21 Facts About “El Rey” Chente Fernandez That Will Make You Love Him Even More

After dead legends like Pedro Infante and José Alfredo Jiménez, Vicente Fernández rules supreme in the ranchera music. He has retired from the stage but will continue working in the music industry. His powerful voice and imposing screen and stage presence have made him an icon of Mexican masculinity and Latino identity not only in his native Mexico but also in the rest of Latin America and Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. In his official website, we can read the following regarding his legacy: “As a pioneer, Vicente Fernández is to Mexican music what Hank Williams is to country music, B.B. King is to blues and Woody Guthrie is to folk.” We couldn’t agree more! He is also an advocate for Latino rights and even breaks bread with political personalities such as former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton.

Here are some facts you have to know about this mariachi king, who retired in 2013 but will always live in us through his numerous recordings and the countless memories he left for those who were lucky enough to see him live.

All Hail Chente!

1. He was born in 1940 in Huentitan El Alto, near Guadalajara in Jalisco

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

His father Ramón owned a ranch outside of Guadalajara and young Vicente spent his childhood in a rural environment. He fell in love with nature and with horses, one of this greatest passions. His love for the land is evident in his heartfelt lyrics. In his raspy but educated voice, we can almost taste the tequila, tortillas, and herbs, and feel the harsh Jalisco sun on our face.

2. He is a Chivas Rayadas del Guadalajara fan

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

As a good tapatío, Chente roots for Las Chivas Rayadas del Guadalajara, one of the biggest soccer teams in Mexico. The rivalry that this team has with the Aguilas del América is legendary.

3. He just adores horses

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Chente often shares photos of his equine friends on Instagram. He owns all sorts of breeds and chooses them personally.

4. He is a proud great-grandfather

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

In his core, Chente is far from the macho image that he has built throughout his music and film career. He is now a great-grandfather and a proud one. Just look at this candid moment: melts our corazones in the best possible way. He has four children, including the famous Potrillo, Alejandro.

5. He wanted to be like Pedro Infante

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

But of course. When he was just ab 8-year-old he told his mamacita chula that he wanted to be like Infante, to appear and movies and sing mariachi music. He certainly fulfilled his dream. He began playing guitar when he was only eight.

6. He built his early career by winning singing contests

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Young Chente entered music contests in nearby towns…. and the rest is history. Sort of sounds like the plot from our beloved movie Coco, doesn’t it?

7. He has been with the same label throughout his whole career

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

He is a loyal man:  he released his first recording, “Perdóname”, with Discos CBS in 1966. The label is now Sony Music Latin and he keeps working with them. Lealtad ante todo! 

8. His son Alejandro is a music legend in his own right

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Even if his career has not been short of dreadful alcohol-infused scandals, Alejandro, better known as El Potrillo, is a proud carrier of his father’s name and has built an impressive music career of his own, making mariachi music mainstream in the much coveted Mexico City market.

9. He recorded over 50 albums!

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

In his 35-year career, Chente recorded over 50 albums! Talk about being prolific.

10. His father died just as he was going to go on stage

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

The stuff that legends are made of. in 1970 Chente found out his father had passed just before he was about to step on the stage. He sang while holding the tears back. What a legend.

11. In 1990 he released Vicente Fernandez y las clásicas de José Alfredo Jiménez, the best album ever for an afterparty

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Chente offered a tribute to the old master with this amazing album that is just fantastic for a fiesta… picture yourself at 4 a.m. having a last chela and crying to your favorite heartbreaking tunes.

12. He has won 3 Grammys

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Not bad for a little boy who once dreamt of becoming a famous mariachi. He has received a total of 13 nominations, which sort of makes him the Meryl Streep of ranchera music.

13. He is a vocal Trump critic

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

In one of his last concerts, Chente said that if he ever met him, he would spit on Trump’s face. He is really vocal about his support for Mexican migrants.

14. His favorite drink is…

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

No, not tequila! Chente loves aguas frescas and his staff is always ready with jamaica, tamarindo or horchata with plenty of ice.

15. He is a Frank Sinatra fan

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Yes, besides loving the Mexican mariachis of the golden age, he is fascinated by Sinatra’s voice range and the way he moved on stage. We can certainly see some if Blue Eyes in the way that Chente connects with the audience. This is what The Houston Chronicle once said about him: “Vicente Fernández is the (Frank) Sinatra of ranchera music. He’s the supreme singer; the man who does things his way.”

16. This is what he looks like without his iconic mustache 

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

We are so used to see him with his bigote ranchero that we couldn’t resist publishing this super rare photo. Kinda looks like El No Hay, doesn’t he?

17. He married the love of his life in 1963

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Maria del Refugio “Cuca” Abarca Villasenor is her name, and they have been together through good times and bad times for many, many years. Chente often posts pictures of the older happy couple on his Insta.

18. He was BFF with Juanga

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Talk about a dream friendship. Chente was heartbroken when Juanga died. He posted this amazing pic one year after the great Juan Gabriel passed away and broke our Latino hearts.

19. Social media is his guilty pleasure

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Despite his advanced age, Don Chente is an avid user of social media. Perhaps he finds in social media the level of connection with his fans that any celebrity must strive for.

20. There are often false rumors about his presumed death… give the man a break!

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Chente is always quick to come out and dismiss the rumors. If he died, our abuelitas would be in mourning and there would be no question.

21. His dad died the same year that El Potrillo was born: 1970-1971

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

When life takes, life gives. Chente’s dad died on the same year that one of his sons, the world famous Potrillo was born.

Here’s Everything You Should Know About The Eternal Friendship Between Two Of Mexico’s Pop Icons, José José And Vicente Fernández


Here’s Everything You Should Know About The Eternal Friendship Between Two Of Mexico’s Pop Icons, José José And Vicente Fernández

A key element of celebrity culture is our near obsession with how stars relate to each other. From knowing exactly who Miley Cirus is dating now to feeling like we have the right to know the sexual orientation of figures like Vero Castro (go ask your mom or abuelita if you don’t know who she is. And you should, by the way), celebrity culture is increasingly chismosa and based on knowing about every single detail of other people’s intimate lives. 

But sometimes this is a good thing and we discover great stories of decades-long friendships that survive everything, even death. One of such amistades eternas was the one shared by two of the greatest Mexican icons of all time: Vicente Fernández and José José, who died a few weeks ago, sending a whole country (one could even say that most of Latin America will miss him) into mourning. It’s a friendship that started in the 1980s, when they both consolidated their careers and released their most successful records. 

Just look at them, sharing the stage when they were both young… and healthy.

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Chente recently shared this performance on Instagram. Our heart aches when thinking of José José in his deathbed, consumed by cancer, his prodigious voice just a ghost of times past. Better to remember him like this, healthy, even a bit chonchito but happy. 

They are of course singing the classic ranchera “Pa todo el año”

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

This is just such a wonderful and heartfelt performance in ranchero style. You can see it here

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as they say in “Casablanca”.

Credit: Instagram. @_vicentefdez

Just look at that Mexican bromance. Mejor, imposible. 

And what about this 1990 rendition of “Ya lo pasado pasado”?

Credit: YouTube. @JoseJosemusic

The classic ballad sounds surprisingly amazing with Chente’s deep mariachi voice. And look at JJ in his best times, with that tuxedo that made more than one compare him to the great Frank Sinatra.

Well, Chente recently unveiled a sculpture in the Plaza de los Mariachis in Guadalajara, Jalisco. 

Credit: YouTube. El Vlog de las Estrellas. 

He was celebrated for his long and fruitful career. But he was still mourning the loss of his dear friend, so he did not turn the event on an ego trip, but rather turned the event into an homage to the Prince of Song (wow, the moniker sounds good in English, eh, mijos?). 

This is what Chente had to say about his dear, dear carnalito

Credit: YouTube. Telemundo Entretenimiento

Chente said: “This might not be the right time, but I cannot forget all the times we sang as a duet and our days in the United States, I am talking about  ‘El Príncipe de la Canción’ and myself. I kindly ask for a minute of applause for my great friend. I think he is suffering more now that he is dead because of what is going on than what he suffered while he was alive” (come on, practice your Spanish and read the original Chente speech:

No es el momento, pero no se me olvida las veces que cantamos juntos a dueto y días en Estados Unidos ‘El Príncipe de la Canción’ y yo, y quisiera un minuto de aplausos para mi gran amigo que yo creo que ha sufrido más ahora que murió por lo que está pasando, que en vida“). 

Chente was of course referring to the real Shakespearean fight among José José’s children after the singer died.

Credit: YouTube. Telemundo Entretenimiento

As we reported, there was a level of uncertainty about the whereabouts of the singer´s body after he died, which sent his heirs into an all out battle that has since been resolved. It must have been so deeply hurtful for Chente, however, to see his friend´s memory being tarnished by chismes that would be right on the mark for a telenovela

Spanish-speaking media were quick to acknowledge Chente’s gesture.

Credit: YouTube. TV Azteca

Mexican TV network TV Azteca reported from Miami, where José José died, and cut back to Guadalajara, where Chente was having his celebration. They said that Chente did what the great ones do… recognize other great ones. Even in death, the two friends are joined even a country away. They both remain alive in the hearts of millions of fans the world over. 

Chente is one of the last remaining greats of Mexican popular music.

Credit: YouTube. Telemundo Entretenimiento

With the sad passing of El Príncipe de la Canción we have few remaining Mexican stars of the golden age of pop music, when the show Siempre en Domingo showcased talents like these two amigos and others such as Emmanuel and Rocio Durcal. Chente, now retired from the stage, is one of the last great ones to survive. We wish him many more years. 

This Chilean Competition Show Featured Juanga And Chente Impersonators And They Did Not Disappoint


This Chilean Competition Show Featured Juanga And Chente Impersonators And They Did Not Disappoint

Chilevision / Instagram

Unless you have been living under a rock your whole life, you are well aware that Juan Gabriel and Vicente Fernández are two of the biggest stars in Mexican musical history. For your abuelas and tías, and perhaps for you as well, they are like Elvis, Lady Gaga and the Pope combined. This duo has basically drawn the emotional X-ray of generations of Latinos. The scene feels like home: the smell of mole on the stove and the radio blasting a ranchera. 

We know that Juanga shockingly died in 2016 (please, let him rest in peace and ignore the ridiculous claims that he is still alive, don’t go all Pedro Infante conspiracy theory on us!). In that same year Chente announced his retirement after an epic concert in Mexico City. But a television homage brought them back for a fleeting instant. Ay, dolor!

Yo Soy is a popular television show where impersonators compete against each other.

Credit: Instagram. @chilevision

The show is produced by Chilevision and is a local version of the European program I Am. Three judges chose the best impersonators based on physical appearance, singing ability and of course stage presence. There are other Latin American versions. In Peru, for example, contestants have brought to life the likes of Roberto Carlos, Emmanuel, Adele, Leo Dan and pero por supuesto Luis Miguel. 

This year four great ones came face to face in the record-breaking final: Juanga, Chente, Gustavo Cerati and Aretha Franklin.

Credit: Instagram. @chilevision

The season was full of nostalgia for Latin Americans. Besides Chente and Juanga, who we will never hear live again, the Argentinian rockstar Gustavo Cerati, the lead singer of Soda Stereo, was one of the finalists. Cerati is rock royalty. He died in 2014, four years after falling into a coma. If you are a fan, you can’t miss this great performance by the contestant (but you gotta sing “Persiana americana”). 

But right away Vicente Monsalves impressed everyone basically bringing Juanga back to life.

Credit: Instagram. @fansdevicentevozdejuanga

This young man is hoping to become a veterinarian. He has a stage presence that reminded us of the younger years of “El Divo de Juarez”. Of course, he performed a variety of greatest hits throughout the season, including “Hasta que te conocí”, “Se me olvidó otra vez” and “El Noa Noa”. Get a taste here

His ability to channel all those Juanga vibes got people talking.

Credit: Twitter. @_tennieten

We are sure the similarity brought some to tears. Thread carefully if you wanna show this video to your abuelita

But Cristofer Mera, aka Chente, no se quedó atrás

Credit: Instagram. @chilevision

Mexican mariachi music is extremely popular in South America. In countries like Chile, films from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema featuring the likes of Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante constantly air on public television. So it is no surprise that Cristofer did such a great job capturing the strong but somewhat vulnerable masculinity of a true ranchera singer. Of course, “El Rey” brought the audience to a climax, but this performance of the classic “Volver, volver” brought the audience to their feet. 

But could he beat the Juanga sassiness of the other Vicente? 

Credit: Instagram. @fansdevicentelavozdejuanga

It was uncanny to see Vicente Monsalves serving us that devilish Juanga smile and adopting his mannerisms onstage. Did Juanga resurrect like a modern Mexican kitsch messiah?

Twitter sent all kinds of good juju to the contestants!

Credit: Twitter. @maiki485

That sure looks like a powerful varita mágica. But did it work?

Chente also got some good old Internet encouragement.

Credit: Twitter. @ingcivilubb

 This charro cantor had a lot of viewers feeding out of his hand. 

But of course there could only be one winner… Juanga! Queridaaaaaaaa!

Credit: Instagram. @fansdevicentelavozdejuanga 

Look at that face. He won $12 million Chilean pesos, which translates into roughly 17k USD. Not bad at all! He will use the money to pay for his university fees. Muy bien muchachito, muy bien.

Fans were of course pleased.

Credit: Twitter. @hillbilliees

Awww… that’s cute. A bit too many emoticons, though. 

Some called for a national celebration.

Credit: Twitter. @JavierSapbe69

OK, this dude was just being a bit dramatic, people didn’t actually congregate in downtown Santiago. 

But Twitter also had strong negative reactions to Juanga’s win.

Credit: Twitter. @elias_putrefakto

Some didn’t take the result very well at all. Cerati had some pretty committed fans and took on Twitter to voice their enojo. There will always be some controversy in a show like this, that is exactly what makes TV contests such a delightful guilty pleasure!

You can’t keep everyone happy. Did the best contestant win?

Credit: Twitter. @abarca_patricia

Some Twitter users argued that Juan Gabriel won because of his acting abilities, and that Vicente Fernández and Gustavo Cerati were far more musically talented. But what is done is done, and Yo Soy history has been written.