Maná’s Fher Olvera and Mabel In Conversation At Billboard Latin Music Week: 5 Biggest Reveals

On day three of Billboard’s Latin Music Week (Sept. 20-25), Maná’ founder Fher Olvera spoke with 12-year-old singer Mabel, who famously competed on La Voz Kids and is now a featured guest on the iconic rock band’s upcoming covers album, performing a reimagined version of the Maná’ hit “El Reloj Cucú.”

During their conversation, moderated by Billboard’s VP, Latin industry lead, Leila Cobo, Olvera and Mabel revealed what they have in common, how they first connected and why their musical relationship is so special.

Ahead of a special performance from Maná’ on Thursday (Sept. 23) during the Latin Billboard Music Awards, during which the band will receive the Icon Award, here are the five biggest reveals from Olvera’s chat with Mabel.

They both grew up without a father 

Olvera spoke at length about the inspiration behind the band’s classic track, “El Reloj Cucú.” He recounted how his father died when he was just 7 years old, and how the song chronicles growing up in his absence. He described his upbringing as a matriarchy, citing the influence his three sisters, mother and grandmother had on him. Similarly, Mabel was raised by her single mother, who later hopped onstage from the audience to join the chat.

Their mothers influenced their work ethics 

“[When] you see [your mom] working everyday -- working very hard -- it sets an example,” said Olvera. “It's the best example, more than school, of what makes you strong, hardworking and a fighter -- and I think that that feeds art. Art, many times, comes as an explosion of things. It’s that rebirth and another way of looking at life and trying to generate change through art. Much of the passion that Mabel sings with is [because] she sees her mom, who works so hard.”

Added Mabel: “You have to value the people who are there for you. [Fher and I] may have different stories, but the feeling is the same with this song.”

Olvera cold-called Mabel

Mabel recalled how, while she was wrapping up her time on La Voz, the decorated band called her mom one day asking to sing a song with her daughter. “My mom called me and I was like, ‘What?!’” said Mabel. “I started crying. I was with my grandma and we were sitting at the dining room table and she gave me a hug and congratulated me and we cried together. I still can’t believe that this is happening to me.”

Meanwhile, Mabel's mom -- who was near tears herself -- admitted that she had her doubts at the beginning, wondering “Is this a joke?”

Fher revealed it was the band’s guitarist and manager who discovered Mabel, recounting how they called her “the perfect person” for the band to team up with. “It’s an honor for us to have a voice like that [on this record],” he said. “This is a song that we both felt in our hearts.”

Olvera and Mabel first met in Puerto Vallarta 

The pair met in person for the first time at the band’s studio in Puerto Vallarta, “a nice building with a sea view,” as Olvera said. Mabel added how different it felt to record in a studio compared to singing live. “You can try different notes, where when you sing live it’s just one take,” she said of her first time working in a studio, adding “I felt a bit of mixed emotions.”

It’s one in a series of firsts for the rising star, who for this panel also enjoyed her first-ever trip to the U.S.

Maná is exercising patience with its upcoming album

“The truth is, it was going to be out this winter,” admitted Olvera, “but we like to drop the albums when they’re really well done. We don’t let our manager pressure us, it will come out when it’s ready in the oven -- better late than never.”