Vida En El Valle: 2016 Latino Spirit Awards: Pepe Aguilar

May 03, 2016

By: Cynthia Moreno

SACRAMENTO -- When it comes to describing the important role Latinos have played and continue to play in California, Pepe Aguilar sums it up best.

“We have been a very important part of the United States and certainly, of California for many generations and for many more generations to come. What is important is that there are people that are inspiring newer generations in a variety of different fields,” said Aguilar during a telephone interview.

On Monday, May 2, the nine time Grammy Award winner — whose albums have sold more than 13 million worldwide and has pioneered the fusion of musical genres mixing the mariachi tradition with the energy of contemporary music — gave comments about his views on this year’s Latino Spirit Award honorees.

Sending his most sincerest apologies for accidentally missing his flight at the airport in México to attend the ceremony scheduled in Sacramento Monday afternoon, Aguilar took to Facebook to record an apology and expressed his profound sadness and anger with having to miss one of the most important recognitions of his career: this year’s recipient of the Latino Spirit Awards in the Achievement in Arts and Entertainment category.

“I am very fortunate to have been named in this special ceremony at the State Capitol. It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t get there. We have been traveling here and there, through airports and here I am ready to go, and my flight takes off,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar first exploded onto the Mexican regional music scene back in 1998 when he released the album, ‘Por Mujeres Como Tú.’ Almost immediately, he saw his career take off. As the son of one of México’s most renowned singers, songwriters, actors, film producers and screenwriters, Antonio Aguilar (who passed away in 2007) Pepe grew to love everything that embodies Mexican culture and Mexican music.

Through the years, Pepe has sung everything from rancheras to ballads and banda music. Apart from his exceptional voice, Pepe is a successful composer and producer who has worked with many renowned figures in the music industry from traditional Mexican folk singers to Spanish-language rock stars.

Still, when asked to describe his music, Pepe has no words.

“The kind of music that I do — it doesn’t have any tags. It’s not ranchera, it’s not ballads. I just don’t like tags. I try to do good music and that is very subjective, yes. But to me, good music is something that is real, truthful and that comes from the heart and something that I am proud to show the world,” he said.

For the last several years, the California Latino Legislative Caucus has attempted to honor Aguilar for his exemplary career trajectory but every time, Aguilar has been busy on tour in either México or the United States. Missing this year’s ceremony was disheartening.

“I am here ready, completely dressed up with every intention to be there in Sacramento and for the second time in a row, I can’t be there. I don’t know why. I feel it in my heart and soul that I am unable to be there — it hurts,” said Aguilar.

Aside from his personal musical career, Aguilar has been busy on tour with his two children Leonardo and Angela Aguilar whom at their young age, will follow in his footsteps. When he gives them advice, its straightforward and from the heart.

“I tell them to always remain truthful and to work hard because nothing will be given to you. You got to work every single day of your life. There is no one goal; every day is a challenge; so just work hard and listen to your dreams,” said Aguilar.

Traveling from venue to venue throughout the United States and México can be exhausting and take a toll on any artist, but traveling with his family has made the journey an easy one.

“Family is always present in my life. It is the access of my life; it balances me. It serves as a reminder of what and who we truly are — we are all human beings trying to go through life happy, being in love and just loving,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar, who is a successful businessman and has founded music labels dedicated to helping develop new talents in traditional Mexican music and Spanish-language rock, says being named one of this year’s Latino Spirit Award honorees is a recognition of one of the things he has been fighting for his entire career.

“This prize is for a Mexican-American that has fought and will continue to fight to carry on his story and culture of the Mexican culture in this country. I hope to go to Sacramento next year, even though I may not be honored, because this recognition is truly one-of-a-kind,” said Aguilar.

At the end of this month, Aguilar will release his latest album, ‘No Lo Había Dicho.’


Contact the Reporter: Cynthia Moreno /