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Johnny Hernandez has seen it all in over five decades in Tejano music. From his beginnings with his brothers in Little Joe and the Latinaires to his solo career and everything in between, Johnny remains one of the most passionate performers and strongest talents and advocates for Tejano music.
We got the rare honor of interviewing the legend during his visit to Austin in December 2016 when he came to perform with Big Band Tejano at the Onion Creek Ballroom for an event with the Tejano Music Alliance of Texas. Considering that he now resides in Modesto, California, we jumped at the chance to get his story and meet the man himself.
He did not disappoint. A former radio personality and executive himself, Johnny told us the story of his career AND of Tejano music, particularly what he refers to as True Tejano Music, which is usually called Orquesta, the horns and big band sounds that were the precursor to the Tejano music we know today.
Johnny also wrote an autobiography called The Cotton Picker: An Odyssey, which recounts his life and times in this crazy industry. The book is available on Amazon.com and more information is available on his website, johnnyhernandez.biz.
We talked about everything from music to politics to history to, of course, the state of Tejano music as he sees it today. We hope you enjoy getting to know the man as much as we did.
Special thanks to Rudy Ancira of the Tejano Music Alliance of Texas for coordinating the interview and for taking great photos like the one above.