Is Jorge Alejandro About to Hit the Lottery?
Jorge Alejandro is one of fifteen finalists in the Songwriting Contest for Hope and Justice in a competition of over 200 composers.
“Levanten La Voz,” which Alejandro co-wrote with his brother Alfredo Knott is the tune that made the finals.
The first place winner will take home $6,000; and the runner ups will receive $2,000; $1,200 and $800. Other local finalists include Bebo Cardenas, René René and Jesse Farias of La Tropa F plus doctors Rachel Cruz and Josie Méndez Negrette. It’s not the lottery, but it’s the next best thing.
“I wrote the two songs I submitted as a story with a diplomatic protest,” said Alejandro, who dropped his last name, Knott, when he became a solo recording artist.
Other finalists include songwriters from Laredo (Los Tres Reyes featuring Gilberto Puente), Dallas, the Rio Grande Valley, Puerto Rico, Mexico, California and yes, Arizona.
The 51-year-old vocalist, whose father is Anglo-American, was born to Yolanda Ornelas in Villa Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico where the music bug bite him when he attended his first concert at fourteen.
“I moved to Texas in 1973 in search of a big city and larger opportunities,” Alejandro said of his reason for crossing the border to the land of opportunity.
A year later he became a bass player with Los Tipicos. Then, what is now ironic, he joined the vocal duo of René and René. It is also ironic that Rene’s last name is the same as his mothers, Ornelas, and are both now vying for the same prize.
In regard to the songwriting competition, Alejandro said, “René René was one of my first influences and inspirations because he’s a good songwriter.”
Jorge Ramírez was the other ‘René.’ Next Alejandro and Ramírez hooked up with Joe Revelez to become Rio Rami, a Tejano group that had great success in Mexico – while simultaneously playing bass in the Ramiro Cervera Orchestra before finally forming Jorge Alejandro y La Paz in 1981.
In fact the Rio Rami album was produced with none other than Marco Antonio Solís.
The 1980s was a good decade as he released 45 rpm singles, cassettes and 33 1/3 rpm albums on the Cara, SAS, Moni, Joey, Del Rey and CBS record labels, not to mention becoming the host of his own television show and receiving several Tejano Music Awards nominations. Then his recording as a soloist became virtually non-existent because he became a highly sought-after recording engineer and studio musician, songwriter and singer.
“Yes, I did record, but always as a part of other projects,” Alejandro said of his absence from radio’s airwaves. “Some were international hits in other genres such as reggaeton.
As a singer, I did backup vocals for Masizzo, Mazz, Mesquite and he was featured in several compilations. As a songwriter, he wrote “Sin Ella,” “Que Traigan Botellas” and “Serveme Otra Cantinero” for Michael Salgado; also “Señorita Tequila” and “Hay un Corazón” for Jay Pérez,
As a producer/engineer he did recording sessions with Reyli, Dinastia Norteña sometimes also playing bass, cowbells, timbales and other percussion instruments as a studio musician.
Besides being in demand, he was also selected the 2005 Academy of Tejano Musicians and Artists’ “Percussionist of the Year.”
JORGE ALEJANDRO Y LA PAZ REGROUP
This year, Alejandro, who has not recorded in ten years as a soloist, decided it was time to reconnect with his fans.
“However I have been jamming here and there,” Alejandro said in regard to his sitting in, singing and playing congas and timbales with various groups.
Alejandro’s latest compact disc, “El Ladron de Tu Amor” (“The Thief of Your Love”), of which he wrote 65 percent of the songs, as can be expected is very international with a sprinkling of Tejano here and there.
In addition, the multi-talented musician, who celebrated his birthday on August 14th says, “I re-recorded “Señor Bolero,” “No Digas Nada,” “Poquito de Pecado,” “Que Gano” and “Dos Monedas” because people request them and fans can’t find those records anymore.
“Despues De Ti,” penned by Beto Ramón, is another fan favorite and one tune for which a video was produced by the late Jerry De La Rosa five years ago.
“I’ve always been a romantic on the melody and my forte is the ballad. Unfortunately that’s not what la raza likes, but I still wrote and recorded ‘Vuelve.’ ”
On “Vamos A Platicar,” which was initially made popular by Los Socios Del Ritmo, Alejandro sounds a lot like José José.
“Locamente,” also written by Alejandro is so catchy; it could easily be spun off into a commercial. And “Quiero Amanecer” is a new joyful version of the Mikie Laure original done in a norteño style club remix with a touch of hip hop.
Some of the musicians on this ongoing production for the last six years are the late Jerry De La Rosa, keyboards; Angela Mesquiti, backup vocals; plus arrangements, keyboards and guitar by Alejandro, Margie Hernández and Ralph Sáenz.
This CD could easily have been titled “The Best of” or “Las Mejores Canciones de” because every song is a proven hit.
“There’s more to come because I still have new old songs in the stove that I have already recorded, but then, there’s nothing to look forward to in the future,” Alejandro revealed.
“One of them is ‘Mama.’ It’s a mariachi tune I wrote this for my own mom when she died two years ago and which I plan to release as a single during the Christmas days.
Now that Alejandro has reactivated La Paz and will be doing more and more live gigs, don’t expect him to cover other band’s tunes because as he says, “The reason people are there is to hear ‘your’ music and not cover tunes, so I’m there to give them my best.”
Once word got out that Alejandro was back, he was swamped with invitations to appear on the newly resuscitated Johnny Canales Show and Rudy Treviño’s “Domingo Show” in Corpus Christi plus “Tejano Y Más” and other television programs throughout Texas.
On Friday, September 24, all fifteen Sing for Hope and Justice Music songwriting contest finalists will perform the tune that took them to the finals at the Restoration Centre at 6401 Bandera Rd. Tickets for the awards show are available at Janie’s Record Shops and for more information on this event, call Dr. Paul or Margarita Ruiz at (210) 979-0575.