What do mariachi music, a Brooklyn band, premium tequila and 10,000 bucks all have in common? Ask Jon Sandler and The Fancy Band, the winners of Hornitos Premium Tequila's Mariachi Mashup contest.
The rules were simple: contestants would choose from five possible songs, transform their selection into a mariachi-style mashup and submit a video of the cover by May 30. The submissions were then judged by Billboard editors and a Hornitos tequila expert (among others), and the winning band was awarded $10,000 by Hornitos and a spotlight in Billboard Magazine's BackBeat.
Outfitted in sombreros and with maracas in hand, Jon Sandler and The Fancy Band members (including Jon Sandler, Sam Merrick, Chris Kelly and Dominic Fallacaro) replaced the whistles found on Peter Bjorn and John's hit "Young Folks" with a fiery, mariachi-style trumpet line. Watch the band's winning entry below.
"They truly embodied the essence of this competition, combining popular music with traditional mariachi musicality. The band's incorporation of Spanish lyrics and horns brought the song to life in a fitting and festive way," said Billboard.com Editor Tye Comer.
Not only was this the Jon Sandler and the Fancy Band's first time dabbling in the Mexican musical genre, band members tell Billboard that they entered the contest on a whim after hearing about it from a friend. The quartet's prize money -- $10,000 -- will fund a celebratory band dinner, rent and replacing broken musical equipment, they said.
"It was our very first attempt, and I think we're just gonna transition into being a mariachi band full-time and hang out in the subways," Sandler joked.
After an exciting year that included releasing "The Fancy Band EP" in September 2010 and playing two showcases at CMJ in October, winning Hornitos Premium Tequila's Mariachi Mashup contest was just the icing on the cake, the band says.
"I think we would all kind of agree that it all feels really special," says Sander, the band's lead vocalist. "And then winning this contest, it sort of just feels like it's all falling together nicely. We're excited to see what the future brings."
Jon Sandler and the Fancy Band are preparing for the upcoming release of their debut full-length album ("it's going to blow everybody's minds," they say), which will be followed by a fall tour.