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Juanes performing at the 2005 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Background information
Birth nameJuan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez
OriginColombian flag Medellín, Colombia
GenresRock en español, Latin pop
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, Guitarist
Years active1988–present
Associated actsEkhymosis
WebsiteJuanes.net (in Spanish)
Juanes.net (in English)

Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez (born August 9, 1972), best known as Juanes, is a Latin Grammy-winning rock musician from Medellín, Colombia. During the 1980s and 1990s, Juanes was a member of heavy metal band Ekhymosis but disbanded the group in 1998 to pursue a solo career. His 2000 solo debut album, Fíjate Bien, had moderate commercial success and went on to win three Latin Grammy Awards.

His sophomore album, Un Día Normal was certified platinum throughout much of the Spanish-speaking world, and its lead single "A Dios le Pido" topped singles charts in twelve countries. Mi Sangre, his third album, fared equally well with Juanes promoting it on a tour with over 200 performances.[1] The album's third single, "La Camisa Negra", generated controversy after being used as a symbol for Italian neo-fascism.[2] Juanes is one of the best-selling Colombian musicians, having sold more than ten million albums.[3] Juanes is also known for his humanitarian work, especially with aid for Colombian victims of anti-personnel mines.


Early life

Juanes was born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez in Medellín, Colombia.[1] He is the youngest child of Alicia Vásquez and Javier Aristizábal.[4] His father called him "Juanes", a contraction of his "Juan Esteban", which he later used as an alias. At age seven, Juanes learned to play the acoustic guitar from his father and older brothers, playing traditional Latin styles such as bolero, tango, cumbia, vallenato, and guasca.[1] During Juanes' childhood, he lost several people close to him; his cousin was held for ransom and executed when the ransom was paid, a close friend was killed by gunmen, and his father died of cancer.[1][5] When Juanes became a teenager, his music gained a darker sound influenced by heavy metal music, especially that of American band Metallica.[1]

1988–2001: Rising success

Juanes started the metal band Ekhymosis in 1988, and it released its self-produced, self-titled debut album the same year.[6] The band released five studio albums during its career and shared the stage with acts including Alejandro Sanz, Aterciopelados, and Ricky Martin;[4] however in Juanes' words, the band "couldn't get out of Colombia" and remained "very local and confined to the Colombian market."[7] Juanes disbanded the group in 1998 so that he could pursue a solo career.[6]

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.[1] 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.[1]

2002–present: Mainstream popularity

Template:Sample box start variation 2

Template:Sample box end The follow-up, Un Día Normal (A Normal Day), also produced by Santaolalla, 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.[8] The album spent 92 weeks in the top ten of Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart,[1] setting a new record,[8] and spent a total of two years on the chart.[8] 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" ("I Ask God"), allowed it to be nominated for three awards and win Best Rock Song.[8][9] "A Dios le Pido" topped the singles charts of twelve countries and spent 47 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks.[1] 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 five awards for which he had been nominated, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.[10]

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Template:Sample box end Mi Sangre (My Blood), was released in September 2004 and debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums.[11] The album produced three consecutive number one singles, which held the top chart position for a combined six months. The album also continued Juanes' Latin Grammy streak as he was once again the top winner at the 2005 broadcast, bringing his career total to twelve Latin Grammy Awards.

Juanes performing on the Mi Sangre tour

The album's third single, "La Camisa Negra" ("The Black Shirt"), was used in Italy in support of neo-fascism because the black shirt was a part of the uniform under the regimen of Benito Mussolini.[2] In response, left-wing media network Indymedia called for a boycott of the song.[12] 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."[13] The song was also banned in the Dominican Republic for its sexual undertones.[14]

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").[15] On December 9, 2005, Juanes performed "La Camisa Negra" at an international gala in Germany celebrating the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final Draw evening.[16]

In June 2006, Juanes began a year-long sabbatical to spend time with his wife, model Karen Martínez, and their daughters Luna and Paloma.[17] He is currently working on an album to be released in late 2007.[17] 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."[17] Juanes also plans to launch his own music label, named 4J, in October 2007, to be distributed by the Universal Music Group.[18]


Juanes has advocated for peace throughout his career, commenting, "I am in deep pain for my country...It is moral support, and it's trying to say that these are your people, young people, people with families, and four or five of them are dying every day."[13] Juanes established the Mi Sangre Foundation to help victims of anti-personnel mines[19] In 2005, he was named by Time as one of the world's 100 most influential people.[20] Juanes has supported current Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, stating that "with this new government of Alvaro Uribe my country seems in better shape."[21] 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.[22]

Juanes performing for the European Parliament

On April 19, 2006, Juanes performed before the European Parliament, as part of a campaign to increase awareness against the use of land mines 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.[23] The Parliament gave a symbolic gift of 2.5 million to demine Colombia and to rehabilitate victims of the landmines.[24] 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.[2] 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.[24]

On July 19, 2006, French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedie 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.[25] In December 2006, work began on a recreational park named "Parque Juanes de la Paz" in Medellín.[26] The 68,000 square meter facility will cost COL$10.6 billion, paid in part by the government of Medellín, and is to be completed by May 2007.[26]




Year Single Album
2001 "Fíjate Bien" Fíjate Bien
"Podemos Hacernos Daño"
2002 "A Dios le Pido" Un Día Normal
"Es Por Ti"
2003 "Mala Gente"
"Fotografía" (featuring Nelly Furtado)
2004 "La Paga" (featuring The Black Eyed Peas)
"Un Día Normal"
"Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor" Mi Sangre
2005 "Volverte a Ver"
"La Camisa Negra"
2006 "Para Tu Amor"
"A Dios le Pido" (re-release) Mi Sangre Tour Edition
"Lo Que Me Gusta a Mi" Mi Sangre
"Rosario Tijeras"
"Te Busqué" (featuring Nelly Furtado) Loose


Year DVD
2003 El Diario de Juanes
2005 Ekhymosis (CD+DVD)
Mi Sangre (Tour Edition CD+DVD)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Birchmeier, Jason. "Juanes > Biography". All Music Guide. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Martínez, Daniel. "Juanes en medio de polémica italiana". BBC Mundo. September 3, 2005. Retrieved January 25, 2007. Cite error: The named reference "BBC" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Juan Luis Guerra, Juanes Top 13th Annual BMI Latin Awards". BMI. April 6, 2006. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Hechos en la vida musical de Juanes". Eskpe. Retrived January 24, 2007.
  5. ^ González, Angela. "Juanes Goes Global". Vista. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Bonacich, Drago. "Ekhymosis > Biography". All Music Guide. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
  7. ^ Kamin, Azhariah. "Latin to the core". The Star Online. May 29, 2006. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c d "Juanes Biography". Rockero.com. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  9. ^ Susman, Gary. "Trophy Time". Entertainment Weekly. September 19, 2002. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  10. ^ "Juanes on Top with 5 at Latin Grammys". BMI. September 3, 2003. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  11. ^ Zahlaway, Jon. "Juanes to visit the states in early 2006". LiveDaily. November 1, 2005. Retrieved January 28, 2007.
  12. ^ "Neofascistas adoptan como himno 'La camisa negra' de Juanes". Reuters. September 1, 2005. Retrieved from Colombian Indymedia January 25, 2007.
  13. ^ a b Wilson, Scott. "From Colombia, Encouraging Sounds". Washington Post. October 14, 2003: page C01.
  14. ^ Sainz, Adrian. "Rubio, Juanes Earn Billboard Latin Awards". Yahoo! Music. April 28, 2005. Retrieved February 7, 2007.
  15. ^ Morris, Chris. "Juanes, Sanz, Bebe Win Latin Grammys". The Hollywood Reporter. November 4, 2005. Retrieved from Billboard February 12, 2007.
  16. ^ "Final draw: TV coverage to be broadcast in 145 countries". 2006 FIFA World Cup. November 17, 2005. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  17. ^ a b c "Juanes invited Paul McCartney to Colombia". Quepasa. December 3, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  18. ^ "Juanes Takes Over the World!". Latina.com. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
  19. ^ "Colombia sin Minas Events Raise $350,000 For Children Victimized By Landmines In Colombia". United for Columbia. June 1, 2006. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
  20. ^ "TIME Magazine Celebrates New TIME 100 List of Most Influential People With Star-Studded Event April 19th". Time. April 15, 2005. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  21. ^ Knight, Tom. "Interview – Juanes". My Village. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  22. ^ "Mine Action in Colombia. Adopt-A-Minefield. Retrieved January 25, 2007.
  23. ^ "EP and Juanes say 'no' to landmines". European Parliament. April 20, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  24. ^ a b "After concert gave by Juanes, the European Parliament donate 2.5 million of Euros". Colombian Air Force. April 20, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  25. ^ "Juanes To Be Knighted". Global Rhythm. July 17, 2006. Retrieved January 24, 2007.
  26. ^ a b "Works Begin on Juanes’ Park". VOY Music. December 25, 2006. Retrieved January 25, 2007.

External links