Antonio Reyna, tells us his story. How did it all began and where he is now.
How I began my career is a very special story to me. I was born and raised in Gallup, NM in 1974 and as a young kid was introduced to Mariachi music and Trio music. Especially the artists from the Mexico’s “Golden Age”. Our home was always filled with music. We grew up listening and loving – Miguel Aceves Mejia, Cuco Sanchez, Trio Los Panchos, Lucha Villa and my personal favorite Lola Beltrán. Lola Beltran was a favorite of our family. From my Grandma Viola down – we all had Lola Beltrán records. I also fell in love with Lola as a young child by way of her television shows – “Noches Tapatias” and “En El Estudio De Lola Beltran”. Needless to say, I grew to be a HUGE fan of hers.
Fast forward to September 1995, I had the opportunity to meet Lola Beltran, thanks to my friend, my mentor, my spiritual guide Noberta Fresquez. We made a very special connection at that meeting and I realized there was nothing I could not do. In January of 1996 I had the opportunity to meet her once again but this time in her home in Mexico City. I spent a lot of time with her in her home in Cuernavaca, Morelia and in Coyoacan, Mexico D.F. I left that meeting so inspired and so happy I can’t even begin to tell you…. The remainder of that trip we spent in Puerto Escondido in Qaxaca where one night I just had the urge to sing. So I did. Well, Nelson Martinez, News Anchorman for KOAT TV 7 News and a Recording Artist himself was there and heard me and thought I really had something special. So, when we got back to the States, he scheduled a time for Noberta to listen to me. I sang along a recording of “Camino De Guanajuato”, de Jose Alfredo Jimenez. She liked me – gave me some direction and pointers and I got to work. I worked with Nelson in his show doing 1 song for a few months. Then, my first “big” break came. I was going to have 15 minutes at the San Felipe De Neri Church Fiestas in Old Town Albuquerque, alone.. And, I was out of my mind. I was about to sing on the same stage I saw so many of my Local favorites perform on like – Eraclio Perez “El Galan”, Nena Garcia, Genoveva Chavez, Los Reyes de Albuquerque and so many others. I did that gig on June 2, 1996. And the rest as they say is History.. That’s when I began my career.
I never really thought of a career in music, honestly. I thought it more of a hobby and never imagined I was good enough to make a career out of it. So I just kept singing wherever and whenever I could. I was not even that good. I did not know the language that well, I did not understand the symbolism of it, I knew nothing about music – timing, pitch, being on key etc. I just knew I LOVED Mariachi. And it is all thanks to Lola Beltran, who was my Idol, my inspiration and my passion. To this very day I hold a special love for her – and it will never go away during my life time. Her inspiration and impact on my life was so much more than just the music. I was inspired to dream and dream big. To walk through those doors as they opened and enjoy the experience or grow from it.
Antonio Reyna tells us about his new album.
My new release is called, “Entre El Amor Y El Odio”. I am super proud of this recording. It is a little different from what I normally record and it was challenging, but I am happy with how it came out and looking forward to hear the audience’s reaction as it grows in listenership. I recorded the project back in June of 2019 at the Music Kitchen in Fontana, CA and we just got around to releasing it. This is the 4th project I have worked with the great and super talented Diego Casillas. Diego does such a great job of capturing the arrangements that fit my style and assembles a magnificent group of musicians to lay down our tracks. He is also a God-send when it comes to directing me in the studio. Which is a tough task to do. I am not a fan of recording. It’s my least favorite thing, but Diego creates me an environment where I can comfortably express myself in the best way I know how.
This album contains two songs that were written by Juan Gabriel. “Ya Para Que” and “Otra Vez Me Enamore”, the latter of which earned me the Mariachi Song of the Year award from the New Mexico Hispano Music Association this past January. It also features songs from Cuco Sanchez, Victor Cordero, Federico Mendez and 4 beautiful songs written by Graciela Saavedra. Cha Cha, as I call her, is a great writer originally from Monterrey, Mexico who also lives in Houston, TX. I have recorded a few of her songs over the years. I called and let her know I was recording a new album and asked if she had any songs that would fit my style. She sent me about 10. Cha Cha sent me two songs she had specifically for me in mind. “Moneda Falsa” and “Orgulloso De Mi Herencia”. I feel they came out great and Cha Cha’s personal favorite is “Orgulloso….”
Our Arranger for this album is a phenomenal musician from Los Angeles, Abel Campos. He also sent me a song to record, “No Soy Culpable”. A great song about a relationship that has moved on and the sentiments are very strong about it. Therefore, this album contains 3 original songs that I am super exited to see how our audience likes them.
Any future plans in the works for Antonio Reyna?
I have really enjoyed a great career over the last 24 years. Every day I wake up and I thank God for all my blessings. I am so grateful he has favored me with such a wonderful life. I hope to continue singing for as long as the voice holds up. I really do enjoy singing with the people and for the people. I am the creation of every single one of those folks that spend their hard-earned money to come see me or buy my music. I do not ever take that for granted. It’s been a labor of love and I enjoy every minute of it. One project I do want to make sure I do is a “Homenaje A Lola Beltran” album one day soon. I want to pay her tribute as a way to thank her for the inspiration she instilled in me and continues to instill in me. And, of course keep hitting the road to learn more about the folks and share this beautiful music I am so honored and so privileged to be a part of – Mariachi. La Cancíon Mexicana!