Chiquis Rivera has a lot to celebrate this year — including her first-ever Latin Grammy nomination, which she describes as a “beautiful surprise.”
“When I woke up to the news, I was overflowed with joy and so much appreciation,” the Regional Mexican singer tells Billboard. “God was with me. That’s why I cried so much — and I had to share it with people, because I feel that I represent that person who they say, ‘You can’t do it,’ and they close doors in your face.”
Chiquis is nominated for best banda album for Playlist, released via Fonovisa / Universal Music Group Recordings in June. She ‘s up against colleagues Banda La Ejecutiva De Mazatlán Sinaloa, Banda Lirio, La Arrolladora Banda El Limón De René Camacho, and La Séptima Banda.
“I put out that energy when I was in the studio. I wanted the best producers, the best mix and masters, just the best of the best,” she says. “I really invested a lot of time. I listened to my team, I think that’s super important. I want this album to be nominated — I feel it deserves it because I’m in a different state of mind, I’m a lot more confident as an artist and I think that made a huge difference.”
In addition to her nomination, the 35-year-old singer is making the rounds with her new single “Me Vale,” a modern cumbia twist to the classic 1992 Maná hit. Ahead of the 21st annual Latin Grammys airing on Thursday, Nov. 19, check out Billboard‘s 20 questions interview with Chiquis below.
1. In celebration of your song “Me Vale,” what’s one thing que te vale?
Honestly, I don’t care what people think of me, especially those who don’t know me.
2. If you win the Latin Grammy, how will you celebrate?
I’m going to have a party with my team and everyone who formed part of this album. I’m going to get dressed, have a red carpet and all. This is a moment to celebrate, for sure!
3. Three best things to do in Long Beach, California?
Definitely go on Ocean Boulevard, it’s the place to be. The Aquarium of the Pacific is really nice there. And there’s this burger joint called Donald’s. I used to go every day after school and I recommend it.
4. What do you love the most about being Mexican?
In the word “Mexican,” there’s the word “can” — meaning that we can! I love our culture, the music, the food… all of it is just the bomb.
5. What song best defines your 2020?
“Me Vale.” I had COVID, all these things happened to me this year — and honestly, I brushed it off.
6. What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?
It was No Doubt’s CD Return To Saturn.
7. What was the first concert you saw?
The first concert that my tia Rosie took me to was a Shakira concert. I was in the third row and I was living my best life. I literally cried. I was 19 years old.
8. What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Living in the garage with my mom in the back of my tio Gustavo’s house and sleeping with her on a mattress on the floor, and that’s where we bonded the most. Every night it was super-cold, and she would just hug me. I will never forget that cause we had that connection.
9. Who made you realize you could be an artist full-time?
My brother Johnny. I think the fact that he’s supported my career since the beginning, just to have his blessing and support has given me the strength to do this full-time.
10. What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?
I would say winning a Latin Grammy… that for me is it!
11. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?
Living between Long Beach and Compton really grounded me. We lived in a trailer home, and then my mom bought her first house. I think it’s important to remember where you came from. It really set the tone of where I want to go.
12. What’s the last song you listened to?
“Bichota” by Karol G. It’s the first thing I listen to every day, at least five times a day.
13. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?
I for sure want to see Karol G, I’ve never seen her and I would love to see her in concert. And a must is Julion Alvarez.
14. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd of one of your sets? I
remember being on stage and I can’t recall what happened — but I do remember hair flying, and the security got involved and I had to calm everyone down.
15. What’s your karaoke go-to?
16. What movie, or song, always makes you cry? The movie is Seven Pounds with Will Smith, and the song “Don’t You Remember” by Adele.
17. What TV series have you watched all the way through multiple times? Sex and the City, I never get tired of watching it.
18. What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?
I share a lot with them, but I want to say that after a long day of work, my favorite place to be is my room with my sweats and no makeup on. I’m a super homebody.
19. If you were not a musician, what would you be?
I would be a spiritual psychologist for sure.
20. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
I would tell little Chiquis not to be so consumed with finding the approval of other people and wanting so badly to be loved that you forget to love yourself. I’ve grown through every lesson and every experience I had to face.