Hawthorne mariachi singer is first of genre under Snoop Dogg’s label – NBC Los Angeles

on Jan31
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Julian Torres is making history, being the first singer of the mariachi genre to be signed under Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Records. 

Torres, who was born and raised in Hawthorne, said he grew up listening to mariachi because his father loved it. 

“In my household, everything was mariachi music: Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, Javier Solis, Antonio Aguilar, and Vicente Fernandez. I would hear my father sing, and he would sing great,” Torres recalled. 

Torres said he has been singing since he was 4 years old, performing at church carnivals and community events, but it was the mariachi group made up of young adults that accompanied him during church performances that made him fall in love with this music and want to become a mariachi singer. 

“Those kids were like me. They are playing music I love, and that’s when I told my dad I wanted to be a mariachi singer,” Torres said. 

Torres has since performed at venues around the world, from Disneyland, the Hollywood Bowl to Carnegie Hall. He also sang the Mexico and United States national anthems at Dodger Stadium.

Julian torres singing the United States and Mexican National Anthem at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by Julian Torres)

But it was in January 2020 that the singer’s talent and voice would be discovered as he sang with about 40 to 50 mariachi members to pay tribute to the late Lakers’ basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died along with eight others in a helicopter crash. 

Torres said all the singers showed up in front of the former Staples Center to honor Bryant, but little did he know that Fredwreck, the world-famous Death Row Records producer of artists like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Britney Spears and Paul McCartney among others, would notice him. However, the connection wasn’t made until three years later. 

Dozens of mariachi singers gathered to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant in front of Staples Center in January 2023. Julian Torres’ rendition of “Amor Eterno” captured the attention of Death Row Records producer Fredwreck. (Photo by Julian Torres)

“I saw the video of me singing at the tribute, and it had gone viral. That’s when I reposted it and for some reason, it went on [Fredwreck’s] feed, and he sent me a message right away on Instagram,” said Torres, who is also a teacher’s aide for children with disabilities at an LAUSD school.

The Death Row Records producer told Torres he loved his rendition of the song “Amor Eterno,” and he wanted to record with him. 

“Julian has one of the most beautiful, powerful voices I’ve ever heard. I knew I had to work with him when I heard him sing, and Snoop made it all happen,” said Fredwreck.

Death Row Records signed Julian in March 2023.

Julian Torres with Snoop Dogg y and Death Row Music producer Fredwreck who discovered Torres at a tribute to Kobe Bryant. (Photo by Julian Torres)

Snoop Dogg, a longtime fan of Mexican music, is the executive producer of the album “Julian Torres and Mariachi Cenzontle,” which marks Death Row Records’ first foray into the Latin music scene. The most recent production is “La Fiesta de Mi Pueblo,” which “promises to surprise and delight all lovers of traditional Mexican music,” said a release by Death Row Records.

“I’ve always loved mariachi. When I’m driving or cleaning my home, you can find me listening to Vicente! I actually love many genres of Spanish music, but mariachi has a classic sound. And you know, I love classic,” said Snoop in a press release to announce the album’s release.

“This release is really special for Death Row. It connects different worlds, different sounds, but shares the same spirit. I love what Fred, Julián and their mariachi achieved in this production, and I am proud to release it with Death Row,” said Snoop Dogg. 

Torres, whose parents are from Zacatecas and Jalisco, Mexico, said he is especially proud that his music, culture, and generation are now part of a label that is known for hip-hop.

“I always say, ‘Do everything with love, keep a positive energy and don’t ever give up’ because anything is possible,” said Torres.

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