After crossing over into Latin pop mainstream in 1997 and placing 37 hits on Billboard's Latin Pop Airplay chart - four of which were No. 1s - Alejandro Fernández makes his grand return to Mexican ranchera and mariachi music with "Hecho en México," his new album that drops Feb. 14.
"I've always been committed to this genre and to defending my music," Fernández, who had been alternating between pop and ranchera for the past 20 years, told Billboard in a one-on-one interview. "I'm happy to go back to my roots and offer my fans something new. They're the most loyal fans because they've been with me since the beginning and even supported me when I decided to experiment with pop music. They're always there and I"m happy to present this new, super Mexican album."
"Caballero," the first single released from the album, scored Fernández his first No. 1 on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart (dated Jan. 11). "I do think that pop music has an expiration date. But you can sing regional Mexican music all your life," said Fernández. "I also felt that I was singing the same songs for the past 15 years so I wanted to release something that felt fresh."
That's precisely why for "Hecho en México," Fernández tapped the new generation of regional Mexican songwriters like Joss Favela, Christian Nodal, Chico Elizalde and Espinoza Paz to compose songs for this new album. Also included in his all-mariachi set is a collaboration with his father, ranchera music icon Vicente Fernández, who after listening to the album, decided on singing "Mentí" together.
"When I finished the album, I took it to my dad so he could listen to it and give me his opinion. I told him, 'Do you realize that we haven't recorded a duet since the beginning of my career?' The other times we had sang together were during live performances. I told him it would be cool to record a duet on this album because it marks my return to ranchera music. He chose 'Mentí' and so that's the one we sang together."
Fernández described "Hecho en México" as an "innovative" album that includes songs of nostalgia, love, heartbreak and cantina-style songs. "There's a little bit of everything."
Fernández will kick off his Hecho en México tour, produced by Live Nation, in the United States May 22 in Fresno, Calif. "El Potrillo" will be visiting other cities like Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas. The Europeran tour will include first-ever performances in Paris and London.