Interview: The Enduring Legacy of Gary Hobbs Over A 40-Year Tejano Journey

Gary Hobbs Interview
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With 40 years under his belt, the smooth-voiced, versatile, and emotive Tejano music vocalist Gary Hobbs, could quit touring and recording today if he wanted, and still have his spot secured as a major force in the genre’s history.

However, Hobbs, who started his career in 1983, and is now 64, instead maintains a feverish pace of touring, recording, promotions, hosting Tejano music cruises, and more, as a Latin Grammy-nominated Freddie Records artist, signed in the spring of 2022.

And, the Eagle Pass native, often noted not just for his voice, but his striking hazel eyes, sounds content with where he’s at musically and professionally.

“”Can you believe that?” Hobbs said, about the 24th annual Latin Grammy nomination for his first Freddie Records album, Sin Fin. “It sounds kind of biblical. Forty years in the desert coming out, and then I get nominated for a Latin Grammy.”

Hobbs continued: “We didn’t win, but kudos and congratulations to Juan Trevino. But it was pretty exciting. We had never been nominated.”

Sin Fin features Hobbs on catchy cumbias and romantic rancheras with a voice that just doesn’t quit. The latest single, “Llegaste A Mi Corazon,” gives listeners a fresh, upbeat cumbia perfect for dancing with a hook you can’t resist singing. It’s this passionate and polished voice that has made Hobbs one of Tejano music’s most notable performers.

“I felt proud and so good, really, for everybody else, from the label,” Hobbs said, of the Latin Grammy nomination. “Of course, they’ve had Latin Grammy winners there (at Freddie Records).”

With a career spanning four decades, and that has included contracts with major labels, high-profile sponsorships, and more recently, signed to his own label, Hobbs now raves about his new home at Freddie Records.

“It is phenomenal, going to someone like Freddie Records with all the resources, and by that, I mean not just the equipment, the studio, but their engineers and people that work at the label. It’s been quite interesting and exciting at the same time.”

Gary Hobbs — Llegaste a mi Corazon
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As the voice behind many of Tejano music’s most influential and unforgettable songs, Hobbs holds a unique outlook on work and life that he revealed during our interview. His perspective offers a refreshing mix of old and new. For example, Hobbs firmly advocates traditional values, like a strong work ethic and discipline, yet he does not dismiss the newer generation nor their music and trends, as he keeps his eye on the future, whether its the work of young, successful artists like Karol G and Bruno Mars, or the latest social media trend like TikTok.

“I didn’t foresee myself doing TikTok,” Hobbs admitted. “It’s just something that, again, with all the things that we’re doing, the recordings, the cruises, the podcast…I think TikTok is next up in line as soon as they orientate me on it.”

Hobbs did laugh as he said he would not be “bouncing around” or anything of that nature on his TikTok profile, and he did refer to it as “that TikTok,” but he clearly sees the platform’s value for artists, as part of a larger marketing effort.

“I’m sorry to say it, but I think (some new artists) are after the likes,” he said. “They’re after the views on TikTok. I think all of that does work, and especially for someone younger…but I think it’s very necessary, very necessary to do social media and all of the above. But you have to take care of it, too.”

Hobbs keeps an active and updated Instagram and Facebook that fans can find at “Gary Hobbs Official.”

Gary Hobbs performs at Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2024 | Photo: Mariaelena Villarreal / Tejano Nation

Hobbs’ rigorous schedule includes rehearsals and live performances with his band, The Usual Suspects, studio recording sessions, promotions, such as radio and online interviews, video shoots, and then, his side projects, such as the Tejano music cruises that he hosts, together with his wife. In addition, Hobbs stays active on social media and even hosts his own podcast, “Hanging with Gary.”

“We’ve never stopped working,” Hobbs said. “This is my 40th year, and we’ve been non-stop. Non-stop with the exception of maybe COVID for about a month and a half.”

Hobbs continued: “We do about 100 dates a year. And, when I tell people that, I guess they don’t grasp it, but if they just look at our social media, we pretty much promote everything, except private events. We do a lot of private events.”

This performance schedule sounds grueling enough, however, Hobbs compared it to Tejano music’s heyday in the mid to late 1990s.

“In the 90s, like ’94, ’95, ’96, we were doing 200 plus dates a year,” Hobbs said. “And believe me, other bands, David Lee, Emilio, and Mazz, Selena, these bands were just like kicking. They were everywhere, but we were doing 200-plus dates. We’ve never stopped touring.”

“For us, Tejanos, we’ll work anything Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” Hobbs said. “In fact, in my career, I think I’ve done a couple of Mondays, like after Monday Night Football, but I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a Tuesday.”

As Hobbs recalls the major acts during Tejano music’s peak in the 1990s, he can’t help but recognize the legendary Selena.

“She was, at one time, with all due respect, I thought she was king and queen of Tejano, but she was really just an international star, a mega-star,” Hobbs said.

In what may be a surprise to some fans, Hobbs discusses how he found inspiration for his new recordings from an unlikely source.

“When I saw the video to ‘Uptown Funk,’ I had heard of Bruno Mars, but I had never studied him,” Hobbs said. “I had kind of listened to a song or two. With that song, the first thing that came to my mind was that it was very new, new sounds, but it sounded very retro.”

“That kind of opened an idea where I told Hector, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to make it sound ‘Gary Hobb-ish,’ but we’re going to need to make it sound new, if that’s possible.”

Hobbs praises his production team and when asked if he would ever try a new style or different sound, Hobbs said he’s not opposed to the idea, but he feels fine with his keyboard-driven sound that has produced a collection of hits that has stood the test of time.

“I am who I am, and I’m very comfortable in being who we are and our music,” Hobbs said. “The question is: ‘Is your music still going to get played 20, 30, 40 years afterward, like what’s happened to us?’ We’re just blessed. It’s God’s grace. We’ve had some songs that are still being played today.”

Those timeless hits include: “Las Miradas,” “Te Vas a Acordar,” “Chiquitita, Chiquitita,” “Por Favor Corazon,” “Maldito Amor,” and “Vas A Pagar,” to name a few.

“In the past two CDs, or albums if you want to call them that, I’ve written a good 12, 13 songs,” Hobbs said. “And, I hadn’t really written stuff in a long time. But I have written and recorded a good 70 songs of mine. But I’ve also recorded 31 or 32 albums in my career.”

Hobbs appreciates the longevity of his songs that have endured throughout the decades. He also recognizes that his performance of these classic hits is what fans expect when they attend his shows.

“To be quite honest, at the performances, if I don’t play a good 10, 12 of those songs, somebody’s going to let me know,” Hobbs said. “And you don’t want to disappoint them. You don’t. Because, sometimes I feel you’re only as good as your last gig, and if at that last gig, you forgot to play this or that song, there may be a couple or two there that said, ‘You know, he didn’t play that song.”

The entertaining and good-natured Hobbs discussed much more during our interview so check it out and learn some random and revealing facts about the one-of-a-kind performer.

You may watch the complete Tejano Nation video interview with Gary Hobbs as he candidly shares his insights on various topics, like his fear of flying, his odd sleeping schedule, and what he really thinks of the nickname that has followed him throughout his career, “El Borrado de Eagle Pass.”

You never know what to expect from Hobbs during an interview, which made the experience that much more enjoyable. Now, when he takes the stage, that’s another story, because he never fails to captivate audiences.

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