Alejandro Fernandez Wishes the Late Joan Sebastian Happy Birthday With 'Eso y Mas': Exclusive Interview

Alejandro Fernández
Jack Guy

Alejandro Fernández

All proceeds from the song will be donated to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund in the U.S. & MúsicaMéxico COVID-19 in Mexico.

Mexican star Alejandro Fernández first toured with another Mexican icon, Joan Sebastian, more than 20 years ago, when he was jump-starting his career.

“I grew up listening to Joan’s music. But beyond that, my dad [the fabled ranchera star Vicente Fernández], Joan and I went on tour in the mid to late 1990s,” Fernández told Billboard during an exclusive interview. “From that point on, I always felt close to Joan. We were years apart in age, but we got along very well.”

Now, Fernández will pay homage to Sebastian, who died in 2015, with the release of his new single “Eso y Más,” a cover of one of Sebastian’s greatest hits. The single and video will be released Wednesday on what would have been Sebastian’s 69th birthday. Fernández and his label, Universal Music Latin Entertainment, will donate all proceeds from the song to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund in the U.S. and MúsicaMéxico COVID-19 in Mexico, which helps musicians and crew members.

“We spoke a lot about this song while Joan was alive,” says Fernández, who is currently in quarantine with his family in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. “We had other plans to work and tour together. I had always told him this was one of my favorite songs; I had it in my mind and in my heart. And now, it really is something that speaks to us during this period of social distancing.”

“Eso y Más” (This and More) speaks about great love. Fernández’s version, recorded and filmed earlier this year in front of tens of thousands of fans during a concert in Guadalajara, features him singing with a guitar and guitarrón acoustic accompaniment that stays close to Sebastian’s original guitar-vocal version.

“It had to be that kind of arrangement for the song to retain its magic,” says Fernández, a singer known for his breathtakingly powerful vocals.

“Esto y Más” strikes a chord for many reasons. Beyond its significance as a romantic, yet evocative song released in the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis, it’s symbolic of the many ties that bind iconic names in Mexican music.

When Fernández first toured with his dad and Sebastian all those years ago, Sebastian asked Vicente Fernández for permission to take the young Fernández to a late outing.

“He promised he’d take care of me,” Fernandez laughs today. “Years after, I toured with Marco Antonio Solís and Joan, and his younger son came to our afterparty in San Diego. When Joan had to leave, I asked him for permission to allow his ‘baby’ to stay.”

Tradition also had a bearing on the charitable objective of the song. It was Fernandez’s son, up-and-coming singer Alex Fernández, who donated food baskets to those in need during the COVID-19 crisis and took to social media to “challenge” his famous dad to do the same.

“I accepted with a slight change: I wanted to help people in the music realm. I’ve reached out to some colleagues and we’re making partnerships to donate to these two associates.”

As for his own personal quarantine, Fernández is taking it easy. “I like to look at the ocean, meditate, read. I’m with my kids, so I’m totally happy.”

"Eso y Mas" will be part of the deluxe version of  the album Hecho en México.

A video for “Eso y Más” will premiere Wednesday on Univision’s morning show Despierta America. Watch a teaser below:

Coronavirus

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.