Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.
Martha Ivelisse Pesante Rodríguez, better known as reggaeton diva Ivy Queen, returns to Chicago as part of the Club Papi series of Latin parties.
Originally from the group, The Noise, the iconic singer went solo in 1996. She quickly conquered fans in Puerto Rico and Latin America. Ivy Queen became known as the Queen of Reggaeton, a singer with fierce stage persona.
Now part of the Latin club series, Ivy Queen is conquering 12 cities in three weeks. Jerry Nunn caught up with the busy diva gearing up for her arrival at Chicago's Circuit Nightclub.
JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hola, Ivy!
IQ: (Ivy Queen) Hola, how are you? You want to do the interview in spanglish?
JN: Claro, I mean sure. I saw your performance with La India at the Congress last year.
IQ: Did you enjoy it?
JN: I did. You were amazing.
IQ: Thank you thank you, full of energy. I was pregnant and I didn't even know it.
JN: That is crazy. I couldn't tell.
IQ: I was still working and we didn't know until later. I was having all the symptoms. I have a condition of migraines. When you have migraines you have the same symptoms. I thought it was a migraine but it lasted for a month and a half.
JN: You don't drink alcohol anyways so that wasn't an issue with being pregnant.
IQ: No, I don't drink.
JN: Congrats on your new baby and family.
IQ: Thank you. My new little precious doll...
JN: I was adopted myself so I appreciate that you adopted children as well. Where did the name Ivy Queen come from in the first place?
IQ: My name is Ivelisse but they call me Ivy. I put together the Ivy and the Queen because you need a rank, bro. [laughs] Every woman has to be viewed as a queen. Viewing themselves as a queen is the point of it.
JN: Your nickname is Queen of Reggaeton, so that is huge.
IQ: It's a title with a lot of work behind it.
JN: I don't know of a more famous woman in the world of reggaeton. Fans are very excited about you coming to Chicago for this concert at Circuit.
IQ: This tour is special for me because I was trying to do this tour for the longest. I was trying to put it together and it didn't happen. It happened now when I recently had the baby. God works through mysterious ways so I am happy and blessed to accept it. I really wanted to do the gay tour. Those are the fans that artists always forget about. Famous bands throw big concerts and they forget about the community.
This is special for me because my best friends are gay and I am always around them. It is a bit of an emotional thing for me.
JN: Do you have any songs specifically written for gay fans?
IQ: No, but my songs have very dance like beats just not gay lyrics. I haven't sat down to specifically write them.
JN: You have tackled a wide variety of subjects in the past with your songs.
IQ: I do have a song on the album Musa titled "Caminando Por La Vida" where I touch different subjects and one of them is about the gay community, color, and religion. It is about how these subjects divide people.
JN: How do you feel when you see a drag queen perform one of your songs.
IQ: I sit down and at first I have to laugh then I look at the outfit, the shoes, makeup, the hair. It is usually like, "Oh my god that is a nice hairstyle. I should wear it next time!" [laughs] They are very creative that's why I love the community. They are not afraid to go all out. That is one of the main things I love about them, the creative ways they do things. They do things big, honey! There is no little budget things with drag queens. They go big!
JN: I can hardly wait to see what you wear. I have seen you wearing some creative clothing in the past.
IQ: I got the drag inside, honey, it is trapped!
JN: What color is your hair now because it was burgundy last year.
IQ: It is blonde. I went back to blonde.
JN: Do you know what songs you will be singing at Circuit? Maybe "La Vida es Asi" or "Cuentale" is my favorite.
IQ: I am making a little collage of them. Remember it is a 35 minute show so it is all of the songs that I feel have had an impact. So that is what I am planning. "La Vida es Asi" I will do for you!
JN: Great. Are you bringing any backup dancers?
IQ: No, it will be a DJ with vocalists.
JN: You have an album titled Diva. Do you consider yourself a diva?
IQ: The only time I consider myself a diva is when I go shopping. In the house I have to cook, clean, and do the whole thing. That is the only diva, the shopaholic diva!
JN: Are you located in New York currently?
IQ: I just moved recently to Miami. They say New York is the city of dreams then I say Miami is the city of opportunities. There are so many things to do. There are so many people there that I want to reach to help. Basically the gay community has worked out for me in a way that I didn't imagine was going to happen.
JN: Do you want to do more acting like in The Vagina Monologues in Miami? Talk about that experience.
IQ: That was amazing. First they gave me the script and it was asking for a particular accent. It was a Mexican accent. I wanted to do it like Ivy Queen would do it. Ivy Queen will curse and say bad words. She will say whatever she feels. The producer wanted an example so I gave her a sample. She was laughing and rolling. She told me I had to do it that way and flip the script if I needed to!
It was a nice experience and I loved it. Era impresionate, it left an impression so I would do it again. If I have another chance I will do it.
JN: Your ninth album is coming out in February. Tell our readers about it.
IQ: The name is Vendetta, which is revenge in Italian. That is what I am going to be doing. A little bit of revenge on the guys. That is Ivy Queen. I am always representing the ladies and defending them.
The title comes from when I was pregnant some of the big names that contract artists didn't approach me to work. It was like I was ill or dead to them. With Vendetta I need to speak, honey.
JN: So no quest stars on this album?
IQ: I will have a few features.
JN: I heard you are writing an autobiography.
IQ: Yeah, I have so many notes. I have always said, "When an artist dies, there comes the book." After someone dies there are so many things that people say and you don't know if it is true or false. I want to do it when I am alive. I want it to be not only a biography but a type of book with quotes at the same time. I will talk about when I was hungry and trying to reach opportunities. I want to help people's self esteem with it. I don't think just being born is that interesting.
JN: You have been through a lot being poor and impoverished when you were younger.
IQ: I had to grow. I wasn't born in a good situation economically. I felt I have to speak out for people to believe in their own selves.
JN: Do you know when this book will come out?
IQ: I don't know a lot about the editorial side but I am into the writing of it right now. When we launch it that will be complicated with lawyers. I will do what I do best and that is writing then I will work on the second phase.
JN: Well, I am looking forward to this show at Circuit in the meantime.
IQ: You are going to love it. I am working with Joey Rolon as a stylist. He has worked with Grace Jones, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige. You know my clothes are going to look bangin'!