Music News

Jenni Rivera changes course with mariachi album

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Jenni Rivera has established herself as a major star with her saucy take on Mexican brass-based banda music, into which she incorporates stories from her own life and gives voice to a hard-partying, hard-loving persona.

Rivera released her long-awaited mariachi album, “La Gran Senora,” December 1 on Fonovisa. While it’s less autobiographical than her previous work, Rivera says that a mariachi album is a commercial risk she’s earned the opportunity to take.

Billboard: Why did you decide to do a mariachi album now and not earlier in your career?

Jenni Rivera: I don’t think I was ready for it. And I don’t think the industry was ready for it. You have to prove that you’ve conquered and that you’ve created a position with a certain style, which was banda ... In order to record mariachi, people need to believe it. And how will they believe it if you haven’t lived it? So I needed to live it, I guess, first, and then express it throughout the recording.

Billboard: One of the tracks on the album is Freddy Fender’s “Before the Next Teardrop Falls.” Have you always been a fan of his?

Rivera: Big time. I recorded years ago ... sometime in the ‘90s (a banda version of Fender’s) “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.” I was talking to some politicians here in L.A. -- we’re working on a few things together -- and they are like those veterano cholo type of guys from back in the day, like, you know they were cholos when they were young but now they’re successful politicians. They were in my kitchen sitting with me and I thought, “What can I record for these (guys)?” And right then and there, I thought, “Another Freddy Fender song.” But let’s give it, of course, a mariachi touch, but very acoustic.

Billboard: Are there any other singers whose work you plan to cover?

Rivera: There might be some Dolly Parton songs that I would like to do. I would like to do some type of Brad Paisley, something like that, maybe translating it. I love his lyrics. And do it Jenni-style, but in Spanish, of course, maybe in mariachi or maybe norteno. I’m a big country fan, and I know that would surprise a lot of people because I’m so Mexican. Because I do what I do with such passion. But I’m a music lover above all.