Hanna and Ashley Pérez Mosa, jointly known as Ha*Ash, are one of Latin America’s most treasured female pop duos. The sisters have roots in Mexico, Louisiana and Houston, so it’ll feel like an international, regional and local show when the platinum-selling, Billboard Award-nominated artists bring their Mi Salida Contigo tour to Sugar Land’s Smart Financial Centre on Thursday, April 20.
Ahead of the show, the Houston Press nabbed a few minutes by phone with Ashley, who sings and plays guitar and keys for the Mexican-American pop act. She said she and Hanna, a multi-instrumentalist who shares lead vocals with Ashley, have considered themselves Houstonians for so long they can’t track when they first arrived here.
"I couldn't put an exact time frame," on how long they've lived in Houston, Ashley said. "We were born in Louisiana, both of our parents are from Louisiana, then we moved to Houston because it was a hub, because we'd live six months in Mexico, then we'd go six months between Houston and Louisiana. So basically I think our home is practically everywhere, especially nowadays."
That's because the band is so busy touring the globe with its music. Ha*Ash is on the road across the US from the first week of April ‘til the end of May, supporting their 2022 album Haashtag, their latest studio record dating back to their eponymous 2003 debut.
"We started singing in churches,” Ashley said of their music origins. “We would do all types of church concerts because we started in the choir with my grandmother, that was in Louisiana, and then we started doing our own little concerts, singing gospel obviously, around all Louisiana.
"Regarding Houston, well, country music, that's in our roots,” she added. “That's more in our songwriting nowadays. You know how in country music you just tell stories? You basically, if you were writing a country song, you get the dog, your husband and the house back, right? So, in our music you can see a lot of the influences of country music.
"We started singing at the Rice Festival, the Rodeo Festival, the Railroad Festival, and all that was obviously in Louisiana. Then we moved to Mexico and we signed with Sony when I was 14, Hanna was 15, and we thought it would be cool to start doing country music in Spanish,” Ashley noted. “So that was our first approach and a lot of record companies said no because they were not willing to take the risk. And now, thanks to Sony Music that believed in our approach with country music in Spanish, we've been together with them for 20 years and just having an amazing time touring the world with our music."
The music is in high demand, too. The Latin American leg of this tour boasted 16 sold-out shows and ticket sales of over 100,000. Fans are high on the new album, particularly the song “Mi Salida Contigo,” which features Mexican singer-songwriter Kenia Os. The album builds on the momentum created by 2017’s 30 de Febrero. That record’s record-breaking tour included 150 sold-out shows in the US, Mexico, Central and South America and Europe, earning the sisters the fitting nickname, “Las Reinas del Sold Out.” In turn, it built on the momentum of the 2015 single "Lo Aprendí de Ti," the first Spanish ballad to reach 1 billion YouTube views.
Ashley said the songs are in Spanish but, as often occurs with good music, they translate easily for anyone who’s interested.
"I mean, anyone who's open to having a good time, listening to good music," she said of the band's listeners, which total more than 10 million streaming subscribers, with more than 23 million social media followers. "We love people to come out and have a good time. Our music is in Spanish, so this whole tour that we're doing is for the Latin-based community that lives in Houston but if anyone likes good music they're welcomed to come out and invite everyone to go to Ha*Ash official. They can get tickets there, see where we're going to be.”
Considering where Ha*Ash is from, it didn’t take long for our chat to take a culinary detour. We reached out to Houston Press readers for fan questions and Ha*Ash superfan Nayeli Plata asked Ashley about the incredible cuisines associated with their stomping grounds – the guiso of Mexico, the gumbo of Louisiana, Houston’s big stew of international foods. Are they foodies, Plata wondered?
"So yeah, we're big foodies," Ashley confirmed with a laugh. "We love sushi so I think Houston has a lot of sushi places that we love. We love Uptown Sushi, Ume Sushi.
"Anywhere you go, it's really good food," she said, sounding more like a Houston restaurant ambassador than a global music superstar. "We also like Tiny Boxwoods cookies. But yeah, those are our favorite places.”
Talking about tasty blends reminded Ashley that English-speaking fans can tap into the band’s sound by checking out a popular, bilingual cover they did for one of the world’s biggest metal acts. Ha*Ash contributed a track to The Metallica Blacklist, a 2021 various artists tribute to Metallica’s Black Album. The four-disc set includes covers by Weezer, Juanes, St. Vincent, Phoebe Bridgers, Miley Cyrus, The Chats, Kamasi Washington, Chris Stapleton and dozens of other bestselling artists.
"If there's anyone that speaks English and wants to hear something in English of ours, we did get invited by Metallica to do ‘The Unforgiven’ from their Black Album. There we sang ‘The Unforgiven’ and we also put a mariachi in there, put our little twist and sang, of course, in Spanish. So that could be something for people who do not speak Spanish, if they want to hear a little bit about us, they can do that," she said.
The band being on the road is good news for Ha*Ash fans, not only because they have a chance to see them live but because that’s the place where new Ha*Ash tunes emerge.
"Right now we're touring, 2023 we have a lot of dates. What's to come next is we'll keep on releasing music because when we're on the road we write and we produce and we record our music while we're on tour,” Ashley said. “So, just invite everyone to follow us on Instagram or Facebook or our web page and hopefully they can enjoy our music."
Ha*Ash, 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20, 2023 at Smart Financial Centre, 18111 Lexington Boulevard in Sugar Land. $49.95 to $205.95.