Pepe Aguilar

August 2, 2014

Pepe Aguilar

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For Pepe Aguilar to find a place in the world was not difficult. The balance between art and commerce came naturally to him, in an organic way. Being the son of two Mexican icons: Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, Pepe was instructed in all that it means to be a singer and songwriter and achieved global sales of over 12 million records.

“Being born during a tour and studying my craft on the road has given a very particular philosophy to my career,” says Pepe with the same aura of elegance and honesty that characterize his songs. “My father and I shared respect for tradition, not just music,” he emphasizes. “Family traditions, history, certain forms and ways of being that we find essential. My father’s career was a great inspiration to me. Antonio Aguilar risked everything to dignify Mexican music in countries that were not his. ”

It is not a coincidence that Pepe Aguilar speaks this way. The singer changed the course of his career with a new production that unites – in many ways – the past, present and future of Mexican music.

The current album is a tribute to Vicente Fernández— a heartfelt tribute planned by Pepe with the warmth and affection that infallibly lead to a memorable project.

“I felt a lot of pain when I heard that Don Vicente was retiring from the stage,” says Pepe. “It’s like something inside you dies, like a story that you were part of. It made sense to do a tribute to this man. I did not think about it very much, the decision was somewhat impetuous. There were some moments of doubt, when I said to myself: ‘Gee, I’m recording an homage to one of the best voices of the genre.’ But then I returned to my essence, realizing I was not doing this project for anyone but me. Even beyond what Don Vicente may think of the final product. This goes much further. ”

Pepe chose the songs one by one – not necessarily the biggest hits, but rather the favorites of a lifetime – reinterpreting them with a voice that seems to have been created especially for the epic textures of ranchero music.

“I chose the songs appealing to memory,” he says. “When I was a charro, all I heard was music from Chente and Javier Solís. I listened to their songs and imagined it was me who was singing them; it was me who was applauded by the audience. In my first recordings in 1989 I tried to sound like him, even the voice inflections. Years later, Don Vicente invited me to sing with him on stage, and I felt on top of the world.”

Pepe fully understands the paradoxes of life. He smiles recalling that there existed a certain artistic rivalry between Vicente Fernández and Antonio Aguilar.

“I had to listen secretly to Vicente’s songs,” he admits. “But there was respect between them. There was a healthy rivalry. In the end, they were good friends. That is why I made this record, out of respect for a colleague, a voice, a genre. I did give Don Vicente’s songs a little twist, but I respected the essence of the original interpretations. ”

Undoubtedly, this production will add new successes to a career full of satisfactions.

Pepe Aguilar‘s career progressed in conjunction with the absolute transformation of the music industry over the past 25 years.

When Pepe took his first steps in the music business, he did so recording albums for a company that worked within the traditional model. Even then, Pepe began to mark a “before and after” for regional Mexican music. The arrival of the new millennium was accompanied by an unparalleled cultural explosion. The digital revolution, social media and the collapse of the old business models hinted at an unmistakable truth: To become an independent artist was not just an option, but rather the only way to survive.

Quickly reaping the benefits of artistic freedom, Pepe began to produce his music and concerts thinking only of his fans, without having to answer to the whims of any multinational agency. He became the owner of his catalog, started his own radio station and surrounded himself with suitable partners.

The results are obvious. Considered by critics of all major newspapers and magazines in the United States as “a real star of Latin music,” Pepe has garnered an impressive amount of awards: six Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy awards; thirteen Lo Nuestro Awards – including the coveted “Excellence Award”; and several Latin Billboard awards, including a special recognition for his musical legacy. Fifteen of his recordings have reached the top of the Billboard charts, expanding the boundaries of the genre and seducing radio stations that had never before opened their doors to his kind of music.

To paraphrase the legendary Rubén Fuentes: “Pepe Aguilar is a before and after in Mexican music.”

The addition in 2012 of his own star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, alongside celebrities from all corners of the planet was proof positive that Pepe had transcended borders to leave an everlasting mark in international culture

Beyond his success as a singer, Pepe has celebrated his love of music – all kinds of music, from rock to electronica – collaborating as a composer and/or producer with great Latin artists such as Julieta Venegas, Lupita D’ Alessio, Ely Guerra and rapper Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas. Dabbling in television, Pepe accepted the challenge of composing the themes for the OYE Awards and Mexico’s famed Telethon.

The success of Pepe Aguilar is a rebel success because it relies on an unusual combination of challenging structures and respecting the past. “There is a paradox in all of this,” he reflects. “On one hand, I maintain respect for the essence of this music, the history that has shaped the genre. On the other hand, I love to break the forms. I am not worried about this contradiction, because at the end of the day, I do what my heart dictates. I have achieved a balance I can live with. I can continue the tradition while modifying it. I do not have to choose. It is this solid foundation with the support of my family that sustains me.”

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