Arts & Culture

“Barbie Girl” pop group Aqua makes tour stop in Houston on Wednesday 

Their 2023 U.S. tour started out in Washington at the Paramount Theater, where Nystrøm said they were welcomed by loyal fans. 

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Gudmund Thai

A Danish-Norwegian pop band that dominated the charts and set the wheels of a hot pink fashion movement in motion with a single hit is coming to town Wednesday.

Aqua quickly rose to fame after storming the Danish pop scene with one of the most attention-grabbing melodies in 90’s pop history: Barbie Girl. “Life is plastic, it’s fantastic…” Those tunes, and other Eurobeat-infused Aqua songs rose in the charts, today amassing more than 400 million hits on Spotify and billions elsewhere.

Aqua’s Lene Nystrøm and René Dif recently sat down for a chat with Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse ahead of their scheduled Houston show.

Nominated for two Grammy awards just this year, the group credits much of their newfound attention to one of the highest-grossing movies in modern day history, the 2023 hit Barbie.

“We’ve been dreaming of this tour for a quarter of a century, and with this movie happening it opened some doors for us to be able to tour here,” Nystrøm said.

Their 2023 U.S. tour started out in Washington at the Paramount Theater, where Nystrøm said they were welcomed by devoted fans.

“We didn’t know that we had so many loyal fans here, and they know the songs, they dress up,” she said.

Now Dif and Nystrøm said they’re thrilled to make their way to the Lone Star state for the first time.

As for “Barbie Girl,” Nystrøm said it was the right time for the song to rise in charts globally.

“I think it was the right time and the right music and the right loophole at that moment with all the bands coming in at that time like the Backstreet Boys,” she said. “There was a lot of grunge going on. I think it was time to shift a mood, also because of the economy. Music usually follows the economy, the feeling of the world.”

“It was just time for people to have a lighter mood in the music sense,” she said.

Mattel, the toy company that manufactured Barbie dolls placed itself in vehement disapproval of the song in response to it’s accumulated popularity in the 90’s, and the debacle drew a lawsuit that was later thrown out by a judge.

Though Aqua’s original hit “Barbie Girl” wasn’t exactly used in the soundtrack of 2023’s Barbie, a remixed version of the song by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice was incorporated.

“A couple years ago ‘Barbie Girl’ was voted most annoying song in the world,” Nystrøm said. “That’s just a huge compliment. We made an impression, we made people react.”

The group will stop at the House of Blues in Houston Wednesday for their Aqua World Tour. Tickets, starting at $60 are still available. Watch the full interview with Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse below.