Cristian Castro—or simply Cristian, as he is known—has been a performer all his life. As an infant he appeared in commercials with his mother, actress Verónica Castro. As a five-year-old, he appeared regularly on El derecho de nacer (The birthright), a Mexican television series. He soon branched out with his own children’s singing group, Cristian y los Pollitos, and appeared on the variety show Siempre en Domingo con el gallito feliz. As a teenager, Cristian formed a rock group, Los Demonios Deliciosos, and eventually developed a solo career. In 1992 he released his debut album, Agua nueva, which set the tone for a decade of success in his native Mexico. Although not as well known in the United States as Latin singers such as Ricky Martin or Enrique Iglesias, Cristian has earned two Billboard Latin Music Awards: Male of Artist of the Year in 2000, and Hot Latin Tracks Artist of the Year in 2002.
Cristian was born on December 8, 1974, in Mexico City, Mexico. His mother was a well known actress who raised her son alone after separating from his father, Manuel Valdez. As Cristian later remarked in a Grupo Plata online profile, “Yes, I am the son of Manuel Valdez, but I don’t know that man,” adding, “My mother and my father are called Verónica Castro.” Always close to his mother, Cristian credited her with guiding him through his early years as an entertainer. He made his professional debut as an infant when he appeared in a commercial with his mother; he later appeared with her in the Mexican television series El derecho de nacer when he was five years old. Cristian also appeared in a leading role in the stage musical Mame, adapted from the successful Broadway musical for a Spanish-speaking audience.
At seven years old Cristian became the lead singer of a children’s vocal group, Cristian y los Pollitos, which appeared on the variety show Siempre en Domingo con el gallito feliz. By the time he was nine, he was working as a radio personality as well. Performance was a serious business to Cristian. As he recalled in an interview with Ramiro Burr of the Houston Chronicle in July of 2001, “My first concert was [Mexican singer] José José at El Patio in Mexico City in 1978. I was amazed by how he had such an impact with the people. The people went mute when he walked on stage. We were just amazed when he came out, he stood there, and sang his songs with such mastery.” He continued, “It revolutionized my mind, and little by little I understood that that’s what I wanted to do. I tried hard to imitate him, for example how he dressed. Following his work greatly influenced my decision to pursue this profession.” As an adolescent, Cristian was also impressed by Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the first album he bought on his own; he played it so much that he actually wore out the vinyl record.
Cristian formed another band, Los Demonios Deliciosos, when he was in his early teens. The band had a more rock-oriented sound and helped the singer make the transition from child star to adult performer. From his television, radio, and concert appearances, Cristian also began to develop a following as a teenage heartthrob. When he was 16, he represented Mexico as a singer at an international music festival, where he performed the song “Sixteen Decembers.” The appearance helped pave the way for his eventual career as a solo vocalist, an effort that began in earnest in 1991 when he recorded his debut album, Agua nueva. Released in 1992, it confirmed Cristian’s status as one of the brightest new stars on the Mexican pop scene.
Cristian released a string of albums in the 1990s that showcased his impressive vocal range, and an array of musical formats, from rock to acoustic to reggae and even acid jazz. Cristian also included some songs influenced by traditional Mexican musical styles such as ranchera, an urban adaptation of country music developed after 1900. Although he is not as popular in the United States, the releases made Cristian a star throughout Latin America. With success came intense media interest in the singer, particularly in his personal life. His romance with Chilean model Titi Ahubert made headlines in 2000, especially after the relationship ended. Ahubert threatened to write a book detailing their yearlong relationship, which she claimed ended because of Cristian’s difficulties in dealing with fame. As she told OC Vive online, Cristian was “at one moment very well and five minutes later totally the opposite,” adding, “He was under such great pressure, because he is a famous person.” Cristian refrained from complaining about the publicity surrounding his
Born Cristian Castro on December 8, 1974, in Mexico City, Mexico, to Veronica Castro and Manuel Valdez.
Worked as a child actor on Mexican television; sang with Cristian y los Pollitos and later Los Demonios Deliciosos; released first solo album, 1992; subsequent releases include Un segundo en el tiempo, 1993; El camino del alma, 1994; El deseo de oir tu voz, 1996; Exitos, 1996; Lo mejor de mi, 1997; Mi vida sin tu amor, 1999; and Azul, 2001.
Awards: Billboard Latin Music Award, Male Artist of the Year, 2000; Billboard Latin Music Award, Hot Latin Tracks Artist of the Year, 2002.
love life, telling OC Vive that “If the public wants to know about my personal life, that’s fine.” He admitted, however, that his career always came first and that his personal relationships sometimes suffered as a result.
By 2000 Cristian had sold about six million albums, over two million of them his 1997 release Lo mejor de mi and the 1999 release Mi vida sin tu amor. Although his success in the United States was no match for crossover artists like Ricky Martin or Jennifer Lopez, who sang in both English and Spanish, Cristian’s popularity won him the Billboard Latin Music Award for Male Artist of the Year in 2000. The honor helped sales of Mivida sin tu amor to reach the double-platinum level in the United States. The following year Cristian released his most popular album to date, Azul, which earned a platinum sales award a year after its American release. Cristian considered Azul his artistic breakthrough. “I worked hard on my interpretations and the lyrics,” he told Burr of the Houston Chronicle. “I learned to make my words more meaningful. In this album I looked inside myself…. The album reflects that.”
Although Cristian was proud of his work on Azul, it received mixed critical reviews. Characterizing it as “overstated in its arrangements, lyrics, and intent,” Billboard reviewer Michael Paoletta dismissed most of the songs on Azul as “too overwrought, too reliant on one big chorus after another,” although he was nonetheless impressed by the singer’s “remarkable, multi-octave register, equally at ease in his natural tenor as in high, effortless falsettos.” Despite the review, Azul secured a Billboard Latin Music Awards nomination as Best Male Pop Album of the Year in 2002. The title track also scored a nomination for Best Latin Pop Airplay Track. Although Cristian lost out on those two nominations, his third, for Hot Latin Tracks Artist of the Year, was successful. The award signaled that he was now a star in North America in addition to his long-standing popularity in Latin America.
Following Azul’s success, Cristian announced plans to record at least one English-language track on his next album. A popular concert performer, he also planned to continue his extensive schedule of touring, which routinely included over 70 concert dates around the world. Despite his success, Cristian remained one of the more enigmatic figures on the Latin pop scene. As he explained in an interview with HTV, “I live a very profound life, very intense, and this intensity makes everything affect me very much…. Success and fame are very beautiful, but they come and they go.” In 2002 Cristian’s record company, BMG-RCA, announced plans to release a greatest hits collection of his work.
Agua nueva, Fonovisa, 1992.
Un segundo en el tiempo, Fonovisa, 1993.
El camino del alma, FON, 1994.
El deseo de oir tu voz, Melody, 1996.
Exitos, Fonovisa, 1996.
Lo mejor de mi, RCA, 1997.
Mi vida sin tu amor, RCA, 1999.
Remixes, RCA, 2000.
Azul, Ariola, 2001.
Perfiles, Universal, 2001.
Grandes exitos, RCA, 2002.
Billboard, March 16, 1996, p. 93; June 9, 2001, p. 22.
Houston Chronicle, July 6, 2001.
“Biografia de Cristian Castro” (text translated by the author), Grupo Plata, http://www.grupoplata.com.mx/biografias/ccastro.html (September 3, 2002).
“Cristian Castro: Biografia” (text translated by the author), HTV, http://www.htv.com/artists/cristian_ca/index.asp (Sep-tember 4, 2002).
“Cristian Castro se queja de prensa mexicana por meterse en su vida” (text translated by the author), OC Vive, http://www.ocvive.com/entretenimiento/zona_rosa/724_en_zr_cristian_castro.shmtl (September 4, 2002).
“2002 Billboard Latin Music Awards,” Billboard, http://www.billboardevents.com/billboardevents/latin/awards_finalists.jsp (September 4, 2002).
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