Spotlight on the Brown
Introducing all the way from England to the Land of 1000 Dances: Mr. Fabian Fernandez
Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
I've been addressed by a lot of people, by a lot of friendly terms in my time.
Published on LatinoLA: July 15, 2014
I've been called "Mister", "Daddy","Dad", "Grandpa", "Tio","Mijo", "Home~boy", "Homie", "Brutha", "Carnal", "Compadre", "Comps", "Partner", "Vato","Dude"...and when my Lady's in a good mood, "Baby".
(Of course, there's a lot of not so friendly terms,but that's another story, LoL!)
Can you imagine my surprise when I met this month's "Spotlight on the Brown" a couple years ago, and he introduced himself to me in a most proper British accent,and respectfully referred to me as "Mate?".
Fabian Fernandez, a tall, handsome and very talented guitar player from the United Kingdom 'hood of Wales, hails from good old fashioned New York Puerto Rican blood and strong willed Welsh blood & spirit...and he got that British accent going on so cool!
His obvious Latino good looks threw me off balance as I absorbed his accent
(Guy wasn't playing, LoL!), as he smiled and gently tells me " Yea....you've probably noticed I'm not a local from around these parts, Mate...can I buy you a drink?"
I mean, this guy, with his square shoulders, shaved head, and Latino good looks could easily fit onto a cover of GQ magazine, or in a crowd of homeboys hanging out on any street corner in Los Angeles with no problem, had just finished playing a set of killer rock & roll guitar riffs while performing with San Fernando's popular BROTHERHOOD Band alongside Ray & Becky Cordova...and now he's smiling & joking with me and my Lady & friends with a British accent in Northridge, California?
OK...all jokes aside, I was clearly impressed, as was the rest of the good-sized hip & older crowd who party & dance to the Brotherhood Band in and around the San Fernando Valley, that we had some some fresh, exciting and new talent in the house.
How do you say "Vato can jam mas de aquellas" with a British accent?
Fabian Fernandez was born just outside of London , England, and grew up in Wales, musically inspired by his father.
"My father is a Puerto Rican from Bronx, New York, who first came to Europe while stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany in the 1960's. He met & fell in love with my mother during his travels, settled in the U.K. instead of returning to the states, and was just in time for the rock explosion of the 1960's. He is an accomplished guitar player, and was lucky enough to have performed with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Gene Vincent, and Peter Frampton, among others. He and my mother still live in Wales. I got a lot of my musical inspiration from my father early in life, and started playing guitar when I was 8 years old."
Fabian worked hard on his music, and was able to attend the prestigious Leeds College of Music in Yorkshire, England, one of the United Kingdom's best, from which he passed with flying colors.
After graduation, he got a brief overseas job teaching music in New York in 1993 for a couple of years, at which time he fell in love with America and its diverse people and music.
He came to live in the U.S. permanently in 2000, traveling the east coast before briefly settling in Miami, Florida. He worked odd jobs and picked up gigs, where he was eventually noticed by Emilio Esteban, and got a chance to perform with the Miami Sound Machine and the Gypsy Kings for short tours.
"The music scene in Florida and the east coast is vibrant indeed, albeit a bit limited" Fabian says, "...but I had heard so much about the west coast music scene...you know, Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Francisco...home of Santana, El Chicano, Malo, Tierra, etc...the Metal, Rock, and Alternative scene...TV & movie stars... Blues, Soul, Jazz, and Latin Rock...I just had to be a part of all that, so I decided to drive across the United States to the west coast in 2002. That in itself was an adventure, and my car eventually died on me somewhere between L.A. and Arizona, so I had to unload my guitars, amps, and clothes and finish my journey by bus."
Down to his last few bucks, Fabian jokes that he "had his artist struggles in America" upon arriving in Los Angeles, taking on menial jobs in restaurants & hotels while picking up low paying gigs in the Hollywood club scene.
Of course, he had his share of disappointments and incidents of being taken advantage of by unscrupulous people in the music business as the "new guy in town" when he first arrived to L.A., but he remained undeterred.
"Sure...I could have gotten a hold of my parents and asked them to wire me some money or a plane ticket home, but I made it up in my mind that I wasn't going to quit or be beaten. I had met some people, sure, but I wasn't going to beg anybody, so I made up my mind that failure was not an option, and I stuck it out, as uncomfortable as it was. Music is my life."
Fabian continuing gigging around the Hollywood and Los Angeles area, meeting people along the way, and he began to get noticed.
In 2005 he was approached by a producer of the Nicklelodean children's TV programs, and invited to do some session work, which led to a regular paying job while he continued to perform with various groups.
He began meeting musicians & producers, gigging regularly with different groups and eventually formed his group, The Fabian Fernandez Trio, which will begin touring Europe at the end of August.
We met on one of those "meant to be" storylines. He was invited to sit in on a gig in Boyle Heights in East L.A, where he met Bobby Martinez & the guys from the BROTHERHOOD Band about 3 years ago. The gig went so well, he was invited to join the Brotherhood Band at some of their usual haunts in the San Fernando Valley, which includes the Presidente Restaurant in Northridge.
It didn't take long for word to get around that the Brotherhood Band had a "new guy" that could rock!
After a couple of weeks, band leader Bobby Martinez & keyboard player Ray Cordova invited me to come "hear the new guy", and the band's new repertoire of performing songs, which now also included popular vocalist Becky "The Diamond of the Valley" Cordova.
My Lady & I, along with some friends, had plans to go see another group in L.A. that night, but figured we'd support Bobby & Ray, and at least stop by and have a drink and hear the band before we left the Valley and headed for L.A.
...needless to say, we never left the Presidente Restaurant that night, the band sounded so good, and we boogied till closing. It was during the first break after the first set that Fabian began mingling with the audience, introducing himself, charming the crowd with his smile, British accent, and humbly acknowledging compliments for his guitar playing (also while being flirted with by a few of the single ladies in the crowd).
He walked up to our table with Bobby & Ray, and I complimented him on his rock & blues riffs, to which he replied with a firm handshake, big smile, and says in his British accent, "Fabian Fernandez. Nice to meet you. Thank you for coming out and supporting the band, mate!"...we've been friends ever since, and I've heard him perform many times since over the past couple years.
"It hasn't been easy," Fabian admits, "but I've worked hard, and have been fortunate to meet so many good musicians, producers, and others here in the Los Angeles music scene. I love performing, touring, producing and arranging, and shortly, I'll follow my next dream and project, arranging & recording independently!".
By gleam in his eyes, and the smile on his face, he genuinely convinced me that he's gonna make it here, and he has my total support !
And so with that, LatinoLA proudly welcomes another warrior into the Land of 1000 Dances...
Fabian Fernandez....from a 1000 miles away across the sea...artist, talented musician,arranger,and composer...
Learn more about Fabian at his website http://www.fabianfernandez.com/
Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone & the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul, heard daily on Internet Radio station EastLARevue.com
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