Vicente Fernández Gómez
17 February 1940
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
|Years active||1965–2016, only retired from performing|
|Net worth||$25 million|
|Children||4, including Alejandro Fernández|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, trumpet, keyboard|
Vicente "Chente" Fernández Gómez (born 17 February 1940) is a Mexican retired singer, actor, and film producer. Nicknamed "El Charro de Huentitán" (The Charro from Huentitán), "El Ídolo de México" (The Mexico's Idol), and "El Rey de la Música Ranchera" (The King of Ranchera Music), Fernández started his career as a busker, and has since become a cultural icon, recording more than 50 albums and contributing to more than 30 films. 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 only sings live. Vicente's fame rose after the death of Javier Solís (El Rey del Bolero Ranchero).
Fernández's work has earned him three Grammy Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards, fourteen Lo Nuestro Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has sold over 50 million copies worldwide, making him one of the best-selling regional Mexican artists of all time. In 2016, Fernández retired from performing live, although he continues to record and publish music.
Born on 17 February 1940 in the suburb of Huentitán El Alto in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Fernández spent his early years on his father Ramon's ranch on the outskirts of Guadalajara. He also worked at a young age as a waiter, dish washer, cashier, and finally manager of his uncle's restaurant. "Chente", as he was commonly known, 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. As a boy, Fernández sang at a festival in Arandas, Mexico where he won the contest. Later, at 12, 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. Around this time, however, Fernández's father lost the ranch and the family moved into the city of Tijuana. Fernández, who had dropped out of school in fifth grade, began working jobs in the city such as janitor, dishwasher, waiter and whatever else he could find, all the while holding to his musical aspirations.
In 1960, Fernández 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 Fernández tried his luck in Mexico City, where he found a job singing in a restaurant called "El Amanacer Tapatío". When he wasn't working, he was auditioning -unsuccessfully— for record companies. Discouraged, he left around 1963 to marry María del Refugio "Cuca" Abarca Villasenor. They now have three sons: Vicente Jr., Gerardo, and Alejandro. Vicente Jr was born 3 months premature in 1963; Fernández'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.
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. He stopped acting in 1991. Maintaining the ranchera tradition, Fernández always performs wearing the charro, an embroidered suit, and sombrero.
In 1970, just as Fernández was about to go onstage, his father died. Overwhelmed by the news but determined not to let the crowd go without a show, Fernández went onstage and performed. By the end of the night the critics were comparing him to other famous ranchera artists like José Alfredo Jiménez, Jorge Negrete, and Javier Solís. Since then his music has expanded rapidly. In 1998, he continued to tour despite the kidnapping of his oldest son. (He was released 4 months later with a ransom of $3.2 million.)
Fernández has recorded more than 50 albums in 35 years and claims to have recorded 300 more songs, making another 30 albums possible even if he retires. When he records an album, he 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 1972; 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. On 16 April 2016, Vicente Fernández performed for the last time in his career at Estadio Azteca effectively announcing his retirement.
Politics and controversies
Fernández has long been associated with the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000 and again between 2012 and 2018. Fernández was one of the many performers who participated in the "Solidaridad" campaign during the administration of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, and has also performed at PRI rallies, attended PRI events or met with politicians from that party; on one occasion, he performed the song "Estos celos" for then-President Enrique Peña Nieto (a PRI member) during an official celebration.
Fernández sparked controversy after some statements he made during an interview in May 2019 regarding his health. Fernández stated that he had been interned at a hospital in Houston, United States to undergo a liver surgery, but he decided to reject a transplant because he did not "want to sleep with [his] wife while having the liver of another man, who could have been a homosexual or a drug user".
In January 2021, Fernández sparked another controversy after placing his hand on a fan's breast while taking a picture with her family. A few days later, Fernández issued an apology to the woman's family, stating that "I admit that I was wrong, I don't know if I was joking, maybe it was a joke [...] I don't know. I do not remember, there were many people (with whom I took photos), sincerely I offer an apology".
Awards and nominations
In 1990, Fernández released the album Vicente Fernandez y las clásicas de José Alfredo Jiménez, a tribute to Mexico's famous songwriter from Guanajuato known as The "God of Ranchera Music" José Alfredo Jiménez, who is also his main musical influence. 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.
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 and was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. He has 51 albums listed on the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for gold, platinum, and multiplatinum-selling records. 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 itself.
Fernández also has an arena in Guadalajara named in his honor, a star placed with his hand prints 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 his record Necesito de Tí.
On 10 October 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.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1984||...Es La Diferencia||Best Mexican-American Performance||Nominated|
|1991||Las Clásicas de José Alfredo Jiménez||Best Mexican-American Performance||Nominated|
|1994||Lástima Que Seas Ajena||Best Mexican-American Album||Nominated|
|1995||Recordando a Los Panchos||Best Mexican-American Performance, Vocal or Instrumental||Nominated|
|1997||Vicente Fernández y sus Canciones||Best Mexican-American/Tejano Music Performance||Nominated|
|1999||Entre El Amor y Yo||Best Mexican-American Music Performance||Nominated|
|2000||Vicente Fernández y los Más Grandes Éxitos de Los Dandys||Best Mexican-American Music Performance||Nominated|
|2001||Lobo Herido||Best Mexican-American Music Performance||Nominated|
|2002||Más Con el Número Uno||Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album||Nominated|
|2008||Para Siempre||Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album||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|
|2017||Un Azteca En El Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo)||Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano)||Won|
^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.
Latin Grammy Awards
The Latin Grammy Awards are awarded annually by The Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences of the United States. Fernández received eight awards from fourteen nominations and also earned the Latin Recording Academy for Person of the Year.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2000||Vicente Fernández y los Más Grandes Éxitos de Los Dandys||Best Ranchero Album||Nominated|
|2002||Más Con El Número Uno||Won|
|2003||35 Aniversario – Lo Mejor de Lara||Won|
|2004||En Vivo Juntos Por Ultima Vez (shared with Alejandro Fernández)||Won|
|Se Me Hizo Tarde la Vida||Nominated|
|2005||Vicente Fernández y Sus Corridos Consentidos||Nominated|
|2007||La Tragedia del Vaquero||Nominated|
|Album of the Year||Nominated|
|2009||Primera Fila||Best Ranchero Album||Won|
|2010||Necesito de Ti||Won|
|2011||El Hombre Que Más Te Amó||Won|
|2014||Mano a Mano – Tangos a la Manera de Vicente Fernández||Nominated|
^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Latin Grammy Awards held that year.
Lo Nuestro Awards
|Year||Nominee / work||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 of the Year||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|
|Lobo Herido||Regional Mexican Album of the Year||Nominated|
|2002||Himself||Regional Mexican Male Artist||Nominated|
|2003||Himself||People's Internet Choice Award: Regional Mexican||Won|
|2008||Himself||Regional Mexican Male Artist||Nominated|
|2009||Himself||Regional Mexican Male Artist||Won|
|2010||Himself||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Himself||Regional Mexican Male Artist||Nominated|
|"El Último Beso"||Regional Mexican Song of the Year||Nominated|
^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Lo Nuestro Awards held that year.
Vicente Fernandez has an extensive discography.
- 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 (Fully Manly)
- 1980 – Como Mexico no Hay Dos (Like Mexico There is No Other)
- 1980 – Picardia Mexicana Numero Dos (Mexican Rogueishness Number Two)
- 1980 – Coyote and 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 Wild)
- 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)
- 1971 – Tacos Al Carbón (Grilled Tacos)
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- ""Acosar es que yo le haya bajado la blusa": así respondió Vicente Fernández al escándalo del video con su seguidora" ["Harassing is that I have lowered her blouse": this is how Vicente Fernández responded to the scandal of the video with his follower]. Infobae (in Spanish). 26 January 2021. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
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- "Univision Announces the Nominees for Spanish-language Music's Highest Honors Premio Lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina". Univision. 27 March 1996. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
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