Thirty years ago, a Mexican icon who goes by only one name launched her career. After gaining notoriety in the teen band Timbiriche during the ’80s, Thalía released her self-titled debut album on Oct. 10, 1990. But thanks to constant evolution in style, music and sound, Thalía has remained one of the leading female artists in Latin music.
Thalia’s career started with Timbiriche. The Mexican boy-girl group was like the Mexican Mickey Mouse Club and also served as a launchpad for the careers of artists like Paulina Rubio and Edith Márquez. Following her time in the band, Thalía signed with then Televisa imprint Fonovisa to release her first solo album.
Her partnership with Televisa was also fruitful in the telenovela market. She started to become known outside the borders of Mexico with her starring role in 1992’s Marimar, whose theme song Thalia featured on her third album, Love. It became her first entry on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart (No. 15).
Thalía took her music career to the next level with 1995’s En Éxtasis, her first album in a long partnership with EMI Latin. At the same time, her telenovela Maria La Del Barrio was a global success in syndication in more than 180 countries. The lead single for En Éxtasis, “Piel Morena,” was the first of many anthems for Thalía. The proudly Mexican song on which she highlighted her brown skin peaked at No. 7 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated Oct. 7, 1995.
“Piel Morena” marked the first of Thalía’s 26 entries on the Hot Latin Songs chart and the first of 12 on the chart’s top 10. Of those, four went to No. 1.
In the digital era, she remains a force as the first Mexican female artist to hit one billion views on YouTube with “No Me Acuerdo,” featuring Dominican reggaetonera Natti Natasha. Beyond music, Thalía’s brand has expanded as a hit personality on social media and now the star of her Facebook Watch reality series, Latin Music Queens.
To celebrate 30 years of Thalía, we look back at her career through 10 of her biggest hits on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart. What a perfect time to be doing so, during Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Entre El Mar y Una Estrella”
Thalía first reached No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated June 17, 2000 with “Entre El Mar y Una Estrella,” the lead single from Arrasando. “I remember I was screaming and crying from being super excited,” she told Billboard in a July interview. “I was like, ‘Wow! What a blessing.’ I was looking for a different way to portray Latin music.” Thalía achieved that with this majestic, Lion King-esque ballad that reigns memorably supreme in her vast discography.
“Tú y Yo”
Thalía reached No. 1 again on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated July 20, 2002 with “Tú y Yo,” the lead single from her 2002 self-titled album. Yes, there’s two self-titled albums that exist in Thalia’s discography. In this first collaboration with Colombian producer and songwriter Estéfano, she celebrates an against-all-odds relationship in a fiery performance. The sassy Latin bop was later remixed with a cumbia version featuring A.B. Quintanilla & the Kumbia Kings.
“No Me Enseñaste”
“No Me Enseñaste” topped the chart Oct. 26, 2002, a one-two punch from her 2002 Thalía album that demonstrated her versatility as an artist who could hit No. 1 with both a ballad and an uptempo track. Another Estéfano production, its sweeping melodies and heartbreak lyrics are perfectly suited for Thalia’s dramatic flair.
“Cerca de Ti”
As if we couldn’t have enough Thalía in our lives, she named her first English crossover album in 2003 after herself. Keeping count, that’s now three self-titled albums in total. Thalia included the Spanish version of “Closer to You” on the album as “Cerca De Ti,” earning her fourth chart-topper on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated Feb. 28, 2004. She co-wrote the cute love song that beams with adoration for her man (most likely her husband Tommy Mottola).
“Amar Sin Ser Amada”
For 2005’s El Sexto Sentido, Thalía teamed up again with Estéfano, who produced and co-wrote most of the album. She led with the single “Amar Sin Ser Amada,” which blended a tango sound with a pop-rock edge. It peaked at No. 2 on the Hot Latin Songs chart; there’s no way she was letting a toxic ex back into life on this kiss-off anthem.
“No, No, No”
Thalía’s Latin pop sound was blended with bachata music on “No, No, No” featuring Aventura frontman Romeo Santos. The duet that was released as a single from El Sexto Sentido Re+Loaded and reached No. 4 on the Hot Latin Songs chart in 2006. The chemistry between the Mexican icon and the King of Bachata was undeniable. Santos pines for Thalía’s love as she tries to fend off his advances. “No, No, No” will always be a “Yes, Yes, Yes” in her songbook.
“Te Perdiste Mi Amor”
After experiencing success in the bachata market with Romeo Santos, Thalía teamed up with another bachatero, Dominican-American pop star Prince Royce for “Te Perdiste Mi Amor.” The song was released as a single from 2012’s Habítame Siempre, Thalia’s first studio album with Sony Music Latin. She once again reached No. 4 on the Hot Latin Songs chart in 2013. Thalía and Royce proved to be an adorable duo on this sweet duet.
“Amor a La Mexicana”
Thalía helped globalize and popularize Mexican culture with her 1997 album Amor a La Mexicana and its title track. On the proudly Mexican-themed anthem, producer Emilio Estefan, Jr. blended her Latin pop sound with mariachi music. “Amor a La Mexicana” peaked at No. 6 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. No Hispanic Heritage Month playlist is complete without this signature Thalía hit.
“¿A Quién Le Importa?”
Thalía strengthened her bond with the LGBTQ+ community by covering “¿A Quién Le Importa?” on her 2002 self-titled album. Estéfano helped her reimagine the Alaska y Dinarama classic for the club scene. The black-and-white music video was shot in a gay club in New York City and, way ahead of its time, featured transgender icon Amanda Lepore.
“[The LGBTQ+ community has] always been supportive of my career since the beginning,” she told Billboard in July. “I’ve stayed true to my message in my fashion, my statements and my music: to be yourself, to love yourself, to not be afraid to put yourself out there no matter who judges you and to believe in yourself no matter the obstacles in the way.” The empowering anthem peaked at No. 9 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.
“I Want You”
On this list, we give honorable mentions to “Piel Morena” and the Primera Fila standout “Equivocada.” Those singles peaked at No. 7 and No. 8 on the Hot Latin Songs chart respectively. We jump ahead to Thalía’s crossover hit “I Want You,” the lead single from her 2003 English crossover album. She teamed up with Nuyorican rapper Fat Joe on the breezy bop that famously sampled Brenda Russell’s “A Little Bit of Love.” Their collaboration peaked at No. 22 on the Hot 100 chart, while the Spanish version, “Me Pones Sexy,” reached No. 9 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.