Espinoza Paz is a regional Mexican singer/songwriter from Sinaloa who penned dozens of songs for others before embarking on a recording career of his own in 2007. Born Isidro Chávez Espinoza in La Angostura, Sinaloa, Mexico, he wrote his first song at age 11. He later emigrated to Sacramento, California, in 1996 and worked as an agricultural laborer, but after his mother passed away, he chose to return to his homeland and pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. His breakthrough came via El Coyote, a popular sinaloense banda vocalist, who recorded his songs and made them into hits, beginning with "Besitos en el Cuello," "Prohibido," and "Para Impresionarte" in 2005-2006. Soon Paz was penning songs for a long list of regional Mexican artists, including Sergio Vega, La Arrolladora Banda el Limón, Banda Cuisillos, Julio Chaidez, Banda de Jerez, Jenni Rivera, Chuy Lizarraga, Adair Elizalde, El Potro de Sinaloa, El Chapo de Sinaloa, and Duelo, among numerous others. Most notable was his collaboration with Banda Cuisillos, who performed five of his songs on their hit comeback album, Mil Heridas (2007), including the smash hit title track. That same year Paz embarked on a recording career of his own, releasing his full-length solo album debut, Paz en Tu Corazón, in association with Nueva Generacion Music Group. Another independently released album, Amigo con Derechos (2008), followed before Paz was offered a recording contract with the major label Universal Latino, which released the album El Canta Autor del Pueblo (2008) on its Machete Music subsidiary. Featuring previously released favorites such as "El Celular" and "Amigo con Derechos," El Canta Autor del Pueblo spawned the hit single "El Proximo Viernes," which broke into the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart. Later in 2008 the compilation album Mis Éxitos con Tololoche was released by Disa.
Paz proved a double threat on the charts. Not only were his own recordings selling, but he was writing major hits for other artists, established and upcoming. His 2009 single "Lo Intentamos" the pre-release for 2009's Yo No Canto, Pero Lo Intentamos, hit the top spot on the airplay charts and Top Latin Albums charts and went platinum in Mexico. The list of those who sought his songs during this period included La Arrolladora Banda el Limón, Jenni Rivera, Calibre 50, Julión Álvarez, and Duelo.
The run of hits continued. His new albums over the next few years all hit made the charts: 2010's Del Rancho Para el Mundo (his multi-platinum best-selling album), 2011's Canciones Que Duelen (numbers two and one respectively on the Latin Albums charts), and his 2012 compilation Un Hombre Normal went five-times Gold in Mexico. His singles rode high in various charts as well. In 2011, Paz won Songwriter of the Year at both the Billboard and BMI Latin Music Awards ceremonies. On top of this, his duet singles with Jenni Rivera ("No Llega el Olvido"), Maria Jose ("Así o Más"), and Paulina Rubio ("Me Voy") did well at radio, on the charts, and in sales.
At the end of the year, a dispute with his manager and label caused Paz to make the surprise announcement that he was retiring. Though he did not record any new albums, he did make appearances on duet singles with Gerardo Ortiz ("Te Pudiera Deci") and Tito Torbellino ("Te La Pasa") the following year. In 2014, he performed at the Latin Grammy Awards backed by Banda el Limon and issued the number six single "Por Que La Engane?" In 2015, he recorded the duet single "Siempre en Mi Mente" with Juan Luis Guerra, and issued a solo track, "Perdí la Pose"; the latter was nominated for Song of the Year at the Latin Grammys.
The strong chart performances of his singles over the previous three years paid off in 2016. Para Mi Ex, his debut for the independent O Music, hit the top spot on the Mexican charts. ~ Jason Birchmeier & Thom Jurek