Mexico is the country that exports the most entertainment in Spanish language. Mexican pop was limited to Latin America until the mid-1990s, when an interest towards this type of music increased after Luis Miguel's, Lynda Thomas', Selena's, Thalía's, Gloria Trevi's and Paulina Rubio's debuts before the mainstream USA audience.
During the 1960s and 1970s most of the pop music produced in Mexico consisted on Spanish-language versions of English-language rock-and-roll hits. Singers and musical groups like Angélica María, Johnny Laboriel, Alberto Vázquez, Enrique Guzmán or Los Teen Tops performed cover versions of songs by Elvis Presley, Paul Anka, Nancy Sinatra and others.
On September 13, 1969, Televisa, a Mexican company and the world's largest Spanish-language television network launched the variety show Siempre en Domingo (Always on Sundays) hosted by Raúl Velasco. Siempre en Domingo became one of the most popular TV shows in Latin America with about 420 million television viewers around the world (according to Televisa and their partners). Siempre en Domingo was a TV show where many artists performed and debuted. At the time, an appearance was a hallmark of success and performers considered an appearance on the program as a guarantee of stardom similar to The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States. Velasco encouraged many Mexican singers such as Lucía Méndez, Lucero, Emmanuel, Mijares, Gloria Trevi, Timbiriche, and Lorenzo Antonio, and helped many of these to become full-fledged stars within the county. Moreover, Velasco presented foreign artists such as Julio Iglesias, Raphael, Miguel Bosé, Chayanne and Ricky Martin. Artists that would bring pop music to Latin America, were, in part by Siempre en Domingo, helped in that effort thanks for their appearances in the program.
During the 1980s songwriters like Guillermo Méndez Guiú, Rafael Pérez Botija or Aureo Baqueiro wrote songs for singers like Yuri, Lucía Méndez and musical groups like Timbiriche, Flans and Fandango. These groups headed the radio charts in Mexico and launched international career by promoting their music in Latin America. Other pop music icons in Mexico during the 1980s include Ana Gabriel, Juan Gabriel, Roberto Carlos, Franco de Vita, Magneto, Juan Luis Guerra, Emmanuel, Ricardo Montaner, José María Napoleón, and Luis Miguel. Although not all of these singers are from Mexico.
The most well-known Mexican singer of the 1970s and 1980s was José José. Known as "El Principe de La Cancion" (The Prince of the Song), he is recognizable for his romantic ballads and gifted vocals. José José has sold over 40 million albums in his career and became a huge influence to very popular singers like: Cristian Castro, Vicente Fernández, Alejandro Fernández, Nelson Ned, Pepe Aguilar, Manuel Mijares, Lupita D'Alessio, and Reyli.
Beginning in the 1990s, iconic pop act of the 80's Timbiriche began to lose popularity mainly to the constant change of bandmembers, while Magneto stood stable in the music scene. Before the teen bubblegum pop explosion in the US during the late 90's, many pop acts came to light during the mid-90's in Mexico and became successful. Most of them lasted until the end of the decade. This includes boybands Mercurio, Ragazzi, Tierra Cero and Kairo, female singers Lynda Thomas, Fey, Jeans and Irán Castillo, and boy/girl groups Onda Vaselina, Kabah, Sentidos Opuestos and the comeback of Timbiriche in 1998. Minor one-hit wonder acts were successful during this era which were also focused on a teen pop formula.
In 1992 Vikki Carr an American from El Paso, Texas, born to parents of Mexican ancestry won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album for Cosas del Amor an album with the lead single being a duet with Ana Gabriel of the same name. The track earned awards such as a Lo Nuestro Awards for Best Pop Song and the Single of the Year mention by the Radio y Música journal.
By the early to mid 90's, the torch for Mexican music was carried by another Mexican-American singer who had grown up speaking English and learned Spanish as a second language. Texas-born Selena was a Grammy Award winning Tejano singer, who also sang many genres. After bypassing all the Tejano barriors, she quickly earned the title "Queen of Tejano Music." Selena became the first Latin artist to have four number ones in one year in 1994. The four were Donde Quiera Que Estés, Amor Prohibido, Bidi Bidi Bom Bom and No Me Queda Mas. After her success in Spanish and winning a Grammy Award, Selena went to work on her very first English album. The irony was that English was Selena's first language, as she had grown up in Texas and Spanish was actually her second language. Sadly, Selena was murdered in March 1995.
Selena only recorded 4 songs for her crossover album and was scheduled to have 13 songs in English for her album. The crossover album titled Dreaming of You was released in the summer of 1995. It quickly became an International Success. Selena's songs Dreaming of You and I Could Fall In Love quickly became crossover hits on American English language Top-40 and Adult Contemporary radio stations, with the single "Dreaming of You" also certified Gold. The album became among the "Top ten best-selling debuts of all time" along with being the "Best-selling debuts for a Latín Female artist." Selena became the first Latin Artist, male or female, to have ever debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 all-genres album chart. This career achievement helped create the Latín boom in the late 90's
In the late 1990s, Ricky Martin's success in Europe with the hit María and the international launch of 1998 World Cup's theme song, The Cup of Life, and Enrique iglesias success launched a renewed interest in Latin American music. Mexican pop music started to look attractive to international markets.
The most successful Mexican singer of the 1990s was Luis Miguel. Best known for his technically skilled and smooth crooning vocals, Luis Miguel's super-stardom began since the late 1980s. In 1991, his career went to even greater heights and earned him the respect of a wider audience with the release of Romance, an album of romantic boleros. Most of them were from the 1940s and 1950s. Despite singing boleros from years past, Luis Miguel was recognized for reinventing the bolero for modern audiences. The album Romance, which became his most successful album ever, eventually sold 15 million units worldwide. Luis Miguel has successfully performed pop music, bolero, mariachi and romantic ballads. He has won four Latin Grammy Awards, five Grammy Awards, and has sold an estimate of 90 million albums until today. He is known in Latin America and Spain as "El Sol de México" (The Sun of Mexico).
Thalía often referred to as the "Queen of Latin Pop" Televisa has exported media to many countries. This has allowed Mexican actors to take advantage of their popularity to launch music careers in countries where Televisa telenovelas are popular. Some examples of these actors are Lucía Méndez, oGuillermo Capetillo and Verónica Castro. Verónica's son, Cristian Castro, started his career and became popular throughout Latin America.
The most successful singer to combine ranchera, mariachi and pop music was Alejandro Fernández. He originally specialized in traditional, earthy forms of Mexican folk and country music. However, his later work was focused on mainstream pop music.
Singers such as Pepe Aguilar, Paulina Rubio, Gloria Trevi, and Aracely Arámbula have also produced songs that combine traditional Mexican music with popular music. The Mexican pop singers who were very successful in Mexico and the rest of North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia are Thalía, Gloria Trevi and Paulina Rubio.
The idea of creating a pop band after a telenovela was first explored in 1991 with the cast of Muñecos de Papel (With Ricky Martin, Angélica Rivera, and former Timbiriche members Sasha Sokol and Erik Rubin). In 1999, the same formula was explored with the telenovela DKDA with Alessandra Rossaldo (then member of Sentidos Opuestos), Patricio Borghetti and Ernesto D'Alessio. This formula would be explored again in 2004 with the creation of the most successful group in Latinamerica RBD.
In 2000, Gloria Trevi, Andrade, and backup singer Maria Raquenel Portillo were arrested in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on charges of corrupting minors. Trevi was cleared of the charges in 2004, due to lack of evidence, after spending four years and eight months in prison.
The century saw new groups Sin Bandera, RBD, and Belanova as well as new and solo debut singers like Dulce Maria, Anahi Belinda , Julieta Venegas, and Ximena Sariñana. Performance by Reyli for the song "Amor Del Bueno" Yuridia for the song "Como Yo Nadie Te Ha Amado" the Spanish version of the song "This Ain't a Love Song" also saw great success and Daniela Lujan.
Also Pop Music faces competition from other genres such as Banda, Norteño or Pasito duranguense and even from Puerto Rican Reggaeton. The biggest issue is to face the hard pressure that piracy is giving to Mexican market.
This century also saw the crossover of some of Mexican recording artist like Paulina Rubio and Thalía into the English music industry, with bilingual albums, compilation album, that included hit songs in English and Spanish language, and the firsts solo English-language albums by this Mexican Pop artist. The best recording crossover artist has been Paulina Rubio with her first English-language album being Border Girl released on June 18, 2002.
The album's lead single, "Don't Say Goodbye" would become her most successful song in English until her second bilingual album Brave!, two of its three singles "Me Gustas Tanto" (English: I Like You So Much) and "Boys Will Be Boys" became hits for Rubio with Boys will be Boys being Rubios most successful English song to date. The Other singles released from the Border Girl album were "Casanova", and "I'll Be Right Here (Sexual Lover)." Each of the main single releases, as well as other English songs on the album, have Spanish-language counterparts that became big hits on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart and vice versa for songs like Casonova which has an English-language counterpart of the same name. The Spanish-language counterpart for the song I'll Be Right Here (Sexual Lover) is "Y Yo sigo Aqui" (English: "And I'm Still Right Here") the Spanish version of the song by Mexican recording artist Paulina Rubio, taken from her fifth studio album Paulina.
In addition to collaborations with English recording artist like Paulinas song Nada Puede Cambiarme (English: Nothing Can Change Me) the music video, like the song itself, wouldn't have been complete without presence of the legendary former Guns N' Roses' guitarist, Slash. Thalia has collaborated with legendary American singer of traditional pop standards Tony Bennett in a duet for the song The Way You Look Tonight.
Viva Duets is the studio album by Tony Bennett, released in October 2012. Thalias first English-language album Thalia, shares a title with Thalía's 1990 and 2002 Spanish-language albums. "I Want You" was the album's most popular song, peaking at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number seven in the Mainstream chart. It is her only song to date that has charted within the Billboard Hot 100. In Greece, the song peaked number twenty-six in Top 50 singles sales. The Spanish version of the song, "I Want You" was released for the Spanish-languaged audience and also perform quite well on the Latin Charts, peaking within the top ten of the Hot Latin Tracks at number nine. The album's music incorporated Latin pop styles with rock, R&B, dance, and mariachi elements. Vicente Fernandez Mexicos singer of traditional pop ranchera standards and cultureal icon also collaborated with singer Tony Bennett in a duet for Viva Duets for the song Return To Me (Regresa a Mí). Viva duet consists of electronically assembled duets between Tony Bennett and younger singers from various genres like Frank Sinatras "Duets II". In Duets II Frank Sinatra personally invited Luis Miguel to participate on a duet in the album. Luis Miguel has been dubbed several times by the press and the media as the "Latin Frank Sinatra".
The most profitable and popular artists from Mexico nowadays are: Thalía, Gloria Trevi and Paulina Rubio (worldwide), Belanova, Anahí, Luis Miguel, Maná, Fey, Pepe Aguilar, Marco Antonio Solís, Yuridia, Alejandra Guzmán, Yuri and Alejandro Fernández.