Genre: Ranchera Music
Hometown: Huentitán el Alto, Jalisco, Mexico
Albums: Se Me Hizo Tarde la Vida, Mis Duetos, Lobo Herido, El Mayor De Los Potrillos, Camino Inseguro
Hits: "Miseria," "No, No y No,"
Vicente "Chente" Fernandez is one of the most recognizable Mexican cultural icons in the world and is seen as the King of Ranchera music. This uniquely Mexican genre that traditionally features a solitary singer with a single guitar has given inspiration to many Latin genres and Fernandez has turned this style into an art form. Born in 1940 in Jalisco, Mexico, Fernandez grew up in a poor family and was forced to drop out of school in the fifth grade to help his family. Aside from holding many different odd jobs, he found that he had a natural affinity for the guitar, and started winning amateur guitar contests. In the 1960s, Fernandez broke away from the life of traveling Mariachi bands and got his music career started in Mexico City.
After gaining the attention of CBS Mexico in 1966, Fernandez had a bit of a struggle to get his career off the ground. Fernandez sold small amounts of albums and singles, and even appeared in many movies and TV shows, but it wasn't until 1976 that he would achieve the widespread success he had always dreamed of.
His first major hit, and one that is near and dear to Mexican hearts everywhere, was "Volver, Volver." The song became such a runaway success and so intertwined with Mexican culture, that Fernandez was from then on considered to be the King of Ranchera music. The somber song of love hit a chord with Latin listeners and helped Fernandez establish himself as one of the most accomplished Mexican folk musicians in history.
After Fernandez's breakthrough album, he became a Mexican cultural hero, and in the '80s was dubbed "El Idolo de Mexico," by the country's music media. Since then, his career has been marked by countless milestones. He was the very first performer to sell out the 50,000-seat Plaza de Toros bullfighting stadium and even sold out Madison Square Garden during a trip to the United States to perform with his son, Alejandro Fernandez. He is still a pivotal force in Mexican culture and the Latin music scene, and still releases albums and tours extensively.
With 100-plus albums, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a membership in the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, Vicente Fernandez is one of the most successful Mexican musicians ever and is widely-considered to be one of the country's most influential cultural icons.