Mexican Icon Gloria Trevi Reclaims Her Career & Brings The Soundtrack of Generaciones To Arenas

Truth is stranger than fiction — it’s an age-old expression credited to Lord Byron that applies to the story of contemporary Mexican pop icon Gloria Trevi. Her salacious story of music, fame and an extraordinary downfall that would lead to prison time sounds like it could only come from a movie or television series (both of which have been done, but more on that later). Her talent and appeal earned her many monikers, including “the Mexican Madonna” and “the Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop,” but her well-documented, troubled journey that included edgy music upsetting the status quo and a sex scandal likely had some calling her other not-so-flattering names.

Trevi, 55, has seen and heard it all and is used to criticism being tossed her way and people fabricating names and stories. So last year, Trevi took the initiative to create her own sobriquet and went with Medusa, relating to the Roman poet Ovid’s version of the myth in which the character’s monstrous transformation into the serpent-haired woman was a punishment from the female god Minerva.

“In reality, I’ve been telling my story through my music,” Trevi tells Pollstar. “My story is poorly told like Medusa’s because when people don’t know the story of Medusa, they think that she’s a monster, a woman with snakes on her head.”

The singer embraced the handle of the misunderstood tragic figure last year with the release of her single “Medusa,” which has been somewhat of a reclamation for Trevi, who has never shied away from the microphone to defend her name and vows to continue sharing her story, her narrative — or rather her soundtrack — with fans by embarking on the most ambitious tour of her career.

Trevi’s “Mi Soundtrack Tour,” an arena tour produced by Live Nation, Latino Live and Great Talent Entertainment, will kick off its 31-date U.S  leg near her current hometown of McAllen, Texas, at Payne Arena in Hidalgo on Jan. 26 and includes stops at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center, Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, Tampa’s Amalie Arena, Coliseo De Puerto Rico in San Juan, Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and Arena in Los Angeles.

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HELLUVA SHOW: Gloria Trevi’s upcoming arena tour is her most ambitious one yet with 30 shows across the U.S. and two dates at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan. (Courtesy Great Talent Entertainment)

“‘Mi Soundtrack’ isn’t only the music of my life. When I’m on the stage and I sing a song such as ‘No Querías Lastimarme’ (‘You Didn’t Want to Hurt Me’), I see someone [in the crowd] crying,” Trevi says. “I see that that song was important in that person’s story, and so when someone gets out of their home to see the concert, I want them to say, ‘I’ll be back. I’m going to listen to my music, my soundtrack, my story.’”

With more than 30 million records sold worldwide over three decades and provocative, empowering tracks that promote acceptance, Trevi has accumulated a dedicated fanbase spanning multiple generations, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, and was one of the best-selling Latin touring acts of the 21st century. According to 263 headline reports submitted to the Pollstar Boxoffice, she has grossed $96.18 million off of 1,785,506 tickets sold since March 4, 2005.

“Gloria is a legacy act with 30-some years of career under her belt and massive hits. ‘Mi Soundtrack’ is more like the soundtrack of a lot of people,” Jorge Garcia, Global Touring Promoter for Live Nation, says. “It’s been a part of a lot of people’s lives, and she has devoted superfans who will stop their lives to go see her show.”

Trevi’s outspokenness,  charm and ability to persevere over a highly publicized troubled past are just a few of the many reasons fans connect to her persona. The Monterrey native who left home at the age of 12 for Mexico City to pursue her dream of becoming an artist broke into the Latin music scene in the mid-’80s as a member of the girl group Boquitas Pintadas. Following the group’s 1988 disbandment, Trevi sought a solo career under the guidance of Sergio Andrade, who produced Boquitas Pintadas’ debut album and managed Trevi. She released her first album ¿Qué Hago Aquí? (What Am I Doing Here?) in 1988 to great acclaim with an infectious pop-rock sound and followed that up with five successful LPs full of risqué lyrics about sex, alcohol, classism and sexism. Trevi’s music resonated with younger audiences and her rebellious persona and fashion of torn leggings, boots and denim was emulated by young women across Latin America, angering conservative Catholic parents.

Her career, however, took a shocking turn in the late ’90s when Trevi and Andrade, who were in a romantic relationship at the time, were accused by Mexican authorities of allegedly running a sex cult ring and corrupting and abusing minors. In 1999, they were deemed fugitives as every news outlet in the country ran wanted images that included their faces. Both were detained in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2000 where they had fled and were extradited. While Trevi was imprisoned in Brazil, she was somehow impregnated and gave birth to a baby girl, but the child died a month later. Trevi was in prison for over four years and ultimately found not guilty and was acquitted in 2004 by a Mexican judge due to insufficient evidence. Andrade was convicted of corruption of minors, rape and kidnapping and spent less than eight years in jail.

It was a staggering amount of bad press, that at times seemed to ignore Andrade’s role in exploiting Trevi. It would be difficult for anyone to overcome. But after her acquittal and release, Trevi wasted little time rebuilding not only herself but her career as an artist and found consolation in making music as honestly and openly as she could.

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RECLAIMING HER MUSIC & STORY: The process of rerecording her hit songs and seeing her life told in a miniseries inspired Gloria Trevi to come up with the concept of “Mi Soundtrack Tour,” a show that the Mexican star said will make fans laugh and cry. (Courtesy Great Talent Entertainment)

“When I was in the dark, my songs were a reflection of what I was living at that time,” she says. “I was a 20-year-old writing songs about pain. Honestly, in some songs, I was pleading for help. When I got out of the problem and began lifting myself back up, I wrote songs like ‘Todos Me Miran’ (‘Everyone Is Looking At Me’).”

With literally millions and millions looking at her, “Todos Me Miran,” a song about escaping darkness and finding self-worth, became one of many hits that would help change public perception. Writing and performing was the first step in reclaiming what Trevi had lost and taking control of her own narrative. She soon found herself topping music charts, touring arenas and repeatedly proving her talent as a singer, songwriter and performer and finding success with a new generation of fans.

But no matter how much time passed or how many songs reached the top of the charts, Trevi struggled to distance herself from her troubled past. The topic was often brought up in the media and she was the subject of the 2015 film titled “Gloria,” which chronicled the early part of the Mexican star’s tumultuous career.

And so she began to open up more, not only to defend her name but to empower women who have gone through similar traumatic experiences. Prior to performing at the Latin American Music Awards in 2018, Trevi surprised the audience and viewers by giving an impassioned speech that acknowledged her past of being manipulated and abused and set the record straight.

“He was not my creator, nor the one who discovered me, because with him and without him, I have demonstrated that I am Gloria Trevi,” an emotional Trevi said about her former manager during the awards show. “… We all have a story to tell. For example, in this country, we have the cases of [Bill] Cosby and [Harvey] Weinstein but in absurd amounts. The women who are judged for raising their voice exceed the predators who are condemned.”

Despite such definitive statements, Trevi still has to claim her innocence and reiterate the fact that she was acquitted of all charges. In December 2022, two anonymous women filed a lawsuit against Trevi and Andrade, claiming that the singer and producer exploited them when they were minors in the early ’90s. Trevi filed a counter-lawsuit against Andrade on Dec. 27, 2023, that claims Andrade is the “true predator” who “physically tortured” and “enslaved” her. A day after the countersuit filing, another pair of Jane Does filed a lawsuit against the pop star.

“Suddenly, two people sue me in Los Angeles saying things that didn’t happen 30 years ago, dirtying my name when I had a judgment and was freed in Mexico after serving nearly five years in prison, not to serve a sentence but because it was the process,” Trevi says. And yet, she powered through it all and carried on with her reclamation project, writing “Medusa” after feeling heartbroken over the accusations and her ugly past rearing its head.

“People don’t know that Medusa was a woman who was violated and abused by a god,” says Trevi. “Then a goddess realizes this, and instead of punishing the god who caused the woman harm, she punishes the woman and converts her into Medusa. To me, the punishment made her someone powerful.”

Trevi’s star power was on full display in 2023 as she seized her narrative. She parted ways with Universal Music Latino last summer to become an independent artist and promoted the launch of a 50-episode series about her life called “Gloria Trevi: Ellas Soy Yo” (“They Are Me, Gloria Trevi”) on the Latin streaming platform VIX. The biopic series was a hit for the streamer, drawing more than 6 million viewers for its Mexican television premiere.

“[The series] had a strong message that made people talk about issues they knew about but wouldn’t debate — I’m not talking about myself but about society,” says Trevi, who is managed by Great Talent Entertainment and repped by Latino Live. “It had themes of manipulation, of people who are abused and the mistreatment of women.”

Not long after the series premiered, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies approved a law against human trafficking, a move that Trevi believes was influenced by her advocacy and the success of the series.

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LA ATREVIDA: The boldness of Gloria Trevi was not only in her music and rock persona but in her fashion, as well, displayed in this photo from the early ’90s. To this day, Trevi says she sees fans wearing torn leggings, denim jackets and boots at her concerts. (Courtesy Great Talent Entertainment)

“[The series] did things that I couldn’t have imagined like promoting and accepting a law that can help people,” Trevi said. “As an artist, man, it gives meaning to so many things, really, to so many tears, all the criticism, everything. If I had to live this so that other people would not have to, then I thank God for having believed in me as a warrior.”

The singer also followed Taylor Swift’s route of re-recording songs to regain control of master recordings. Trevi released her first two albums as an independent artist, Mi Soundtrack: Vol. 1 and Mi Soundtrack: Vol. 2, which included older hits as well as a few new tunes, and she says Vol. 3 is on the way later this year. The move from the Latin pop icon was done in part so that the streaming series would use her re-recorded music instead of the old versions.

“I didn’t want them to use any song from the person who hurt me and hurt so many people because I don’t want him to receive a single cent of royalties as a result of my series,” Trevi says. “I figured if I was going to use my classic songs, why not re-record them to recover my masters and do new versions that can be enjoyed by a new generation?”

The re-recording process is what ultimately inspired Trevi to throw away any previous concepts she had for her upcoming tour and go with the theme of revisiting the past and celebrating the present, much like Swift’s “Eras Tour” did.  In this case, however, the singer known for her rockera flair, promises to deliver a set lasting more than two hours and a rollercoaster of emotions with not only her most popular tracks but also her deepest cuts.

“I am currently in rehearsals, and we are preparing everything from the visuals, the costumes, the lights, musical and silent moments. It’s very exciting, and I’m working with people I like to work with, a first-class team to give the public what they deserve, which is my gratitude for their love,” Trevi says. “Obviously, I will sing the hits because that’s what people want to hear, but I want to sing some songs that are the hits in your home, ones that you may have heard and wondered why Gloria never sang them live.”

To achieve her vision, Trevi is working with Silent House Group, a production company that has worked with Swift, Bad Bunny, Harry Styles and P!NK, and stylists The Blonds and Lucca Falconi. The tour will also boast a diverse crew of approximately 50 people, including nine musicians and six dancers, from Mexico, London, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. and Argentina.

Trevi continues her tradition of giving young artists the opportunity to take the stage and will have singer MAR, daughter of Marco Antonio Solís, as an opener for the tour. Back in 2019, Trevi had rising superstar Karol G as a special guest on her tour.

“Her show is amazing. She’s an amazing live act,” says Live Nation’s Garcia, who has worked with Trevi since 2016 and praises her attention to detail. “She has an amazing band and dancers, and there are elements that flow in and out of the stage. There’s this element of theatricality that she always develops for every single tour. She has an amazing voice and stage presence. She separates herself from the rest of the pack because she’s just a complete artist from A to Z — she’s a singer-songwriter, great dancer and just a great performer overall.”

Simply put: she’s an icon whose legacy will always be a topic of either celebration or debate, but Trevi’s distinguished raspy yet soothing voice, bold fashion and disruptive anthems moved the needle and provided a jolt to Latin bubble-gum pop in the 1990s, a rebellion that continues to this day in Latin music with the urban movement. She’s loving what she sees not only in Mexico but across the Americas and Spain and encourages artists to keep their foot on the pedal.

“Those who have achieved No. 1 hits like ‘Despacito,’ ‘Tusa’ with Karol G [and Nicki Minaj], they open the doors for everyone,” Trevi says. “It’s wonderful to see [the success of] Peso Pluma, a Mexican. It’s something that’s chingonsisima (fucking awesome). There are people who criticize the lyrics for being offensive, and, well, I can’t say anything because I was the Bad Bunny of the ’90s.

“I think there’s room for everything. Music and art, in general, is a way we express ourselves, to express different emotions and feelings. Long live Latinos, long live Mexico, and anyone who doesn’t like it can fuck off,” Trevi added as she cackled.

Hear, hear.