By EmManuel Garcia
Pictured Gloria Trevi performs at Circuit bar in Chicago. Photos by Emmanuel Garcia
Gloria Trevi is hailed on this side of the border as the Mexican Madonna although, in recent years, her personal legal woes mirror those of another pop icon. On Feb. 23 her Trevolucion Tour made a stop at Circuit nightclub; her performance was unlike any other, as this music legend embraced her gay following by giving an intimate club performance.
Trevi's rise to fame in the early '90s was extremely controversial. Her music, which promoted sexual freedom, shocked social conservatives in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Her image, much like that of Madonna, was palpably sexual and drew the ire of critics as well as imitations by millions of fans! She's also well known for her heartfelt renditions of songs that speak of child abuse, teen pregnancy, losing your virginity and all sexual taboos.
Trevi's fame hit a roadblock in 1997 when rumors and accusations of sexual abuse by Sergio Andrade, Trevi's longtime manager and Trevi herself came from her underage backup singers. Both were arrested in 2000. Trevi spent four years in a prison, the first three in a Brazilian prison fighting extradition to Mexican authorities and the last one in a Mexican prison awaiting trial on corruption of minors, sexual abuse and kidnapping.
In the Mexican jail, she became pregnant. She initially accused a jail guard of raping her, supposedly causing the pregnancy, but after giving birth to a baby boy, she admitted to lying. To this day, she refuses to reveal the identity of the child's father. The details of the trial were lived out through a media circus much like the recent trial of Michael Jackson. It's only been one year since she was acquitted, found innocent of all charges, and freed from prison. She has managed to release her ninth Spanish album, Como Nace El Universo ( How the Universe is Born ) , and return to the stage with her Trevolucion tour—although it was cancelled midway through as the announcement of her third preganancy put the tour on halt. Trevi now returns again to resume her tour with performances that have critics talking. Trevi took time out to speak with Identity about why she hangs herself from her feet, Madonna, and why she would prefer a gay son!
Emmanuel Garcia: The name of this magazine is Identity. How do you identify?
Gloria Trevi: Oh, I don't have esteem. I believe I'm a girl who sometimes can be brutally honest. Although that's a good quality, it can also get me into a lot of trouble. I'm very passionate, as you can tell. I have a good sense of humor. I always try to find the positive side out of every situation. I'm a hard worker, aside from being, humble, nice [ and ] friendly. I'm also very modest. [ Laughs ] That's not true!
EG: What is the one question that you are tired of answering?
GT: Well, when they ask me questions of the past which are very repetitive, such as those questions that I've already said a million times that I don't have to answer, that I'm not going to answer, and that I just don't feel like answering. When they do ask me that question, the truth is that I just want to tell those reporters that they are stupid because how could they think that if I didn't answer that to so and so, why on this particular day am I going to answer it to him!?
EG: They thought you were going to give them the EXCLUSIVE!?
GT: Yes, and it's something that's very personal, do you understand? I know that no one cares and that they solely want to utilize it to feed the morbid and to publish a negative story. I don't appreciate that they want to utilize the people I love, like my son, so that they can do that! That type of question bores me!
EG: I always thought your concerts attracted a lot of gay fans. Why a gay tour?
GT: Seriously? Why did they seem so gay?
EG: Let me tell you: There where a lot of guys doing who-knows-what in the restroom, and I usually would run into my gay friends at your concerts!
GT: Really? Look, I think it's very relative. I feel that it depends a lot on where I do the concert. To begin, for example, if I all of a sudden am in a rodeo, well, you can imagine that's where all the machos ( butch men ) go with their big hats. They want to see La Trevi with her mini skirt to see if they might get a glimpse of her underwear! What I feel and what I like a lot is that the gay audience isn't an audience that goes to see the hot new artist. They usually go to see the artist who is established. It's an audience that demands more in terms of music, stage design and overall performance. That is why, for me, it is very nice whenever I perform at any venue that my gay fans are always supporting me.
EG: How do you feel about the fact that the Anglo market hails you as the Mexican Madonna?
GT: It's nice to be considered one of the greats within your own territory—the biggest! I admire a lot the work of Madonna—I consider her to be a great artist. She might not have an amazing voice, but she is an artist who is very smart, but we're very different! Like in Brazil they say 'Gloria Trevi is the Mexican Xuxa' so that people can understand the fame and interest that the audience has, because Xuxa doesn't sing like I do. They are referring to the interest that you provoke. [ It's ] the same with Madonna—that's why Americans try to explain to those who don't know me in the Anglo market who I'm like, and that's the comparison that they find. For me, it's an honor because they don't compare me with other artists; they compare me with artists that have marked decades!
EG: Who would be the American Trevi?
GT: [ Laughs ] Well, I think it would be Madonna, although we have completely different styles, but similar in the sense of attraction, curiosity, interest, rating, innovation and a lot of other things that we provoke when we are on stage.
EG: What do you like to do during your day off, if there is one?
GT: I like to hang myself on the ceiling from my feet so that my wrinkles won't …
EG: For real?
GT: No! Stupid! [ Laughs hysterically ] Oh, you're so innocent, I love it! Are you a virgin? [ Both laugh ]
EG: What music do you listen to when you are at home?
GT: I like Brazilian music, I like the music of the '60s. I like the music of Cri Cri ( Francisco Gabilondo Soler, Children's Folk singer ) . I also listen to modern music—things that people are listening to now. On a serious note, what I like to do during my free time … I like to watch movies, read, I like to play with my kids, eat popcorn. I love to eat. I'm very gluttonous. I like to make love. I like everything that … that will give you a physical pleasure. I'm only against artificial things; that's why I wouldn't even want to taste drugs.
EG: You have never tasted any drugs?
GT: No! Never. I'm already high. I'm afraid that I would like it and that would be my end, and the end of the people I love and who depend on me.
EG: What actress would you like to portray you in a film version of your life?
GT: I don't know. ( pause ) It would have to be a very intense chick! And very beautiful! ( laughs )
EG: When your kids are older, what concerns you about them having a mother who is famous?
GT: Well, let me tell you that I'm a little afraid, in general, that I will spoil them because I travel a lot and when I return from a trip it's difficult for me to tell them 'No.' I ask God to illuminate and reveal things clearly to me. I want my kids to not be arrogant; on the contrary, I want them to understand that they are fortunate. I want them to feel concern and the need to help those who haven't had the same privileges as them and that they aren't apathetic human beings like the ones I've often criticized!
EG: That would be the irony?
GT: No, I don't want that. I have a son who was born in prison, and I want him to always be aware of that. He is special because we all are, but he is like everyone and we are all equal! Like they say 'we should live today like it were the last and the first.'
EG: How would you react of one of your sons was gay?
GT: Look the truth, the truth! I'm very honest, and I would never tell you something to win over the gay community, nor to win over a politician, nor to win over los machos ( butch-men ) . I could care less, and I say things how I think and if how I think they like me and accept me, good. Of course, I wouldn't like it if one of my sons were gay because I wouldn't want them to have to confront that society that has often criticized them. I'm not gay, but I feel very much in communication—in contact with the gay community because I have also been criticized by that hypocrite society. … Life isn't easy and you know that … . But, if you asked me to pick between a man/a son who treats his girlfriend/wife poorly or a gay son who made his partner happy, I prefer a gay son!
EG: I believe that the world after Gloria Trevi isn't the same, making it easier for people to come out!
GT: Stop, you're making me cry! Seriously what you are saying is magical. I don't want this to get misconstrued—you don't know how I've been criticized for having decided to do this tour, against whomever and however I said 'Me vale!' Because I believe in this community, just as this community has believed in me! And because, way before, a long time ago, when I was a young girl and starting out my career, I declared my love to them and I didn't do it just talking out of my ass!
EG: What future projects in English do you have in mind?
GT: Oh yes of course! I want to have one or two songs in English in the new album I'm currently working on, so that the gringos can have something new and innovative!
To read the entire original Spanish version log on to: www.emmanuelgarcia.com .
Emmanuel Garcia is the Chicaco Correspondent for Scene magazine.