Thalía, the Queen of Latin Pop, debuts her children’s audio-visual album ‘Viva kids’ Volume 1 today. Reviving cultural songs from her childhood, as well as translating popular songs into Spanish, for kids of all backgrounds to enjoy. Parents chatted with the singer, author and mom of two, Sabrina, age 6, and Matthew, age 2, about the family collaboration to create this unique album, how she hopes it will boost language skills and cultural ties for a new generation of listeners, and her proudest Mommy moment.
You have already written a children’s book, what motivated you to create and record ‘Viva kids’?
My kids were my inspiration. Sabrina is almost 7 and Matthew is almost 3. These songs were a part of my childhood and they were lost in time. I thought to give them a new injection of life with the new sounds and bring them back to this generation of kids. I decided to do like a home project just for my kids. They loved the stories, they have all these characters. I sang the songs to them and they were like “mami, but why is this happening in the song? And what is going to become of…” all these things. One of the executives at my record company has kids like my daughter and my son, same age. I gave him the MP3 and he called me and said “these songs, we have to produce them and we have to make an album…” So they convinced me and that’s it!
All of these songs are in Spanish, but are they all specifically from Mexican culture?
Most of them, yes. Some of them are from Spain, some of them are from South America. Some of them you heard them before. If you have kids and you saw a thousand times (like I did) ‘Wreck-it Ralph’, ‘Sugar Rush’ was in that sound track so I rescued that song. ‘Sugar Rush’ was in Japanese and I told my daughter, “Sabrina, you want to write the lyrics with me in English?” And she said “yes, let’s do it mami”. We also have ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, but I sang it in Spanish. I think it’s also a great opportunity for kids that know that song in English to learn the words in Spanish.
Speaking of which, how do you think the album can be useful to teach Spanish to English-speaking children?
We know the importance of Spanish in this country. We have to learn Spanish because of the Latin community growing here. It’s also incredible for kids to have a second language. When we go to Europe we see the kids have three languages, here we’re more comfortable with just English. But I think it’s really important for the wiring of their brains to add another language. This album will add that factor. The words, the familiarity with Spanish, they can learn through music.
Are there other songs like “Twinkle Twinkle” that English-speaking kids grew up with and now they’re translated?
Not in this album, but that’s exactly why I did ‘Viva kids’ Volume 1 because I’m sure Volume 2 will be soon in the market. We have a lot of these ideas. ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ things like that. Simple songs that once you translate them adds a plus in the kids vocabulary for the language.
You mentioned that Sabrina and Matthew were an inspiration for the album and Sabrina helped translate. How else were they involved?
In the DVD part of Viva Kids, Sabrina designed the characters in the animation of ‘Sugar Rush’. So it’s really cool. We always have music in the house, we’re always producing stuff, working blah blah blah. I think [in general] this is a great opportunity for the parents and the kids to have quality time sitting there and watching this DVD and going through every single of this magical universe that we did for each song.
What has been your proudest moment as a mom?
Oh my God. I think the way that they react when there’s an unexpected let’s say problem or situation that somebody gets injured or somebody I dunno is crying or something. My daughter immediately like jumps and says “Are you ok? You know what, everything is gonna be ok. Breathe. Breeeeathe. Hold on. Wait here.” And she goes to the bathroom and she gets a face towel with cold water and she puts it on top of whoever the victim is and she starts saying, “Everything is gonna be ok. I’m gonna call your Mami and your Papi. Just relax.” Like a healer, but that’s something that as a mother you do. Right? Sometimes when you’re discouraged as a parent, you see these little things, these actions of charity or love or pure desire to help, it makes you feel pride. It makes you feel like I’m doing a good job. I cannot be severe on myself anymore. I cannot be a superhero. I’m the best I can be in the situation that I have today. It takes a big weight out of your shoulders.
What is the one parenting rule you always break?
There’s a lot of them [laughs]. I think one of the most common ones is sugar. The diet, you know. We try to keep them very clean at home, great diet balancing everything that they eat, trying not to give them candies or sugar. But sometimes, you cannot help but get the organic lollipop or the ice cream. You feel like bad, but at the same time you feel like “Oh my God, they’re having a good time!”
Do you have any advice for moms who break their rules?
As a mother of two, I just want to say take your time. Take time for yourself. Give yourself a break. You’re doing a good job. And that’s it. Don’t be that strict with yourself.