|Real Name :||Vicente Fernandez Gomez|
|Born :||February 17, 1940|
|Birth Place :||Huentitan el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico|
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. His gift to use his melodramatic voice has no comparison. 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.
Vicente “Chente” Fernandez was born on February 17, 1940 in the village of Huentitan El Alto, Jalisco, Mexico, son of Ramon Fernandez a rancher and a homemaker Paula Gomez Fernandez. At the yong age of six, Chente dreamed of a singing career. At age 8, he got a guitar and quickly learned to play and began to study folk music. Since then, he dreamed of his future: “From what I can remember when I was 6 or 7 years, I went to see the movies of Pedro Infante and told my mom ‘when I grow up I’m going to be just like them’.”
At the age of 14, Chente’s ambition led him to enter an amateur contest in Guadalajara, where he won the first place. With that assurance Chente began playing locally at restaurants and weddings for groups of friends and family. Despite the obstacles, his determination led him down a path that would become a success story.
In early 1963, his mother, Paula Gomez Fernandez dies of cancer at age 47. Later, that same year, on December 27, Chente married Maria del Refugio “Cuquita” Abarca Villaseñor, her neighbor of Guadalajara. Soon the couple had four children: Vicente, Gerardo, Alejandro and Alexandra.
In late 1965 he began to make visits to various record companies. Chente was always rejected, but in the summer of 1966 when Chente signed his contract with CBS Mexico (now Sony BMG) recording his first hits, “Tu Camino y El Mío”, “Perdóname” and “Cantina del Barrio”. Chented had started his journey. Following a series of albums with significant sales, including “Soy de Abajo”, “Ni en Defensa Propia” and “Palabra de Rey”.
Not content with only singing and recording, Chente extends his work into film in 1971. Chente appears in his first Mexican production, “Uno y Medio Contra el Mundo.” Three years later, Chente started in his first hit film, “La Ley del Monte”. The album of the music in this movie also becomes a hit. In the early seventies, Chente was at the pinnacle of success, producing albums of high sales as ““El Idolo de Mexico”, “El Rey”, “El Hijo del Pueblo”, “La Ley del Monte” and “Para Recordar,” with songs that would become part of the repertoire of all the mariachis. Looking ahead, in 1975 Chente takes to the stage his son Alejandro, four years of age, and they sing together for the first time on stage.
In 1976, the song “Volver, Volver” caused a tremendous impact, making it a hymn of ranchera music, broke all sales records and was listened on radios, cars stereos, houses and jukeboxes, while hundreds of groups from Mexico, Central and South America recorded the song. Chente was then and, without question, the new king of ranchera music. This song made him an international star and thus began his memorable and impressive successes.
In the early 80’s, the music media in Mexico, coined a new nickname for Chente, “El Idolo de Mexico,” and stuck. Through the years, his success has prompted hundreds of people to imitate, but none have been able to match Chente’s power and range of opera as a singer. With his growing success, Chente dedicated himself to touring and recording regularly. On stage he likes to repeat some of his favorite sayings like this: Mientras ustedes no dejen de aplaudir, su Chente no deja de cantar.”
By the early ’90s, Chente had appeared in over 20 films, many representing the themes of his albums such as “La Ley del Monte” and “El Rey.” He’s proud to have been true to his record company Sony BMG, with whom he has recorded nearly 100 albums. Chente continued to top charts through the ’90s with “Aunque me Duela el Alma” (1995) and “Me Voy a Quitar de En medio” (1998), the theme of the popular telenovela, “La Mentira”. Chente received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Hall of Fame for Billboard magazine.
Although Chente is known as the king of ranchera music, Chente has written a few songs, but prefers to leave that important task to the experts. “I’ve always said that there aren’t great composers, but great songs,” says Fernandez. “And I never said that I am a composer. It is a very difficult job, however, some ideas and inspirations I have received, when that happens, I run to take a pen and write a few sentences.”
In 2000 that included: “Lastima que Seas Ajena”, “Me Voy a Quitar de en Medio,” “Nos Estorbó la Ropa”,”Estos Celos” were declared the most played Mexican regional tracks in 2007 in the United States.
No wonder Chente is compared to the immortal Frank Sinatra, with a career spanning five decades, Chente has received all the awards and recognition in the entertainment world and beyond. He has won Grammys and Premios Lo Nuestro, regularly tops the lists of the Billboard Magazine and has been recognized with awards for lifetime achievements.
With his trademark charro suit, wide-brimmed hat and impeccable accompaniment of mariachi, Chente has performed in the largest and most prestigious venues in the world.
Chente has recorded over 100 albums, is an influential figure, and ultimately, a critical element, responsible for shaping the growth and development of the genre of modern mariachi music. His music, his songs and his voice on hundreds of recordings, ensure that Fernandez will endure as a constant source of Mexican pride, admiration and inspiration for people worldwide.
Vicente Fernandez is like fine wine … better with age.