|Born||Vicente Fernández Gómez
17 February 1940
Huentitán el Alto, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
|Years active||1967–present (but no longer performing live, still making albums though)|
|Net worth||$25 million|
|Spouse(s)||Maria del Refugio Abarca (m. 1963)|
|Children||4 (including Alejandro Fernández)|
Vicente "Chente" Fernández Gómez (born 17 February 1940) is a Mexican retired singer, actor, and film producer. Nicknamed as "El Rey de la Música Ranchera" (The King of Ranchera Music) 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.
For over 50 years, 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. 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. 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.
Fernandez's work has earned him two 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 has retired from performing live, however continues to record and publish music.
Born on 17 February 1940 Huentitán El Alto suburb of 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 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. 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. 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.
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 ranchera 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.)
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 recorded 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 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. On April 16, 2016 Vicente Fernández performed for the last time in his career at Estadio Azteca effectively announcing his retirement.
Awards and nominations
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.
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.
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.
|1984||"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|
^[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.
|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
|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|
|Himself||Lifetime Achievement Award||Won|
|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.
- 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 - 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 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)
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