Chris Perez has always been a rocker at heart.
"Honestly, I think that's why I got the gig in Selena's band because I was that guy, you know," he said.
Perez is among some 15 big-name performers who will take the stage at Festival People en Espanol at the Alamodome this Labor Day weekend. His performance is set for 7 p.m. Sunday.
Most will recognize Perez from his marriage to Tejano music icon Selena and his time with her band, Selena y Los Dinos.
But Perez and his band, the Chris Perez Project, have emerged as something of a rarity in the upper echelons of music en espanol, which has traditionally hung its hat on the lighter pop stylings of artists such as Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
"Musically, I think we are a lot different than some of the other acts that are going up, or I should say all of the other acts, because I think we are the only real rock band going up," Perez said. "It makes me proud that I get to fly that rock flag."
Perez has been flying that flag high since his last project, the Chris Perez Band, released "Resurrection," which took home a Grammy for best Latin rock/alternative album in 2000.
"There's just a select few who will make comments about my music and say I have been successful just because I was married to Selena," Perez said. "That's one of the reasons I went completely left of what Los Dinos was all about. I was part of the sound, but it took all of us to create Selena y Los Dinos."
While Perez has found something of a home in the rock en espanol genre, he said he still enjoys experimenting.
"We have thought about doing some stuff in English, and actually we are about to start recording some with Emilio Estefan," he said, adding that he has long admired the acclaimed producer.
"I never thought it would be possible. He's always saying, 'If you don't like it, we don't need to do it. If you want to change it, let's change it,'" he said. "That surprised me because I would think that someone in his position would be somewhat of a dictator in the studio or in the image department, but he has been very supportive."
Perez says just because he is putting his rock 'n' roll foot forward now doesn't mean he isn't open to other sounds.
"I've recorded many different styles of music with different people, and that's kind of what keeps the spice in what I do, that I don't have to stick to one thing," he said.
Perez said when he takes the stage at Festival People en Espanol, fans can expect to hear mostly new music, and maybe just a few throwbacks from "Resurrection."
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