Mexican singer Yuri has the gift of gab, and that’s why she’s hosted TV shows and is an actress too. But it’s her music and sassy personality that have kept her star bright since the ’80s, with career-defining power ballads and everything in between, from disco and rock to spiritual music. Her flair for telling stories about love, vulnerability and the ironies of life is never lost either.
On a recent afternoon, the singer with long blond locks spoke to Billboard from Mexico City about her newest album Primera Fila: an intimate concert series filmed in front of a live audience of fans and friends for a CD/DVD featuring a retrospective of Yuri’s most beloved songs.
“I’m so happy, so happy, because I just gave birth to my kid,” says the radiant 53-year-old. “It took nine months.”
Yuri has a confident demeanor without ego and talks candidly about navigating through the highs and lows of the music business. With each album, she has grown, she says, even if some of her previous efforts didn’t sit well with critics.
“Some projects just don’t take off,” Yuri says, “but the feedback for this project has been wonderful.”
Primera Fila, released by Sony and available digitally worldwide, features 17 songs that range from romantic to upbeat offerings such as a vallenato version of the Juan Gabriel classic “No Tengo Dinero,” featuring Colombian singer Carlos Vives. Other guests on the album include Mijares, Carlos Rivera, Matisse and the Mexican singing group Pandora.
Between the label, management and those who know Yuri the best, the final selection of music represents the iconic songs that have impacted her career.
One of those songs was “Yo Te Pido Amor” (I Ask You for Love) featuring Pandora. Originally, the song became a hit, and in 1986, Yuri was nominated for a Grammy for best Latin pop performance. The prize ultimately went to Jose Feliciano, who was sitting near Jose Jose the night of the Grammys.
“I was just a kid,” Yuri says of her early success. “I was sitting next to these giants of the music world experiencing one of their biggest moments of their careers. I looked like their daughter or niece.”
A strong performer who always commands the stage with ease, charm and sparkling, skintight sequin dresses, Yuri shed some of that for the intimacy of Primera Fila, for which she wore all white (although the outfits kept changing), as did her audience.
When not performing, Yuri spends time with her family and has a special place in her home she calls the War Room.
“I’ve learned that you need time for yourself,” Yuri says. “In this room, I have my spiritual therapies. In there, I meditate, sing and it’s where everything aligns for the mind and soul. It’s my way of balancing things as someone who loves God, is passionate about her career and ready for her fans.”