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Quiz: Which Ranchera Singer Should I Drink to This Weekend?

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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

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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These Vicente Fernandez Lyrics Hurt So Much They Make Our Tíos Break Down Every Time

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These Vicente Fernandez Lyrics Hurt So Much They Make Our Tíos Break Down Every Time

Forget Drake. Vicente Fernández has been making grown ass men break down with his rancheras y canciones corta venas for over five decades. Whenever a Chente tune comes on, we’re absolutely there with tissues, cold cervezas, and a shoulder to weep on. These are some of Chente’s most intense tunes…

“Por tu maldito amor”

credit: YouTube / @VicenteFernandezVEVO 

“Y para que quiero la tumba si ya me enteraste en vida”

This track basically sums up how your tío is 50 shades of messed up because he’s heartbroken. Besides, nothing says “eff’ you” like throwing a bottle at Maria’s picture.

“La derrota”

credit: YouTube / @VicenteFernandezVEVO

“Es cara, cara, cara la traición y al fin te la cobraron”

There’s also this tune for when your tío is the one who is harming the relationship. Karma’s a bitch, tío. Karma. Is. A. Bitch.

“Vivir mi desgracia”

“Fue tan solo una ilusión de amor y luego te perdí”

We can relate to tío on this one. ***Feels***

“Sin ti”

“Sin ti no podré vivir jamás, y pensar que nunca más estarás junto a mí”

By the time he hears this, he’s like just pass us the tequila already!

“La diferencia”

credit: YouTube / @VicenteFernandezVEVO

“Perfectamente sé que no nací yo para ti pero que puedo hacer si ya te quiero”

The go-to karaoke jam for all those tíos who want to throw in the towel.

“La ley del monte”

credit: YouTube / @cru20diego

“Ahora dices que ya no te acuerdas, que nada es cierto, que son palabras”

Oh, so after many dates at la taqueria and endless nights together, you forget about bae?

“Cruz de olvido”

credit: YouTube / @VicenteFernandezVEVO

“La barca en que me iré lleva una cruz de olvido”

When tío has had enough… bye Felicia!

“Por si no te vuelvo a ver”

“Que aunque viva muy lejos, jamás te olvidare”

***one tequila shot, two tequila shots, three tequila shots***

“María, María”

A photo posted by Vicente Fernández (@_vicentefdez) on

“Cuando quieras volver a mis brazos curarás para siempre esta herida”

María, bro…

“Estos celos”

credit: YouTube / @VicenteFernandezVEVO

“Jamás aprenderé a vivir sin ti”

Like, for real? There are so many fishes in the sea and she’s not la última coca-cola del desierto for you to be so jealous over!

“Aca entre nos”

credit: YouTube / @10tupapi

“Aca entre nos, quiero que sepas la verdad, no te he dejado de adorar”

Ok das it, tío! Cry all you want at the cantina.

Damn Chente, why you gotta be like that?

credit: BBC via giphy

READ: For The Very Last Time, Vicente Fernández Gave His Audience Tequila Tears

What other Chente songs are worth the tears? Let us know in the comments and share this post with your tios!

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