Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez (born August 9, 1972), better known as Juanes (for the contraction of his first and second name), is a Colombian musician who was a member of the Acoustic Rock band Ekhymosis and is now a solo artist. In 2000, his solo debut album Fíjate Bien won three Latin Grammy Awards. According to his record label, Juanes has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
Raised in Medellín, Juanes began playing guitar at age seven. When Juanes was 15, he started his first band, Ekhymosis, in 1988, which went on to release five albums, achieving recognition in his native Colombia. The track "Sólo" from the album Niño Gigante in 1992 was very popular. In 1997 after the band broke up, Juanes continued solo and in 2000 he released the album, Fíjate Bien, which earned him three Latin Grammys. His follow-up album, Un Día Normal, was released in 2002 and was later certified platinum in multiple countries throughout Latin America. Juanes' third album, Mi Sangre (2004), which became an international bestseller, managing to position well in a number of countries around the world, achieved success due to the single "La Camisa Negra". He has since released La Vida... Es Un Ratico (2007) and P.A.R.C.E. (2010). On May 29, 2012 Juanes released the album Juanes MTV Unplugged.
According to his label, Universal Music, Juanes has won, among others, twenty Latin Grammy Awards (5 wins in the Grammy Awards on November 13, 2008) and two Grammy Awards. Juanes received the BMI President's Award at the 2010 BMI Latin Awards. Presented By James Edward Taylor Juanes is also known for his humanitarian work, especially with aid for Colombian victims of anti-personnel mines. On April 2013, Juanes released an autobiography titled Chasing The Sun in which he tells his story through narratives and pictures.
Early life and Ekhymosis
Juanes was born in Carolina del Príncipe, Antioquia, Colombia. When he was seven years old, his father and brothers began to teach him how to play guitar. His passion for the instrument led him to discover simple genres of music such as traditional pop sounds such as tango and Vallenato, as well as Russian folk music.
He grew up in Medellín during the height of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's reign, when the city had the highest homicide rate in the world. During his childhood, Juanes witnessed a civil war in which hundreds were killed. His cousin was killed by kidnappers, and gunmen also executed a close friend. To add further to Juanes' grief and desperation, his father died from cancer. This period shaped Juanes' social consciousness, saying "Colombia has suffered so much that the only way to go forward is to imagine a better country."
As a teenager, Juanes was greatly influenced by rock and metal acts such as The Beatles and Metallica. He started the Thrash metal band Ekhymosis in 1988, and it released its debut album, Niño Gigante, that same month. The band released seven studio albums during its career and shared the stage with acts including Alejandro Sanz, Aterciopelados, and Ricky Martin; however in Juanes' words, the band "couldn't get out of Colombia" and remained "very local and confined to the Colombian market." Juanes disbanded the group in 1998 so that he could pursue a solo career.
2000–present: Solo career
2000–03: Fíjate Bien and Un Día Normal
In 2000, Juanes released his solo debut Fíjate Bien (Take a Good Look), produced by Gustavo Santaolalla. The album fared well in Colombia, spending ten weeks at the number one position, but was unsuccessful in other countries. The album earned him three Latin Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rock Solo Vocal Album, and Best Rock Song, and Juanes performed at the award show. Later that night, Juanes brought demos for over forty new songs to Santaolalla's studio, ready to begin work on another album.
The follow-up, Un Día Normal (A Normal Day), also produced by Gustavo Santaolalla who signed him with his first solo album, was released in 2002 and was highly successful in Latin America. The album was certified gold in Colombia during its first day of sales and was certified platinum and multi-platinum in countries including Colombia, Mexico, and Spain. The album spent 92 weeks in the top ten of Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart, setting a new record, and spent a total of two years on the chart. The album was released after the eligibility deadlines for the 2002 Latin Grammy Awards, but the advance airdate for the lead single, "A Dios le Pido" ("To God I Pray"), allowed it to be nominated for three awards and win Best Rock Song.
"A Dios le Pido" topped the singles charts of twelve countries and spent 47 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks. The album also featured "Fotografía" ("Photograph"), a duet with Portuguese Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado about the isolation between lovers. Juanes later worked with Furtado on a remix of "Powerless (Say What You Want)", the lead single from her 2003 album Folklore, and on "Te busqué" ("I Looked for You"), a single from her 2006 album Loose. Juanes won the most awards at the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards, where he won each of the 5 awards for which he had been nominated, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.
2004–05: Mi Sangre
Mi Sangre (My Blood), was released in September 2004 and debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums. The album produced three consecutive number one singles, which held the top chart position for a combined 6 months. The album's third single, "La Camisa Negra" ("The Black Shirt"), was used in Italy in support of neo-fascism by relating it to the uniform used under the regime of Benito Mussolini. In response, left-wing media network Indymedia called for a boycott of the song. Juanes later stated that "'La Camisa Negra' has got nothing to do with fascism or Mussolini... People can interpret music in all kinds of ways I guess."
At the 2005 Latin Grammy Awards, Juanes won three additional awards to his nine previous Grammy awards. He took the award for Best Rock Song for "Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor" ("I am Worthless Without Your Love"), Best Rock Solo Album for Mi Sangre and Best Music Video for "Volverte a Ver" ("To See You Again"). On December 9, 2005, Juanes performed "La camisa negra" at an international gala in Germany celebrating the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final Draw evening. In 2006, he recorded a duet of "The Shadow of Your Smile" with Tony Bennett for Bennett's Duets: an American Classic.
2006–09: La Vida... Es Un Ratico
In June 2006, Juanes began a year-long sabbatical to spend time with his wife, model Karen Martínez, and their daughters Luna and Paloma. He was working on an album that was released on October 23, 2007. When asked about the possibility of recording an album in English, Juanes responded, "singing in Spanish is very important because it's the language in which I think and feel. I respect people that sing in English, but for now I'll keep my Spanish." Juanes planned to launch his own music label, named 4J, in October 2007, to be distributed by the Universal Music Group. He was also working on a new album, titled La Vida... Es Un Ratico (Life is a Little Moment).
La Vida... Es Un Ratico was released on October 23, 2007 with the first single being "Me Enamora" (I fall in love). The second single was "Gotas de Agua Dulce" (drops of sweet water), and the third single became the vallenato fusion of "Tres" (three).
On December 11, 2007, Juanes performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway together with a variety of artists, which was broadcast live to over 100 countries.
On November 24, 2008, Juanes re-released the album as "La vida... es un ratico (en vivo)" [Deluxe Edition][2 CD/DVD Combo]" The album aside the 14 original songs, contains two previously unreleased songs: "Falsas Palabras" (false words) and "Odio Por Amor" (hate for love) which is also the current single. This new re-edition also includes seven live versions of songs played during his U.S. La Vida Tour. As another bonus added, Juanes also included a duet of his song "Hoy Me Voy" (today I leave) with singer Colbie Caillat. The DVD contains the music videos of the four singles of the cd as well as a few live video recordings of the US tour.
2010–2013: P.A.R.C.E and his Juanes MTV Unplugged
In 2010, Juanes performed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Kickoff Concert, as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. In addition, he released his album P.A.R.C.E. which featured the #1 Billboard hit Yerbatero and the top-ten hit Y No Regresas. February 17, Juanes performed live on the third single from their fifth studio album Regalito in the delivery of the Premios Lo Nuestro. The album has sold 1 million copies worldwide. In February 2012, the Colombian singer Juanes took the stage at Juanes MTV Unplugged to record a live album at the direction of Juan Luis Guerra. On March 6, Juanes will release "La Señal" as an unreleased song from his Unplugged.
2014–2015: Loco de Amor
On March 11, 2014 Juanes release he's sixth studio album by Universal Music Latino Loco de amor. It is his first studio album since P.A.R.C.E. (2010). At the Latin Grammy Awards of 2014, the album received won the award Best Pop/Rock Album. Loco de Amor was nominated for Lo Nuestro Award for Pop Album of the Year. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2015.
Juanes has said that: "these are your people, young people, people with families, and four or five of them are dying every day." Juanes established the Mi Sangre Foundation to help victims of anti-personnel mines In 2005, he was named by Time as one of the world's 100 most influential people. Juanes has supported former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, stating that "with this new government of Álvaro Uribe my country seems in better shape." On November 15, 2005, he was honored at the annual benefit gala for Sir Paul McCartney's Adopt-A-Minefield for his work as a Goodwill Ambassador for United for Colombia, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about the impact of land mines within Colombia.
On April 19, 2006, Juanes performed before the European Parliament, as part of a campaign to increase awareness against the use of landmines around the world, including in his native Colombia. He was first singer to perform in the hemicycle where the European Parliament holds its plenary sessions. The Parliament gave a symbolic gift of €2.5 million to demine Colombia and to rehabilitate victims of the landmines. In honor of his work and his music, he was given an escopetarra (a decommissioned AK-47 converted into a guitar) by peace activist César López; he later sold it at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills for US$17,000. Juanes held a benefit concert on May 24, 2006 in conjunction with KLVE and Univision which raised roughly US$350,000 to care for injured children and provide prosthetics, wheelchairs, and land rehabilitation.
On July 19, 2006, French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres awarded Juanes with the highest cultural honor given by France, L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, declaring him "Knight in the order of Arts and Letters" for his work in social activism. In December 2006, work began on a recreational park for the rehabilitation of the handicapped named "Parque Juanes de la Paz" in Medellín. The 68,000-square-meter facility will cost COL$10.6 billion, financed in part by the government of Medellín, and is to be completed by May 2007.
2009 Peace Concert in Cuba
"Going to Cuba is a symbol that it's time to change people's minds, an opportunity to tell the world that people have to change."— Juanes
On August 5, 2009, it was announced that Juanes would hold his second "Peace Without Borders" concert in Havana's storied Plaza de la Revolución on September 20, 2009. The Cuban concert coincided with U.N. International Peace Day and planned to feature up to 12 artists from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Israel. Cuban folk legend Silvio Rodríguez and local salsa stars Los Van Van announced they would also be participating.
Prior to the concert, Juanes received criticism by some in the Cuban-American/Cuban exile community in Miami who believed it would be seen as an act of support for the communist government of Cuba. Juanes expressed in an interview for Univision that he had no affiliation whatsoever to the Cuban government or their political views and that he saw it only as an artistic performance and nothing more. Willy Chirino, a Cuban American performer who has not been to Cuba in over 45 years, however came out in defense of the right of Juanes and others to sing in Cuba, a move also supported by Puerto Rican artist Olga Tañón. On August 14, 2009, Cuban National Assembly President Ricardo Alarcón's daughter, Margarita Alarcón, spoke of the controversy to CBS News, remarking that:
"The past 50 years of U.S.-Cuba relations makes the War of the Roses seem like child's play ... embittered Cuban-Americans now direct their ire at Juanes and at those who want to join him for the concert in Havana. They hurl negative and insulting accusations at potential participants claiming that bringing their music to the Cuba public is equivalent to propping up a government with which they are at war. It seems that they want to limit the freedom of the Cuban people, censoring the type of music they can listen to."
On August 20, 2009, Juanes announced that he had considered canceling the peace concert citing "fears for his safety as well as his family", who reside with him in Miami on Key Biscayne. Such fears are contained in an August 15, 2009, police report, and are the result of threatening messages Juanes has received from those he describes as "a very small number of extremists." John Reilly, Juanes' New York-based spokesman, had stated that plans for the concert had not changed and that "the vast majority of communication Juanes is receiving from both fans on Twitter and everyday people he comes into contact with in Miami continues to be overwhelmingly supportive. The concert "Paz Sin Fronteras"(Peace Without Borders) was a total success. Juanes closed it along with 15 other Cuban and international artists and with more than one million people attending the concert."
While the concert was a total success, it wasn't free of setbacks. In a video aired by the network Mega TV from Miami, Juanes and other artists can be seen crying and ready to cancel the concert minutes before going on stage. The artists were complaining about the strong control, surveillance, and poor treatment they suffered at the hands of government officials and undercover agents. They also complained that they weren't allowing people to attend the concert, unless they were wearing a white shirt, as the organizers suggested as a symbol of peace.
Juanes met model/actress Karen Martínez during the filming of his video "Podemos Hacernos Daño". On August 6, 2004, they were married. The couple separated in May 2007, after three years of marriage due to unresolved differences, but reconciled four months later. They have three children together, two daughters: Luna Aristizábal Martínez (born September 6, 2003), Paloma Aristizábal Martínez (born June 2, 2005), and one son, Dante Aristizábal Martínez (born September 12, 2009).
Juanes is a vegetarian and currently lives in Key Biscayne, Florida.
- Fíjate Bien (2000)
- Un Día Normal (2002)
- Mi Sangre (2004)
- La Vida... Es Un Ratico (2007)
- P.A.R.C.E. (2010)
- Loco de Amor (2014)
Awards and nominations
The Grammy Award is an accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to recognize outstanding achievement on the music industry. Juanes has received five nominations and won two.
|2015||Loco de Amor||Best Latin Pop Album||Nominated|
|2013||Juanes MTV Unplugged||Won|
|2009||La Vida... Es un Ratico||Won|
|2005||Mi Sangre||Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album||Nominated|
|2003||Un Día Normal||Nominated|
Latin Grammy Awards
A Latin Grammy Award is an accolade by the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry. Juanes has received twenty awards and twenty-six nominations.
|2001||Juanes||Best New Artist||Won|
|Fíjate Bien||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Rock Solo Vocal Album||Won|
|"Fíjate Bien"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Rock Song||Won|
|Best Short Form Music Video||Nominated|
|2002||"A Dios le Pido"||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Rock Song||Won|
|Best Short Form Music Video||Nominated|
|2003||Un Día Normal||Album of the Year||Won|
|Best Rock Solo Vocal Album||Won|
|"Es Por Ti"||Song of the Year||Won|
|Record of the Year||Won|
|"Mala Gente"||Best Rock Song||Won|
|2005||Mi Sangre||Best Rock Solo Vocal Album||Won|
|"Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor"||Best Rock Song||Won|
|"Volverte a Ver"||Best Short Form Music Video||Won|
|2008||La Vida... Es Un Ratico||Album of the Year||Won|
|Best Male Pop Vocal Album||Won|
|"Me Enamora"||Song of the Year||Won|
|Record of the Year||Won|
|Best Short Form Music Video||Won|
|2012||Juanes MTV Unplugged||Album of the Year||Won|
|Best Long Form Music Video||Won|
|"Azul Sabina" (feat. Joaquín Sabina)||Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Record of the Year||Nominated|
|2014||Loco de Amor||Best Pop/Rock Album||Won|
|"Mil Pedazos"||Best Rock Song||Nominated|