Vicente Fernandez is Mexico’s most beloved and prolific traditional music star. Known as El Rey de la Ranchera, the singer excels at powerfully emotional renderings in the classic folk style of Mexico, consistently displaying a level of talent that has long since elevated Fernandez to living legend status.
With over 80 albums to his credit, as well as an extensive filmography of starring roles as a dramatic actor, the inexhaustible vocalist’s consistency and dedication are formidable: He has been married to the same woman, Maria “Cuquita” Fernandez, for over four decades and recorded for one, and only one, record company, for whom he has sold more than 50 million albums.
An instantly recognizable symbol of pride and tradition, Fernandez serves as Mexico’s de facto ambassador at-large, but his celebrated international status was a hard-earned one. A fifth-grade dropout, Fernandez was winning talent contests by 14 and by his early 20s, after perfecting his craft in Guadalajara (where he performed as a street singer), Fernandez traveled to Mexico City in pursuit of his dream to become a singing star. Initially rewarded only with derision and dismissal from record companies, Fernandez stoically persevered and by 1966 was finally able to land a recording contract, resulting in his first release “Perdoname.”
From that point on, Fernandez's star steadily ascended, both as a singer and, beginning with 1971’s “Tacos al Carbon,” as an actor. His 1976 smash hit version of the forlorn “Volver, Volver” cemented the singer’s reputation as Mexico's premier interpreter of rancheras, embraced by audiences and critics alike. Fernandez has rewarded fans ever since via his famed motto, “As long as you keep applauding, I'll keep singing,” and his concerts frequently run as long as four hours.