Jorge Drexler

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Jorge Drexler
Jorge Drexler 2010.jpg
Drexler performing in Santiago, Chile on September 25, 2010.
Background information
Birth name Jorge Abner Drexler Prada
Born (1964-09-21) September 21, 1964 (age 51)
Origin Uruguay
Genres Latin pop
Occupation(s) Singer-Songwriter
Years active 1996
Associated acts Ana Tijoux, Shakira, Rosario Flores
Website Official Site

Jorge Drexler (born Jorge Abner Drexler Prada; September 21, 1964) is a Uruguayan musician, actor. He is a doctor specialized in otolaryngology.

In 2004, Drexler won wide acclaim after becoming the first Uruguayan ever to win an Academy Award. He won for composing the song "Al Otro Lado del Río" from The Motorcycle Diaries.

Early life[edit]

Drexler was born in Montevideo.[1] In 1939 his father, a German Jew, fled to Uruguay with his family at the age of four to escape the Holocaust.[2][3] His family also fled to Bolivia and lived there. At the time only Bolivia among South American countries was widely open to Jewish immigrants. And over six decades later as his gratitude to Bolivia he made a song, which is included in Bailar en la Cueva.[3] His mother is a Christian of mixed Spanish, French, and Portuguese descent.[2] Drexler was raised Jewish, [2] but does not follow any organized religions.[4]

Like much of his family, he studied medicine and became an otolaryngologist—an ear, nose and throat specialist.[5] Drexler began playing piano at age five, before attending guitar and composition classes.[6] Although he had an interest in music, he became a doctor like both of his parents.[7] He attended medical school in Montevideo.[2] During his time in medical school, Drexler took a break to hitchhike through Brazil.[2] He also studied music and recorded two albums, which were only released in Uruguay.


Jorge Drexler performing with Tiê at the 2011 Rock in Rio Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In 1995 he was invited to Madrid by well-known Spanish songwriter Joaquín Sabina, who introduced him to other important Spanish singers. Drexler went to Spain to record the album Vaivén in 1996 with Spanish musicians. Vaivén included some old songs from his previous releases mixed with new compositions. He moved to Spain and recorded another four albums: Llueve (1997), Frontera (1999), Sea (2001) and Eco (2004). In 2001, Drexler co-wrote two songs for Spanish singer Rosario Flores ("Agua y Sal" and "Rosa y Miel") for her album Muchas Flores.[8]

Drexler's song "Al Otro Lado del Río" appeared in the internationally acclaimed film The Motorcycle Diaries. Though Drexler himself sang the song on the movie soundtrack, he was not allowed to perform the song at the 2005 Academy Awards, since "he was not popular enough," according to Spanish newspaper El País; Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and Mexican-American musician Carlos Santana sang the track instead.[9] Upon winning, Drexler recited two verses of the song at the podium.[10][11] Drexler became the first Uruguayan to win an Academy Award, and this was also the first for the country.[10]

After that, he released 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (2006); this album contained ten original songs and two covers: "High and Dry" from British band Radiohead and "Disneylandia" from Brazilian Titãs. Although he lives most of the year in Spain, his albums were partially recorded in Uruguay with Uruguayan musicians. Juan Campodónico and Carlos Casacuberta, former members of rock band El Peyote Asesino, had produced Drexler's albums from Frontera to 12 Segundos De Oscuridad. In 2008, he released a double live album, recorded in diverse concerts in Spain: Cara B (2008), mainly filled with songs previously unrealeased. During 2009, Drexler worked with Colombian performer Shakira on the Spanish-language versions of her singles "She Wolf", "Did it Again" and "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)", and recorded Amar la Trama (2010) in Madrid, Spain in just four days, with musicians playing live on studio. Drexler described the album as playful, without "the melancholy and anguish" of 12 Segundos.[12]

His music is a combination of Uruguayan traditional music (candombe, murga, milonga, tango), bossa nova, pop, jazz and electronic music, which results in very personal compositions with original arrangements. The words also play an important role in his songs. Apart from love, reflections about identity, race and religions are a constant in his work.

Personal life[edit]

He was married to singer-songwriter Ana Laan until 2005. His girlfriend is Spanish actress/singer Leonor Watling. She gave birth to their son Luca in January 2009. Watling sings in the band Marlango.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Aside from his Academy Award for Best Original Song, Drexler has been nominated four times at the Grammy Awards, for the albums Eco (2004), 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (2006), Cara B (2008), and Bailar en la Cueva (2014); and received two Latin Grammy Awards, for Best Singer-Songwriter Album and Record of the Year in 2014. For his work writing Spanish-language versions of singles by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira, he has received five ASCAP Latin Awards.[13][14][15] Drexler also received a Goya Award in 2010 with the song "Que El Soneto Nos Tome Por Sorpresa", written for the Spanish film Lope; the same year he was named Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic for his musical contributions.[16] Overall, Drexler has received 13 awards from 46 nominations.


  • La luz que sabe robar (Ayui, 1992)
  • Radar (Ayui, 1994)
  • Vaivén (Virgin, 1996)
  • Llueve (Virgin, 1997)
  • Frontera (Virgin, 1999)
  • Sea (Virgin, 2001)
  • Eco (Dro, 2004)
  • Eco2 (includes 3 bonus tracks + DVD) (Dro, 2005)
  • 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (2006)
  • La Edad del Cielo (iTunes release) (2007)
  • Cara B (2008)
  • Amar la Trama (2010)
  • Bailar en la cueva (Warner, 2014)[3][17]


  1. ^ "Jorge Drexler talks about his album '12 segundos de oscuridad'". Retrieved 2008-06-22. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e Gurza, Agustin (February 27, 2005). "A songwriter's dream has disappointing end". Los Angeles Times. Eddy Hartenstein. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "From Alt.Latino, Five Conversations With Latin Music's Finest". 1 August 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "Ecos de Drexler" (in Spanish). Montevideo COMM. Desde hace mucho tiempo he perdido mi fé en todas las religiones organizadas. No creo en Dios.Al menos no de la manera en que se lo describe habitualmente. 
  5. ^ Rohter, Larry (2005-07-12). "Latin American Singer's Rainbow Coalition of Identities". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  6. ^ Bonacich, Drago. "Jorge Drexler - Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gurza, Agustin (March 2, 2005). "Los Angeles Times". Eddy Hartenstein. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Muchas Flores – Rosario Flores". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ Hernández-Santos, Elsa (March 1, 2005). "Justicia poética para Jorge Drexler". El País (in Spanish) (Prisa). Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Drexler gana primer Oscar uruguayo". BBC Mundo (in Spanish) (BBC). February 28, 2005. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Drexler critica a la organización de los Oscar por prescindir de él para interpretar su canción candidata". El Mundo (in Spanish) (Mundinteractivos). Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ Ayala, Ben-Yehuda (2010-09-16). "Shakira: The 'She Wolf' Billboard Cover Story". Billboard. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  13. ^ "18th Annual El Premio ASCAP 2010 – Pop/Ballad". ASCAP Latin Awards (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). March 23, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  14. ^ "19th Annual El Premio ASCAP 2011 – Pop/Ballad". ASCAP Latin Awards (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). March 24, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  15. ^ "19th Annual El Premio ASCAP 2011 – Television". ASCAP Latin Awards (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). March 24, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Jorge Drexler, nominado a los Grammy y premiado por la corona española". Ciudad (in Spanish). Argentina: Ciudad. September 11, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  17. ^ "The Latin Grammys: Mexican Romance, Uruguayan Mellow And More". 13 November 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 

External links[edit]