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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 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.
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Juanes was born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez in Medellín, Colombia. He is the youngest child of Alicia Vásquez and Javier Aristizábal. 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. 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. When Juanes became a teenager, his music gained a darker sound influenced by heavy metal music, especially that of American band Metallica.
Juanes started the metal band Ekhymosis in 1988, and it released its self-produced, self-titled debut album 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; 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.
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 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. 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" ("I Ask God"), 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 five awards for which he had been nominated, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.
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 six months. 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. 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." The song was also banned in the Dominican Republic for its sexual undertones.
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.
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 is currently working on an album to be released in late 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 an
Full Name at Birth
Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vázquez
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Latin, Pop, Rock, Cumbia
Universal Music Group
Ekhymosis, Nelly Furtado, Laura Pausini, Colbie Caillat, Juan Luis Guerra
Acoustic Rock (early), Latin rock, rock, Cumbia
Violin, Piano, Trumpet, Flute
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