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Juanes Biography

Home > Music > J > Juanes > Biography

Birth Name: Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez
Born: 1972/08/09
Birth Place: Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Years Active: 1988–present
Genres: Latin Rock, Latin Pop

Juanes (born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez, August 9, 1972) is a Colombian musician who was a member of heavy metal band Ekhymosis and is now a solo artist. 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. 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 diverse genres of music such as traditional Latin sounds such as tango and bachata, as well as Colombian folk music. During his childhood, Juanes witnessed a civil war in which thousands were killed. He was greatly affected by the violence as his cousin was executed by kidnappers, and his close friend was murdered by gunmen.

As a teenager, Juanes was greatly influenced by metal acts such as Metallica. He started the metal band Ekhymosis in 1988, and it released its self-produced debut album, “Niño Gigante,” the same year. The band released five studio albums during its career and shared the stage with acts including Alejandro Sanz, Aterciopelados, and Ricky Martin. Juanes disbanded the group in 1998 so that he could pursue a solo career.

In 2000, Juanes released his solo debut, “Fíjate Bien,” which was produced by Gustavo Santaolalla. The album fared well in Colombia, spending ten weeks at #1, but was unsuccessful in other countries. The album earned him 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 40 new songs to Santaolalla's studio, ready to begin work on another album.

His follow-up, “Un Día Normal,” 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 Colombia, Mexico and Spain. The album spent 92 weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart, setting a new record, and went on to spend a total of two years on the chart. The single, “A Dios le Pido" topped the singles charts in 12 countries and spent 47 consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks chart. The album also featured “Fotografía,” a duet with Portuguese Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado. In 2002 Juanes was nominated for three Latin Grammy Awards, winning Best Rock Song.

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,” 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.

“Mi Sangre,” was released in September 2004 and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. The album produced three consecutive #1 singles, which held the top chart position for a combined six months. 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,” Best Rock Solo Album for “Mi Sangre “and Best Music Video for “Volverte a Ver.”

His next album, “La Vida... Es Un Ratico” was released in October 2007 with the first single being “Me Enamora.” “Me Enamora” reached #1 in 19 countries. The album won the Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Album, while “Me Enamora” received three awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video. At the Grammy Awards of 2009 this album won for Best Pop Latin Album.

“P.A.R.C.E.,” his fifth solo studio album, was released in December 2010. P.A.R.C.E peaked at #2 on the Billboard Latin Albums and Billboard Latin Pop Albums charts. It featured the #1 hit “Yerbatero” and the Top 10 hit “Y No Regresas.”

Recorded before a live audience at the New World Symphony Center in Miami Beach, Florida, on February 1, 2012, the live album, “Juanes: MTV Unplugged,” was issued in May 2012. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.