GRAMMY- and Latin GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Pepe Aguilar recently participated in an installment of the GRAMMY Museum's A Conversation With series. Before an intimate audience at the Museum's Clive Davis Theater, Aguilar discussed why he stepped out of his comfort zone to become an independent artist 14 years ago and why he'll continue to manage his career his way.
"When I saw the unfairness of the business model that had been active for 40 years plus — and I felt it and I bled it — I didn't want to be a part of it anymore," said Aguilar. "I did what I had to do to maintain my liberty, and I did."
The son of GRAMMY-nominated Mexican singer Antonio Aguilar and singer/actress Flor Silvestre, Pepe Aguilar was exposed to music at an early age. He wrote his first song at age 16 and released his debut album, Con Tambora I, in 1991, which was followed by 1992's Recuerdame Bonito, which peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's Regional Mexican chart. In 1999 Aguilar released Por El Amor De Siempre, which cracked the Top 20 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart and earned him his first career GRAMMY nomination for Best Mexican-American Performance for 1999. He took home his first GRAMMY for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album for 2000 for 1999's Por Una Mujer Bonita, which rose to No. 2 on the Regional Mexican chart. Aguilar picked up two additional GRAMMYs in the category for 2006 for Historias De Mi Tierra and 2007 for 100% Mexicano, and earned his most recent GRAMMY for 2011 for Bicentenario, which picked up Best Regional Mexican Or Tejano Album honors.
Aguilar's most recent album, 2013's Lástima Que Sean Ajenas, topped Billboard's Regional Mexican Albums chart on the strength of the hit title track. He is currently in the midst of an international tour, with dates scheduled through November.
Pepe Aguilar … La Leyenda Continúa, a one-of-a-kind exhibit that offers visitors an in-depth look at Aguilar's iconic career, is currently on display at the GRAMMY Museum through Feb., 2015.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Great Guitars: Pete Anderson (July 30), Omar Souleyman In Conversation With Henry Rollins (Aug. 3), The Drop: Billy Joe Shaver (Aug. 7), and An Evening With Bobby Rush (Aug. 11).