A 9-year-old Illinois boy has become the new sensation in the Mexican musical genre known as the "corrido" after performing at festivals, rodeos and other public gatherings in the Midwest and attracting the attention of well-known artists like Gerardo Ortiz.

Ironically, Adolfo Aguayo Jr. performs under the name El Viejon (The Old Man).

In an interview with Efe after a performance at La Herradura in Joliet, the U.S.-born son of Mexican parents said that "I've wanted to be really famous for some time" and he's on the way to achieving his dream, having performed with artists such as Ortiz, Larry Hernandez and Rogelio Martinez.

Originally from Chicago, the youngster began singing when he was 3 or 4 and accompanied his father to work. While riding in the pickup truck he turned on the radio and sang along.

But it wasn't until last year that he made the jump to the stage, at the request of his mother who wanted to hear him sing "Arboles de la barranca" with a local band during a rodeo in Joliet.

"I never imagined that I'd get here, to the place I am," Adolfo said, referring to his regular performances with local bands.

Young Adolfo said he was very happy to have had the chance to sing and spend time with stars of the Mexican regional music scene, especially those who "don't talk bad."

"It makes me angry that they speak badly all the time, that they are saying bad words when I'm here with them," said the boy.

Last month, the group Calibre 50 asked El Viejon to accompany them on the number "El buen ejemplo," a song that requires the voice of a boy, during their gigs in Illinois.

Aguayo Jr. said that the mini-tour was "fun," although he had to go to bed later than a boy of his age normally does.

The young singer, who also has performed in Wisconsin and Indiana, said that his singing does not affect his schoolwork, since right now he's on summer vacation and during the school year he only participates in weekend events.

His mother, Georgina Diaz, told Efe that her son gets excellent grades, although his teacher complains that Adolfo Jr. sings in class.

The "corridos" are definitely El Viejon's favorite musical style and the boy even dares to improvise on them, altering the lyrics of the songs and he also sings little refrains he makes up for his mother and sisters.

Aguayo Jr. said that his passion is the accordion and that he is practicing with the instrument he bought with the money he had earned from singing.

The young musician also said that his short-term goal is to record an album, but that would mean having his own group.

Regarding his goal of becoming famous, the youngster is well positioned to fulfill it, since wherever he goes people ask for his autograph and want to have their pictures taken with him.

Adolfo cordially agrees to those requests, since he knows that being onstage requires a person to be "good with people so that they support me." EFE