That’s how long Antonio Reyna has been a professional mariachi singer.
For than two decades, the New Mexico native has had toured all over the world. He’s also released seven albums.
He teamed up with El Mariachi Internacional Guadalajara on his latest album, “Homenaje a Lola la Grande,” a tribute to his favorite mariachi singer, Lola Beltrán.
Fun fact: Reyna first met Beltrán when he started his career in the mid-1990s, and the liner notes to his CD feature pictures of both of them.
“All I wanted to do is put the album out as a tribute to Lola,” Reyna says. “I thought about what we could do differently to get the raw flavor of the classic mariachi sound.”
To capture that sound, instead of recording in Los Angeles, Reyna flew to Guadalajara to record.
“The way I record is the musicians are in the studio before me recording,” he says. “Then I have the track and record my vocals. We did a few rehearsals in a virtual setting. Once I was in Guadalajara, I was in the groove. There was no stress with this one.”
Reyna is excited to hit the 25-year milestone.
Looking back at his career, he is grateful to experience so many different cultures as he traveled for performances.
“I’ve been lucky to see how music brings together a community,” he says. “There are so many traditions that have a musical element. It’s amazing how it can bring us together and easily become part of people’s lives.”
Reyna also thinks back to performing at various church fiestas over the years.
By performing these, he built his fan base one person at a time.
“I’ve seen the circle of supporters grow over the years,” he says. “When I perform now, I can see the different generations in the audience.”
After 25 years, Reyna says, he will never tire of hearing stories from his fans.
“I was in Tucumcari at a grocery store, and this woman noticed me and came up and grabbed my face,” he says. “She told me that her husband loved my music and he had died recently. Early on in my career it was a struggle to get any shows or radio airplay. I’m very fortunate that the fans helped me build my career to what it is today.”