Juanes has made one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential people — and quite frankly he could have been on that list a long before most of mainstream America knew of him — but nonetheless, the U.S. has finally caught onto the creative genius and infectious beats of Colombian rock star, Juanes.
The multi-Latin Grammy-winning star has returned stronger than ever with his highly-anticipated first album in four years, “Loco de Amor,” which has hit No. 1 in a dozen countries. This morning he wowed audiences on the TODAY plaza with a live performance of his hits songs, “La Luz,” and “Mil Pedazos” off of the wildly successful album.
He exudes an effortless cool and a rock and pop edge, yet at the same time he is humble as an artist, staying true to his native language, Spanish, never feeling compelled to become a Spanish-to-English crossover star.
Instead, he’s been doing it his way, which has proven to be the best formula for his path to success. By keeping his songs in Spanish, he “transcends language,” thus resonating with both English and Spanish-speaking audiences, lending his voice to greater causes in the past, such as war and injustices in his native Colombia.
“I’ve been singing in Spanish since I started my solo career, and we have been traveling all over the world singing in Spanish,” he told TODAY Show co-hosts Matt Lauer and Tamron Hall.
“It’s something very special for us, and makes me feel close to my essence. But at the same time, it gives you the opportunity to connect with people (who speak) different languages. (It) doesn’t matter where you are from, music is a universal language,” TODAY reports.
“Juanes makes acoustic-driven pop-rock that’s immediately accessible even if you don’t know Spanish at all. [“La Luz”], an instantly memorable tune from ‘Loco de Amor,’ his first album in four years, is measurably sharper than most pop right now,” The New York Post said in an earlier report.
Beyond singing in Spanish, he’s drawing excitement, enthusiasm and interest in his culture and of course his music, which is an intoxicating blend of acoustic-driven, rock and pop-infused sound with an edgy twist that stays true to his Colombian roots.
Juanes is gearing up for this Thursday’s 2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards, which is one of the biggest nights in Latino music that celebrates the passion, the talent and the star power that Latinos have in the music industry in the U.S. and beyond.
The Colombian superstar has six solo albums to his credit and multi-platinum sales of over 15 million copies.
He’s the world’s leading all-Spanish language rock artist with two Grammys and 19 Latin Grammys under his belt, as well as with nine No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Latin Singles charts. He’s been called “the first truly international rock star to emerge from Latin America” by The Associated Press and “a soulful poet and Latin America’s hottest singer-songwriter,” by The New York Times.
As a Spanish-speaking artist, he has one of the biggest social media followings with over 15 million fans.
For “Loco de Amor,” Juanes teamed up with five-time Grammy Award-winning English producer Steve Lillywhite, who has worked with stellar acts, such as The Rolling Stones, U2, Dave Matthews Band, The Killers and Morrissey.
Juanes also teamed up with an impressive line-up of musicians, including: Emmanuel ‘Meme’ del Real (“Café Tacvba”), Abe Laboriel on the drums (Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney), Brian Ray on the guitar (Paul McCartney), percussionist Richard Bravo, and Fernando Tobon with the guitar and the Colombian tiple.
After the Latin Grammy, Juanes will embark on a world tour, and will perform in his native Colombia, as well as the rest of Latin America and beyond.
Look out for more stellar performances by Juanes at the 2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards on April 24 at 7 p.m. ET.
By Melissa Castellanos