, and very excited. It's a very atmospheric, magical version of the song and I think it accomplished what we were trying to do.
Why was it important for you to collaborate with Elvis now more than ever?
Well, it's a totally incredible opportunity to sing with Elvis, so who would say no to the King? And especially to be the first Latina that sang with him - so for me, for my career, and in general it was a great project.
What were some of the challenges that you faced in collaborating with a famous artist who died over 30 years ago? How did you overcome them?
In my career, I've had a chance to sing with a lot of great performers - people who are alive and people who are no longer with us - and these projects were really powerful and magical and totally different from every other project, the projects like this. I think it was a perfect idea to bring back his voice, with new arrangement from this album, 'Viva Elvis,' I think it was perfect, especially for this generation - they want everything immediately, they want the song, they want the download, they want the ring tone, so I think it's incredible to show them the music they listened to in this way, the beginnings of ideas of somebody that changed society - and the world - with his music and movements, so I think it's a great opportunity for the new generations to connect to the Elvis moment.
Talk about when you first discovered Elvis. How did he influence you to become the singer that you are today?
I think he influenced the whole world, no? I really was a new, social movement, a change of mentality, and I mean seriously, his performance - when you saw him in his old videos, it was powerful and it was different, and something that was never sung before - so when people saw this everybody was surprised and wanted to be like him, sound like him, sing like him - so I think those kinds of people come to change society.
How, in your opinion, has Elvis impacted today's Latin artists?
I think he influenced everybody. First of all, the hip hop movement is so Latino, I don't know, I think that's one of the things that we as a culture reflect immediately, his movements - he was not stiff, just singing with a microphone and guitar, he was moving, he was rocking, from the point of his hair to the point of his toe he was moving.
Which is your favorite Elvis song and why?
"Love Me Tender" is one of the classic ones - one of the ones that we always liked, but I think another favorite is "Jailhouse Rock." Incredible.
Speaking of legends, you're a beloved soap opera star in your native Mexico. Will you ever return to telenovelas? Why or why not?
You know, it was a great era, and a great momentum, and it was incredible - I am one of the lucky ones that my soap operas were sold all over the world, and translated in many different languages, and over 2 billion people have seen them. So it was something that happens once in a lifetime. But it is very difficult, very demanding doing soap operas. I love acting and I am just saving myself for the right project - right now I don't want to feel like I'm a slave to a set, I want to just fly like an eagle and pick my projects as I do. I sing, I'm a business woman, I have a radio show, I'm a mother, so I just want to have the right project as an actress that will make me say all of these other things can wait and let me focus on this part, and let's do everything for this part - but I haven't found it yet.
Back in 2009, we first heard that you were battling Lyme disease. How are you doing now since then?
I'm doing incredibly well right now, thank God - but it was a battle that took me a good two years of antibiotics - very powerful ones - and debilitating, and a lot of fogginess and tiredness, and a lot of horizontal positions, of being in bed and on a sofa, and not moving, and a lot of pain. Nobody talks about it, which is surprising because it's everywhere. If you are outdoors, if you have pets and they run outdoors and then sit in your lap, you can have a chance to get it. So you have to be very, very careful in avoiding it because if you don't check - I mean, people even die!
What are some of your upcoming projects for 2011? Any chance that you'll create a rock 'n' roll album of your own? How has motherhood been treating you?
We are basically right now starting the process of the next album - you know, picking the songs and getting together with the writers, and booking the studios, to start working and writing all the magic. This is the best part of the album, the production, when you are there, seeing all these great ideas and feeling the music, so we're doing that. Hopefully by the end of the summer of 2011 it is out. And I am also finishing my third book that will be more of a personal book, more of a journey, but very inspirational, one that you can relate in way of like OK, you can have everything and be successful, but also you can have a lot of stress and a lot of sad days, a lot of great moments and a lot of unfortunate situations, but you can turn everything into your power and use it as a tool to be a better person.
Motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me - it really shaped me into a new person, into a new human being. I rediscover the world through her eyes, through her ears, through her hands - it's like everything is new for the first time again and that's a great opportunity to change your skin - so in my life it's "before Sabrina" and "after Sabrina" and all of that reflects into my work and everything I do. It's the most positive thing that ever happened to me.
Describe what a day would be like if you were spending it with The King. If he were alive today, what would you want to tell him?
I definitely would bring him home and cook for him and do like - I don't know - a musical afternoon of guitars, a very nice laid back family moment - I would make him feel at home.