Vicente Fernández

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For the professional golfer, see Vicente Fernandez (golfer).
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Fernández and the second or maternal family name is Gómez.
Vicente Fernández
Vicente Fernández - Pepsi Center - 06.11.11.jpg
Born Vicente Fernández Gómez
(1940-02-17) February 17, 1940 (age 75)
Huentitán el Alto, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Other names "El Rey de la Canción Ranchera"
"El Charro de Huentitan"
  • Singer-songwriter
  • actor
  • film producer
Years active


Spouse(s) Maria del Refugio Abarca (1963-present
Children 4
Musical career
Instruments Vocals

Vicente "Chente" Fernández Gómez (born February 17, 1940) is a Mexican recording singer, actor, and film producer. Nicknamed as "El Rey de la Cancion Ranchera" (The King of Ranchera Music)[2] throughout the Hispanosphere, Fernández started his career singing for tips on the street, and has since become a cultural icon, recording more than 50 albums and contributing to more than 30 films. He is the father of the popular singer Alejandro Fernández and Vicente Fernandez Jr, and uncle of Jackeline ("Jackie") Fernandez. Vicente Fernandez has won 7 Latin Grammy Awards and 2 Grammy Awards.[3][4]

For over 40 years, Vicente Fernandez has maintained his position as the greatest living singer of Mexico, gathering an operatic vocal range, with a deep understanding of the roots of ranchera music. He is renowned for his melodramatic voice.[citation needed] In the dozens of Mexican films in which he has been a star, a role he often was left to perfection: the proud charro, or Mexican cowboy.[5]

Although less well-known to English-speaking audiences, Fernandez has consistently filled stadiums and venues throughout his 35-plus years of performing.[citation needed] His repertoire consists of rancheras and other Mexican classics. He is accompanied live by a mariachi group, but he is not technically a mariachi musician, as he plays no instrument live. He has sold over 50 million copies worldwide.[6] Fernandez's net worth is $25 million. [7]

Born in the Guadalajara, Jalisco suburb of Huentitán El Alto, Fernández spent his early years on his father Ramon's ranch on the outskirts of Guadalajara. He also worked from a young age as a waiter, dish washer, cashier, and finally manager of his uncle's restaurant. "Chente" as he was known to all, became fond of the idyllic ranch lifestyle. His mother often took him to see the films of Pedro Infante; he has said of these films' significance: "When I was 6 or 7, I would go see Pedro Infante's movies, and I would tell my mother, 'When I grow up, I'll be like him.'" By age 8 he had taken up the guitar and was practicing singing in the style of the ranchera singers he heard on the radio.

Early Life[edit]

Vicente Fernández in the center

As a boy, Fernandez sang at a festival in Arandas, Mexico where he won the contest. Later, at 21, he won 31 pesos in another contest. In 1954 he won an amateur contest sponsored by a Guadalajara television station. It was his first break into performing and he began to play at local clubs and gatherings. But around this time, Fernandez's father lost the ranch and the family moved into the city of Tijuana. Fernandez, who had dropped out of school in the fifth grade, began working odd jobs in the city such as janitor, dishwasher, waiter--whatever he could find--all the while holding to his musical aspirations. He recently said he was originally from Cocula, Jalisco.

In 1960, Fernandez devoted himself to music full-time. He went back to Jalisco, where he performed as a busker and occasionally appeared on the television show La Calandria Musical. After a couple of years Fernandez tried his luck in Mexico City, where he found a job singing in a restaurant called El Amanacer Tapatio. When he wasn't working he was auditioning--unsuccessfully--for record companies. Discouraged, he left around 1963 to marry Maria del Refugio "Cuca" Abarca Villasenor. They now have three sons: Vicente Jr., Gerardo, and Alejandro.[8] Vicente Jr was born 3 months premature in 1963; Fernandez's mother died the same week.


In the spring of 1966, Javier Solís, Mexico's most popular traditional singer, died. Discos CBS, the recording label in the Mexican department of CBS Records International, offered Fernández a recording contract. He released his first recording, "Perdóname", with the company in 1966; Fernández still records for the label, which is now Sony Music Latin of Sony Music Entertainment.

Fernández's career took off and has been nonstop ever since. He branched into acting with the 1971 film Tacos al Carbón. His first hit movie, for which he did the soundtrack, was 1974's La Ley del Monte. In the span of 20 years Fernández has acted, sung, and worked behind the scenes on more than 40 films. He stopped acting in 1991, feeling that he was too old to maintain the proper image for his movies.

Fernández was involved in a scandal where it was made public that he maintained a 10-year relationship with Patricia Rivera. Fernández met her while filming "El Arracadas" in 1977. Years later, she declared that her son Pablo Rodrigo was a product of their relationship, and Fernández gave him his last name; however, DNA tests have disproved this declaration.[8]

Fernández works hard for his audiences and his performances are legendary. His adoring fans consistently pack any venue, from city squares to large U.S. arenas. He promises each audience that he'll sing until they are tired, making his concerts last from 2 1/2 to 4 hours. Maintaining the ranchera tradition, Fernández always performs wearing the charro, an embroidered suit and sombrero.

To me it's (the charro) Mexico's second flag. When I put it on, I become an ambassador.

—Vicente Fernández, as quoted by Matt Weitz, Dallas Morning News

His pride in tradition and dedication to his fans has led to him to perform when many other artists would have canceled. He still tells his fans,

Mientras ustedes aplaudan yo les seguiré cantando. (As long as you keep applauding, I'll keep singing to you.)

In 1970, just as Fernandez was about to go onstage, his father died. Overwhelmed by the tragic news but determined not to let the crowd go without a show, Fernandez went onstage and performed. By the end of the night the critics were comparing him to other famous ranchero artists like José Alfredo Jiménez, Jorge Negrete, and Javier Solís. Since then his music has expanded very rapidly. In 1998 he continued to tour despite the kidnapping of his oldest son. (He was released 4 months later when ransom was paid.)[9]

Fernández has recorded more than 50 albums in 35 years and claims to have recorded 300 more song, making another 30 albums possible even if he retires. When he recorded an album, her spends 12-13 hours in the studio recording up to 18 songs; he takes a day off, then returns for another marathon session of recording another 15 or more songs. From this accumulation, he and his producer choose 12 tracks. Fernández's greatest hit was "Volver, volver," released in 1976; his first million-selling album was 1983's 15 Grandes con el número uno. In 1987 he launched his first tour outside the United States and Mexico when he traveled to Bolivia and Colombia.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Wearing a black coat with yellow accents

By the end of the 1980s, Fernández had been famous more than 22 years, yet he had never earned a major award and was beginning to think he would have to die before he was recognized. His patience was rewarded in 1990 when he released the album Vicente Fernandez y las clasicas de José Alfredo Jiménez, a tribute to Mexico's most famous songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez. The album earned him Billboard and Univision's Latin Music Award for Mexican Regional Male Artist of the Year, which he won 5 times from 1989 to 1993.[10]

In 1994, Fernández was nominated for a Best Mexican-American album Grammy for his album Lastima Que Seas Ajena, but he lost the award to Selena for her album Selena Live!.

In 1998, he was inducted into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame.[11]

In 2002, the Latin Recording Academy recognized Fernández as Person of the Year. That year he celebrated his 35th anniversary in the entertainment industry, a career in which he has sold more than 50 million records. He has 51 albums listed on the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) registry for gold, platinum, and multiplatinum selling records. With 35 years of experience under his belt, Fernandez has helped maintain a Mexican tradition that may well pass away when he does. For someone who was told he'd be better off selling peanuts than singing professionally, Fernández has made a tremendous impact on the music of his homeland. He also has his own star on the walk of fame in Hollywood, California; over 5,000 people attended his star-presentation ceremony, which is a record in itself.

Fernández also has an arena in Guadalajara named in his honor, a star placed with his handprints and name at the Paseo de las Luminarias in Mexico City. In 2010, Fernández was awarded his first Grammy Award for Best Regional Mexican Album for the album Necesito de Tí.[12]

In 2011, production began on The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernández, a narrative feature film that pays homage to Fernández's enduring legacy.

On October 22, 2012, a stretch of 26th Street (a street in a Hispanic neighborhood of Chicago called Little Village) was named in his honor.

In 2015, Fernández was awarded his second Grammy Award for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) for the album Mano A Mano – Tangos A La Manera De Vicente Fernández.[13][14]

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Fernández received two awards from multiple nominations.

Year Recipient Award Result
1984 La Diferencia Best Mexican-American Performance[15] Nominated
1991 Las Clásicas de José Alfredo Jiménez Best Mexican-American Performance[16] Nominated
1994 Lástima Que Seas Ajena Best Mexican-American Album[17] Nominated
2010 Necesito de Tí Best Regional Mexican Album Won
2015 Mano a Mano - Tangos a la Manera de Vicente Fernández Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) Won

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.

Lo Nuestro Awards[edit]

The Lo Nuestro Awards is an awards show honoring the best of Latin music, presented by television network Univision. Fernández received fourteen awards from thirty three nominations.[18]

Year Recipient Award Result
1989 Himself Regional Mexican Artist Won
El Cuatrero Regional Mexican Album of the Year Nominated
"Dos Corazones" (shared with Vikki Carr) Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
1990 Himself Regional Mexican Artist Won
Por Tu Maldito Amor Regional Mexican Album of the Year Nominated
"Por Tu Maldito Amor" Regional Mexican Song of the Year Won
"Mujeres Divinas" Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
1991 Himself Regional Mexican Artist Won
"Amor De Los Dos" (shared with Alejandro Fernández) Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
1992 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Won
Arriba el Norte y Arriba el Sur (shared with Ramón Ayala Regional Mexican Album of the Year Nominated
"Que Sepan Todos" Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
1993 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Won
Qué De Raro Tiene Regional Mexican Album of the Year Nominated
1996 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Nominated
Aunque Me Duela el Alma Regional Mexican Album of the Year Nominated
1998 "Nos Estorbó la Ropa" Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
1999 "Me Voy a Quitar de En Medio" Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
2000 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Nominated
2001 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Nominated
Himself Ranchera Performance Nominated
Lobo Herido Regional Mexican Album of the Year Nominated
2002 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Nominated
Himself Ranchera Performance Nominated
2003 Himself People's Internet Choice Award: Regional Mexican Won
2004 Himself Ranchera Performance Nominated
2005 Himself Ranchera Performance Nominated
2006 Himself Ranchera Performance Won
2007 Himself Ranchera Performance Won
2008 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Nominated
Himself Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2009 Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Won
Himself Ranchera Performance Won
2010 Himself Artist of the Year Nominated
Himself Ranchera Performance Won
Himself Regional Mexican Male Artist Nominated
"El Último Beso" Regional Mexican Song of the Year Nominated
2012 Himself Ranchera Performance Nominated
2013 Himself Ranchera Performance Nominated
2014 Himself Ranchera Performance Won

^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Lo Nuestro Awards held that year.



  • 1991 - Mí querido viejo (My dear old man)
  • 1990 - Por tu maldito amor (For Your Damned Love)
  • 1987 - El cuatrero (The Rustler)
  • 1987 - El Diablo, El Santo Y El Tonto (The Devil, the Saint, and the Fool)
  • 1987 - El Macho (The Tough One)
  • 1987 - El Embustero (The Liar)
  • 1985 - Entre Compadres Te Veas (You Find Yourself Among Friends)
  • 1985 - Sinvergüenza pero honrado (Shameless but Honorable)
  • 1985 - Acorralado (Cornered)
  • 1985 - Matar O Morir (Kill or Die)
  • 1983 - Un hombre llamado el Diablo (A Man Called the Devil)
  • 1982 - Juan Charrasqueado & Gabino Barrera
  • 1981 - Una Pura y Dos Con Sal (One Pure and Two with Salt)
  • 1981 - El Sinverguenza (The Shameless One)
  • 1981 - Todo un Hombre (All a Man)
  • 1980 - Como Mexico no Hay Dos (Like Mexico there is no other)
  • 1980 - Picardia Mexicana Numero Dos (Mexican Rogueishness Number Two)
  • 1980 - El Coyote y La Bronca (The Coyote and The Problem)
  • 1979 - El Tahúr (The Gambler)
  • 1977 - Picardia Mexicana (Mexican Rogueishness)
  • 1977 - El Arracadas (The Earringer)
  • 1975 - Dios los Cria (God Raises Them)
  • 1974 - Juan Armenta el Repatriado (Juan Armenta, The Repatriated One)
  • 1974 - El Albañil (The Bricklayer)
  • 1974 - La Ley Del Monte (The Law of the Mountain)
  • 1974 - Entre Monjas Anda El Diablo (The Devil Walks Between Nuns)
  • 1974 - El Hijo del Pueblo (Son of the People)
  • 1973 - Tu Camino Y El Mio (Your Road and Mine)
  • 1973 - Uno Y Medio Contra El Mundo (One and a Half Against the World)
  • 1972 - Jalisco Nunca Pierde (Jalisco Never Loses)
  • 1971 - Tacos Al Carbon (Grilled Tacos)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Final Nominations List". Grammy. National Academy of Recording Arts & Science, Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Vulpo, Mike (February 8, 2015). "2015 Grammy Award Winners: The Complete List". E! Online. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Jeff Tamarkin (Rovi Corporation). "Vicente Fernández - Biography". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b [1]
  9. ^ world music legends Global Rhythm
  10. ^ "Vicente Fernandez Biography". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  11. ^ Burr, Ramiro (July 25, 1998). "Hats Off to the Music of Regional Mexican". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 110 (30): 49. Retrieved April 11, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Vicente Fernández gana su primer Grammy anglo". Terra Networks Mexico. January 31, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Final Nominations List". Grammy. National Academy of Recording Arts & Science, Inc. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Vulpo, Mike (February 8, 2015). "2015 Grammy Award Winners: The Complete List". E! Online. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Complete List of the Nominees for 26th Annual Grammy Music Awards". Schenectady Gazette (The Daily Gazette Company). January 9, 1984. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ "List of Grammy nominations". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina: The New York Times Company). January 11, 1991. Retrieved February 24, 2015. 
  17. ^ "36th Grammy Awards – 1994". Rock on the Net. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  18. ^ Lo Nuestro Awards:

External links[edit]