After participating in different bands in her native city, regional Mexican singer Alicia Villarreal joined successful Grupo Límite
, playing along with accordionist Gerardo Padilla, guitarist Sergio Ponce, bassist Jesús Cantú, percussionist Carlos Ramírez, and drummer Juan Cantú.
debuted with the release of Por Puro Amor in 1995, becoming a top-selling group soon after. Alicia Villarreal's first solo album, called Soy Lo Prohibido, was produced by Homero Patón and released by the Latin division of Universal
in 2001. Cuando el Corazon Se Cruza appeared in early 2004, and 2006's Orgullo de Mujer cracked the Billboard 200, landed at number eight on Top Latin Albums, and earned the singer a Grammy nomination. A Mexican and US tour followed that lasted well over a year. When Villarreal re-emerged with La Jefa in 2009, it relied much more on the traditional Mexican fare of her earlier career than on the fusion of norteno and Latin pop that made her a star. Its bouncy rancheras and sanguine ballads were rife with accordions and tubas dominating the mix. It resonated with fans, too: The album placed well within the Top 200 and hit the number four spot on Top Latin Albums, spending 14 weeks on the chart. In addition, it topped the Mexican Regional albums chart after debuting at number 11 and spent nine weeks in the number one position. Her tour plans were interrupted when her 36-year-old brother José Víctor Villarreal Esparza, was killed in a car accident; other than compilation albums, La Jefa was her last release for eight years. She spent her time raising two young sons and collaborating behind the scenes with with her husband, hit producer and bandleader Cruz Martinez (Los Super Reyes
). In July of 2017, Villarreal announced her return to music with the pre-release ranchera single "Haz Lo Que Quieras" (whose video racked up two million views in its first month) and followed it with "Te Aprovechas," a cumbia-cum-mariachi duet with LatinX pop duo Ha*Ash
. A live video version of the cumbia/merengue medley "Yo Sin Tu Amor/El Príncipe" hit a million views after its first release in August. Her Martinez-produced full-length La Villarreal arrived in stores on August 17. ~ Drago Bonacich, Rovi