Marco Antonio Solís has just finished lunch, but meat — pork, chicken and beef — is no longer a staple of his diet.
It’s been like that for more than a year, said the 59-year-old Mexican balladeer, whom admirers affectionately call “El Buki,” a reference to the band, Los Bukis, he co-founded in the mid-’70s before his segue to a solo career nearly 20 years later.
“We arrived back home to L.A. a little tired from doing shows in Washington state during the weekend,” he said, four days before his El MÁS Querido Tour (the Most Beloved, with MÁS standing for his initials) comes to the Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 4. Since giving up meat, he says, his voice is stronger, his energy greater. “Life shows us how to take care of ourselves.”
For more than four decades, Solís has built a musical empire writing and performing romantic pop ballads that have been heard around the world. Born in western Mexico in the state of Michoacán, as a child he performed in a family band known as Los Hermanitos Solís. Years later, along with his cousin Joel Solís, they became Los Bukis, which, along with a vibrant solo career, catapulted him and his vibrato into the top tier of Mexican pop royalty.
All told, Solís has recorded more than 300 songs and released more than 20 albums, for which he’s earned five Latin Grammy awards. Now, after two decades as a successful solo act, he’s back to performing with family, this time with a new generation of Solís singers in tow: his daughters, Marla, 18, and Alison, 20.
“We’re super excited about performing with our father,” said Marla. “We get to meet many of his fans who tell us their stories and how they relate to the music and how their children, too, became fans as well.”
For her father, says Alison, “it’s 30% talent and 70% discipline. He has never forced music on us. We truly enjoy every single second.”
Managed by his wife, Cristian “Cristy” Solís, Marco lives in L.A. and maintains a low profile. He’s found camaraderie in others like him who have made Los Angeles their home away from Mexico. Solís, actor-comedian Eugenio Derbez and another close friend, Mexican pop singer Mario Domm, spend their downtime hanging out at one another’s homes, playing spirited games of foosball rather than talking shop.
“We have the freedom to be ourselves,” said Solís, who was previously married to singer Beatriz Adriana. “Eugenio can be very serious and calm, and Mario is very relaxed. We can joke and just talk freely.”
“When you get to a certain level, it’s difficult to have real friends,” said Derbez on Tuesday, moments before accepting his Hispanic Heritage Awards honor in Washington, D.C. “When you meet someone like Marco, who is an idol, icon and legend, you know that he’s not going to ask you for anything. He’s near you because it comes from the heart.”
For Solís, surviving the music business comes down to staying focused and having faith.
“I never thought I’d have a career for 43 years, and I am grateful for that,” he said. “I have always believed that your success is measured by your efforts and being authentic.”
Marco Antonio Solís
2301 N. Highland Ave., L.A.