Singing star Alejandro Fernandez dished on stage fright, coming out of his famous father’s shadow and his two forthcoming albums in a candid and sometimes raunchy keynote Q&A today (Oct. 9) at the Billboard Regional Mexican Music Summit in Los Angeles.

Fernandez, who is releasing two albums on Universal Dec. 8 -- one pop and one ranchera -- said his new label’s willingness to release two albums in two genres the same day was one of the reasons he switched to Universal after a long career with Sony.

“We are always afraid of losing one sector of the audience,” Fernandez told a crowded ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. “So with my company’s unconditional support we decided to come out with two albums simultaneously, which almost hasn’t been done or has never been done.”

Fernandez said he whittled down the 22 songs on "Dos Mundos Tradición" and "Dos Mundos Evolución” from a field of 500. The double project meant two months in the studio. “Normally when I go into the studio I enjoy it. This time I sweated,” said Fernandez during the sit-down with Billboard’s executive director of Latin content and programming Leila Cobo.

Unlike many artists who collaborate a little bit in the composition for a writer’s credit and share, Fernandez said he leaves the writing to the experts -- and even if he does contribute, he doesn’t insist on a writer’s credit. His comments drew strong applause in a room full of songwriters.

Another thing that has set Fernandez apart from his pop superstar peers is his insistence on constant touring, something much more common for regional Mexican acts. “I couldn’t stop doing the palenques if I wanted to,” Fernandez said of the massive informal shows often held at fairgrounds.

“It’s very direct contact with the public and besides, it’s an addiction. They are shows where people really go to have fun.”

Although his father is the legendary mariachi singer Vicente Fernandez, Alejandro’s career was hardly a given. His early attempts at “playing with his instrument” -- one of many double-entendres that got the audience laughing -- were unsuccessful, with his classmate even playing his piano part in music class while he pretended to move his hands over the keys. But singing always came naturally, and as a boy his father would frequently bring him onstage.

Fernandez said that his first time singing solo was “recorded in my bones.” It was at a show in San Antonio, Texas, and Fernandez turned around suddenly to find that his father wasn’t standing behind him onstage anymore. “I froze,” he said. “I lost my voice. But I had to finish the song.”

It was an early lesson in grace under pressure and in stepping out from his father’s career, and it’s a lesson he still keeps in mind. He almost didn’t work with writer/producer Joan Sebastian on his forthcoming regional Mexican album because Sebastian had just recently produced a hit album for his father.

But the result “is a lot more in the style of what Joan does,” said Fernandez, describing his ranchera album as “world music.” “We tried to bring ranchera closer to pop, and pop closer to ranchera.”

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