Entertainment

Alejandro Fernandez Opens Up About His At-Times Rocky Relationship With Joan Sebastian

The relationship between Joan Sebastian and Alejandro Fernandez and the Fernandez family goes way back, but is not exempt from problems.

“El Poeta del pueblo,” or “the poet of the pueblo” as Joan Sebastian was dubbed, would have been 69 years old on April 8th, 2020. The Mexican singer-songwriter, who was famous for his heartbreakingly beautiful songs, 42 of which landed him on the Hot Latin Songs Chart, died on July 12, 2015, in his ranch in Juliantla, Mexico after battling bone cancer for 13 years. He was 64 years old.

Sebastian had a troubled life. So troubled that one would say the storyline mirrors what we see in a movie or telenovela. He had eight children with five women, two who died, and this was before he was diagnosed with cancer, a disease he fought ferociously until the end performing up until his last days. 

For his birthday, Mexican star Alejandro Fernandez, who considered Sebastian to be a mentor, released a version of “Esto y más.”

Alejandro Fernandez
@alexoficial / Instagram

Alejandro Fernandez was the opening act for Joan Sebastian 20 years ago. It was the first tour of Fernandez’s career. 

“I grew up listening to Joan’s music. But it was more than that — my dad, Joan and I went on tour in the mid to late 1990’s,” Fernandez told Billboard during an interview.

Alejandro Fernandez
@alexoficial / Instagram

“Ever since that moment, I felt close to Joan. We may have had years between us, but we got along great and we were very good friends.”

The single and the video were released on Wednesday. Fernandez and his label, Universal Music Latin Entertainment, donated all proceeds from the song to the foundation “MusiCares COVID-19” in the US and “MusicaMexico COVID-19” in Mexico, which helps musicians and members of the guild.

When Fernandez traveled for the first time with his father and Sebastian many years ago, Sebastian asked Vicente Fernandez for permission to take his son out one night.

“He promised to take care of me,” Alejandro said laughing. “Many years later, I was on tour with Marco Antonio Solis and Joan and his younger son came to our afterparty following the San Diego show. When Joan had to go, I asked for permission for his bebé to stay.”

In 2015, the year of Sebastian’s death, Vicente Fernandez revealed that they had had strong disagreements.

Vicente Fernandez

These disagreements, although not enough to end their friendship, did cause them to stop recording music together.

According to the “Charro de Huentitán,” Fernandez had hired Sebastian to record a second album following the success of “Para Siempre”, an agreement that ended when Joan presented previously published versions of his songs.

“He would give me the songs and say they were unpublished, as they’d have to be if a producer is making music, and I was hurt because there were about five songs he gave me already produced by his other friends. That’s not okay,” Fernandez explained when asked what caused their friendship to change. 

“Then he would record half the song and after recording the other half with me he would edit them, upload them, and title them ‘Joan Sebastian and Vicente Fernandez Duet.’ I didn’t like that either.”

“It didn’t drive us apart, we just stopped making music together,” Fernandez states. Noticeably distraught, Vicente Fernandez revealed that just before Joan’s death they left their differences aside in an emotional reunion where the late singer apologized for ever having offended Fernandez. In fact, he says, the day of Joan Sebastian’s death, he was waiting for his lifelong friend to join him for dinner.

For more on the Fernandez’s and Joan Sebastian, head over to Latido music.

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Mon Laferte Talks Regional Mexican Album ‘Seis’ and Singing With Gloria Trevi

Latidomusic

Mon Laferte Talks Regional Mexican Album ‘Seis’ and Singing With Gloria Trevi

MAYRA ORTIZ

Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte is back with her new album Seis. Across the 14 tracks, she tackles various regional Mexican music genres while enlisting the support of local legends like Gloria Trevi and Alejandro Fernández. That alternative edge that Laferte is known for is still present. In an interview with Latido Music, she talked about her inspiration for the album and the stories behind a few of the songs.

Chavela Vargas was a big inspiration for the album.

Laferte is from Chile, but she’s lived most of her music career in Mexico, so these sounds are familiar sounds to her. Another famous Mexican transplant, Costa Rica-born Chavela Vargas, was a major inspiration for Seis.

“She was a very free woman,” Laferte tells mitú. “I admired her freedom and her gall. She didn’t care what anyone thought. She was who she was. She sang her songs with heart and soul. She left her life in every song.”

There’s even a banda moment on Seis.

Regional Mexican music is heard around the world, especially in Chile. Before moving to Mexico, the sound of the country was part of Laferte’s childhood. She dabbled in banda music for the first time in “Se Me Va A Quemar El Corazón” with Banda El Limón De René Camacho.

“This album is an homage to Mexico, so it had to have a bit of everything that the country is known for,” Laferte says. “It was very important for me to represent banda music on this album. The truth is banda has always been interesting to me.”

“La Mujer” with Gloria Trevi

In a highly-anticipated moment on the album, Laferte teamed up with Trevi for “La Mujer.” She reveals this was a heavily requested collaboration by both their fan bases. In the incredible music video, Laferte and Trevi dance together in front of a giant vagina. The girl power here is everything.

“Gloria is someone who I have always admired since my childhood,” Laferte says. “She’s always been an inspiration to me because she’s a powerful woman too. She’s like Chavela. She’s a woman that rose from the ashes. We were practicing the choreography for the music video and I had so much fun with her. She was just as I imagined she would be.”

During the interview, I blurt out that this was a big moment for their fans in the LGBTQ+ community. “It’s a big moment for me too!” Laferte says with a laugh. “[To my fans in the community] I send them big kisses, a lot of love, and give them my thanks for listening to my music and for all the support.”

“Esta Morra No Se Vende”

Another girl power moment on the album is “Esta Morra No Se Vende.” Laferte is living her best Norteña life in this song that speaks to overly-advertised consumerism. She even lets out a grito to boot.

“That was one of the last songs I wrote for the album,” Laferte says. “Now with what’s happening with social media, this is an ode to ostentation. That I have expensive things. That I have this. That I have that. I believe that’s the reality that me and many other women face. You’re not going to buy me with your money, or your likes, or your numbers of any kind.”

“Que Se Sepa Nuestro Amor” with Alejandro Fernández

“Que Se Sepa Nuestro Amor” was the first single from Laferte’s Seis album. With Mexican music royalty, Fernandéz, she has a mariachi music moment. Even though the artists haven’t been able to meet face-to-face, they came through with a dreamy duet.

“When we recorded the song, we were at the beginning of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” Laferte says. “When we were very closed-off and didn’t go out. It was all done from a distance. He was very nice and very professional, but we didn’t see each other. Till this day we haven’t seen each other in person but only through technological means. He’s very cool. Very sweet. He has a beautiful voice.”

“Aunque Te Mueras Por Volver”

One of the most striking songs on Seis is “Aunque Te Mueras Por Volver.” This is most similar to the alternative drama that Laferte has served before in her greatest hits. If there was ever a need for a James Bond theme song in Spanish, this would be the perfect fit.

“The song was inspired by cinema like James Bond and all that,” Laferte says. “It also has that spirit of the music from the time of Frank Sinatra, Raphael from Spain, and José José from Mexico. Like that orchestral era with beautiful voices. The lyrics are the story of my life.” With a smirk, she adds, “Aunque te mueras por volver, but you already lost your chance.”

Click here for Latido Music, 24/7 Latin music videos & more

Read: Dominican Duo Martox is Keeping Latin Alternative Music Alive with “Mente”

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Courtesy of Timothy Pollard

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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