Larry Hernandez on Marrying Kenia Ontiveros, 'Larrymania' & Breaking Regional Mexican Taboos

Robson Muzel
Larry Hernandez photographed in 2015.

It’s a good time to be Larry Hernandez. With his freshly released album Vete Acostumbrando, the 38-year-old regional Mexican singer has scored his eighth top 10 on the Top Latin Albums chart with 3,000 copies sold -- his best sales entrance since 2010.

Larry Hernandez Scores Eighth Top 10 on Latin Albums Chart

Produced by Hernandez, the set sees him doing everything from corridos to banda, and features a collaboration with another superstar, Gerardo Ortiz -- something Hernandez feels is a game-changer in a genre not necessarily known for unity (more on that later).

Billboard spoke to Hernandez while he was in Los Angeles promoting the fourth season of his reality series, Larrymania, which premieres June 14 on NBC Universo.

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Expect to see Hernandez and his fiancee Kenia Ontiveros, their children and, of course, Hernandez’s mother Manuela getting into the usual antics, plus some new adventures, including a trip to Hernandez’s native Sinaloa, Mexico, and a first-ever family trip to Europe.

The album is a big success. What has been the reaction from fans?

They have told me that they feel I’ve matured and I feel that way too.

Gerardo Ortiz is the only guest on the album on the track "El Desconocido" (The Unknown). Why him?

We thought it was a really strong statement to do a corrido together. We discussed it over the phone and then he came to Culiacán to lay down the vocals. We want to release it as a radio single and shoot a video for it, too. The fans on both sides are loving it. We want to break this idea that ego runs everything in regional Mexican music. Every other genre does a bunch of collaborations -- whether it's Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull  or Yandel and Tito el Bambino -- they’re very united and so this is about that. The press has always made it seem like Gerardo and I don’t get along but the truth is there has always been a friendship and mutual respect there. We want to show that nothing is impossible and it’s time for our genre to catch up.

Why do you think people have connected to your reality show?

What I’ve always wanted with the show is to entertain people. There are aspects of my life that are very entertaining and I just wanted people to get a look inside that, a side of me that maybe they didn’t know. When we started the show that was one of my main things: I don’t want to be faking anything; I want to be myself. At the end of the day, you can’t fool an audience and I think that’s why it’s been successful. People see that I have no filter. As a producer on the show, I have a lot of control over what gets done. I don’t go by a script and I don’t pretend to be something I’m not but I also know where the line is, if the cameras need to stop rolling.

Is it tough to balance protecting your family and making the show entertaining?

My eldest son Larry, he’s 12 and entering that tough teenage phase. He didn’t want to appear on the show this season, he just didn’t feel comfortable and he has a girlfriend, so I think that has something to do with it. And I told him that the only reason I ever wanted them to appear on the show is because I’m proud of my family. He understood that I do this all for them, this is another job for Dad, another salary that I use to pay the bills and whatever else they may need. So it’s always nice when they help out a little. This past week he was filming with us and he seemed happy. He gets it.

Rumor has it you got married to Kenia already in secret.

When I get married, I won’t do it in secret. I will share it with the world. Everyone will be invited because I like to share everything on social media with my fans. I’m incapable of saving the news as an exclusive. It will be all over my show and on social media.

So, for the record -- you are not married yet?

No, I’m not.