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Jay Pérez: from humble roots to the stage
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Jay Pérez: from humble roots to the stage

Jay Perez has always been one of the most talented singers on the Tex-Mex landscape. And he's tended tolean toward the R&B and soulful side of the music scene. Our correspondent Ramon Hernandez profiles the singer in this piece.

This Latin Grammy nominated vocalist was born Jesse Pérez Jr. under the sign of the Virgin one September 21 in one of the poorest barrios in the Alamo City, where he was reared in a West

 Side housing project on St. Christopher Street.

“You haven’t experienced “bad” unless you go through living in the Cassiano Homes,” Jay said. “I saw more bad things than good, but I would never forget where I came from and that we weren’t born with silver spoons in our mouths.”

The most meaningful gift he had received from his father, whom was also known as The Big Bopper, was his first drum set. Shortly thereafter, his parents split up.

In spite of the poverty, he recalls the sense of great caring as everybody looked out for one another. This was important since Jay’s was the oldest of three sibling and he was responsible for keep order in their home since their mother, Janie Naranjo, worked two jobs and it was 11 p.m. before they would get to see her.

(Photo courtesy Ramon Hernandez)

However, she made sure they were clean and they were fed.

“I was about nine or ten years old when my mother something in me,’ the Virgo recalls. “I mean I sang Jackson Five and Stevie Wonder songs around the house because my voice was higher; and when family got together and they told me I could sing, it didn’t faze me at all because I was a kid.”

Mike De León, who with brothers Bobby and Rick, had his own band,


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