Chiquis’ new album is “Abeja Reina” or “Queen Bee”.

Photo: Courtesy/Courtesy

Chiquis says she’s usually nervous on the eve of an album release. Her debut album, “Ahora,” came in 2015, followed by “Entre Botellas” in 2018 and the Latin Grammy-winning “Playlist” in 2020.

“I’ve always been very confident in the woman that I am, in my personal life, in other things that I do,” says Chiquis. She’s written several New York Times bestsellers, runs successful makeup and skincare lines, and just launched a sportswear line.

“It was in my music that I felt like he was missing because of the naysayers.”

But “Abeja Reina,” her fourth album, realigned things for the regional Mexican singer. The title translates to “Queen Bee”, a title in which Chiquis finally feels comfortable as a performer. Its fan community is known as the Boss Bee Nation.

“I think it was when I finished this album that I said, ‘I’m so confident in what I’ve done’ that I lost the fear. Even on stage, I feel different” “, she said. “I know people probably won’t be ready for what I have to say on this album. But I don’t care. This is me, this is what I want to bring.

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behind the music

Chiquis breaks down three of “Abeja Reina’s” key tracks:

“Abeja Reina”: It’s a strong song, every sentence, every word. But I feel like I can defend him. It makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel like, “That’s why I’m here.” The corridors are generally reserved for men. But I don’t care. Yeah, I can do that too. Why can’t I?

“La Que Esta de Moda Soy Yo”: This song is for the LGBTQ+ community. I already see the video. Imagine me in drag. Imagine a bunch of drag queens everywhere, and we’re just like, “I’m the only one. No, I’m the only one.” I feel like this is the song I’ve been waiting my entire career for, for the LGBTQ+ community, to say, “We’re here. And we’re here to stay.”

“Contraband”: I’ve loved this song since I can remember. It’s a Joan Sebastian song. I think my mother sang it beautifully. The way she sang it was so sexy. It was so feminine to me. I’ve always been very scared to even listen to this song because of the things that have been said about me. I think for me it was a way of saying “I don’t wear that anymore” – what people said, why my mom and I had a fight. I’m just at a point where I like the song. And I’m going to sing it because I want to, because I’m a Jenni Rivera fan and because I can.

-JG

The album, released this month, includes five songs written by Chiquis. It was partially recorded in Brownsville. The sound centers around traditional banda music but incorporates elements of hip-hop and R&B. Vocally, it is his most impressive work to date. She evokes Mexican icon Paquita la del Barrio on the title track and a cover of the 80s hit “Mi Problema”.

Chiquis ventures into cumbia during “La Ex” and “Cualquiera,” which seamlessly transitions from Spanish to English lyrics. She turns Linda Ronstadt’s “When Will I be Loved” into a banda-pop gem and does the right thing for her mother, the late Jenni Rivera, on a cover of “De Contrabando.”

“I wanted to bring something different, in every aspect, to my genre,” says Chiquis. “Before, I was like, ‘Maybe I need to dim my light a bit because what if it shocks people?’ Now I’m like, ‘Uh-uh. I’m going to let it shine everywhere’.

Even the album cover image was part of the larger theme. It features Chiquis wearing a gold crown, honey dripping down her face. She looks up and bathes in beautiful light. She wanted this photo to be the center of attention, so the cover does not include her name or album title.

“I hold my head, therefore I hold my crown. There are times when it tilts, there are times when things happen, but the crown represents the queen in all of us,” she says.

Honey, she says, represents the sweat and tears “which are sometimes bittersweet” in life. And, yes, it burns if it comes into contact with your eyes.

“I always get something positive and sweet out of a difficult situation,” she says. “That’s been my life, man, and that’s what this album is about.”

“Abeja Reina” also includes an intro, outro, and several interludes, a feature regularly used by hip-hop artists. Chiquis says she was inspired by Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys, whose own music is based on storytelling. Chiquis uses these moments not only to explain the songs, but to develop the personal brand that has connected her deeply with fans: leading with honesty, sharing good and bad, learning from mistakes.

Chiquis became a mother to her younger siblings after her famous mother died in a plaque accident in 2012 at the age of 43. At the time, the two were estranged and she had to struggle with comparisons and criticism throughout her career. . Chiquis was married to banda singer Lorenzo Mendez, and in her book “Unstoppable” says he was an alcoholic and regularly used cocaine. She channels all of this into her music and art.

“I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do, in everything I do. With music, I feel an even greater responsibility to inspire and empower people with what I have. lived,” she says. “I think everything I’ve been through — heartache, being alone and losing my family — all of that, in a weird way, has instilled so much confidence in me and so much happiness. love for myself. I’m not the only one going through tough times. I’m not the only one feeling this. I have this rig for a reason.

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  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. It also covers various aspects of pop culture. He’s reviewed hundreds of gigs and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He appeared as a regular correspondent on Fox26 and served as head judge and director of the Pride Superstar Singing Competition for a decade. He has been named Journalist of the Year multiple times by OutSmart Magazine and the FACE Awards. It also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.