Joss Favela Calls Vicente Fernandez 'A Warrior & Inspiration to Many Young People': Guest Column

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for ASCAP
Joss Favela attends 2016 ASCAP Latin Music Awards on May 11, 2016 in Miami.

The up-and-coming regional Mexican singer/songwriter reflects on the Mexican icon's legacy as he releases "Un Azteca En El Azteca" -- which is said to be Don Vicente's last LP ever.

Ahead of Vicente Fernández's Un Azteca En El Azteca album release -- which is said to be his last LP ever -- up-and-coming regional Mexican music singer/songwriter Joss Favela reflects on the Mexican icon's legacy and shares how "El Rey de la Ranchera" (The King of Ranchera music) inspired him from very early on in his career. Fernández, a chart-topping artist and one of Latin America's most celebrated singers, is set to debut Un Azteca En El Azteca -- which includes 36 live performances and a DVD of his last concert in Mexico City -- on Friday.

I remember being about 6 years old when I was watching television and I asked my father, “Who is that man?”

It was Vicente Fernández starring in a movie where he was riding a horse without a saddle, as only those who really know how to ride horses do. At that age, I already had a very strong connection to horses and music and at that moment, discovered a role model in Vicente Fernandez. I asked my father to tell me more about this man and to let me hear some of his music (it’s worth mentioning that my father told me a beautiful anecdote, but I will leave that story for another occasion).

Days passed and my dad came home with an audio cassette as a gift for me. The album was Qué De Raro Tiene (1992), and I quickly learned all the songs. Some of my favorites were: “Lo quiero todo,” "Acá entre nos” and, obviously, “Qué de raro tiene.” But there was one song in particular that caught my immediate attention.

I would like to share some of the lyrics with you:

"Lo más valioso que mi Dios me ha regalado (The most valuable thing that God has given me), es esta voz que más que mía es de mi pueblo (is this voice that more than being mine, is of my pueblos), si así cantando me he ganado su cariño (if singing like this has given me your affection), seré feliz si así cantando un día me muero (then I will be happy if I die singing).”

The song that I’m referring to is titled “Una noche como esta,” and if that verse seems moving to you, imagine how it sounds when he performs it!

As the years passed, more of Don Vicente’s songs became part of my repertoire that I would perform at family reunions. With age, the moment came when I understood and was able to really comprehend the magnitude of a musical career like the one that I admired. But most importantly, I understood that the voice I had heard since I was a child was one of the best voices Mexico has given us. Only those who have experienced true love could understand the relationship Vicente Fernández has with his music and his fans. He is tireless, a dreamer, a warrior and inspiration to many young people, adults and kids, who like me, since the moment I discovered his music, have been captivated by it, by his incredible interpretation and his incomparable voice.

With a little bit of nostalgia and with great pleasure, I write these words to honor one of the greatest and most iconic artists of regional Mexican music. This album will probably be as extraordinary as each of every one of his previous releases with his VFG brand. Un Azteca en el Azteca is a moment that will live forever. But most of all, it is a gift to all those people, who like me, grew up, cried, laughed and lived with his music as the soundtrack to our lives. 

I am thankful for this opportunity that allows me to express how I feel about Don Vicente. I might not be the best person to have written these words, but I wanted to do this with great appreciation and humility, because I admire all those people who feel great pride of their Mexican roots up until their last breath. This is why I admire Mr. Fernández, because he has always worn that charro outfit with pride and taken the mariachi and my beloved Mexico to every corner of the world.