The most-awarded solo artist in Latin Grammys history and a global icon for do-gooderness, Colombian heartthrob Juanes reflects on 15 years of calling Miami home.
Juanes wants you to be happy. He wants you to smile, dance and sing along to his very catchy hits. And his new single, “La Plata,” is no doubt going to inspire all of the above. It’s the story of a man who got his heart broken, spent all his money and still lives life to the fullest. Because in the jubilant world of Juanes, ain’t nothing gonna bring you down. Ocean Drive sat down with the global superstar and Key Biscayne resident to talk reggaeton collaborations, heavy metal inspirations and how he kicks back on Magic City weekends.
The video for ‘La Plata’ is so fun and colorful. Tell us about it.
JUANES: It was recorded in Medellin, my hometown. And it’s a typical story, inspired by vallenato music, of a guy who doesn’t want to be sad, so he’s just enjoying life. The idea—from the directors of 36 Grados—was just to try and bring important icons of our culture like the chiva [a colorful Colombian party bus] and put it in an artist environment.
This is your first collaboration with reggaeton star Lalo Ebratt. How was that?
JUANES: For me to work with Lalo was amazing. I’m a big fan of his music and what he does with the tropical minds. I actually met him last year in Bogota and we had really good chemistry. So when we were finishing the song, we were just missing one little part so we just called Lalo to bring his energy to put in the song, and then we were so happy with the results.
How does Miami inspire you as an artist?
JUANES: A lot. Miami has been an amazing place for me. Fifteen years living here already and my three kids were born in this city. And I feel like I am in the United States but at the same time I feel surrounded by many, many people from different countries from South America, and I really enjoy that. And also because it’s a very central place to work, to travel to different places. If you’re in Miami, that’s like a very good place to be if you want to travel through the world. So I’m happy.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Miami?
JUANES: Go on a boat because you have another view of the city. But also in Miami, I like to go to the restaurants, I like to go to the movies with my kids, I love to go to the shows because I have the opportunity to see all the artists I like from all different kinds of music. I really like what’s been happening with Wynwood, for example. This area is changing a lot. And then the Arsht Center? That area over there is beautiful; I think it’s developing like crazy—Miami.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
JUANES: My biggest inspiration… Well, I have different ones. When I was a kid, for example, Carlos Gardel, who was a singer from Argentina—but then when I was like 13, 14 years old, I got crazy with Metallica, and this band made me dream of being a professional musician and traveling around the world, and I started to play electric guitar because of them. I was so crazy about their music that it just changed my life completely. And years after that, I started to make my own music.
What is a motto that you live by?
JUANES: I think just try to believe in myself. I think that’s important. And not to lose my guide. I think inside of us we have like a GPS that takes us wherever we want. We just need to decide that and make sure we are clear about where we want to go, and everything else is just energy and faith.
You have all these Latin Grammy Awards and nominations. What goes through your head when you’re called to the stage as a winner?
JUANES: It’s crazy because when those moments happen, you have no memory about it. It’s just like, poof, and then you’re like, ‘Did that really happen? That really happened?’ It’s crazy. It’s a mix of many different feelings. It’s very emotional, but at the same time you’re like nervous, very happy, everything together. It’s like a crazy thing.
What is the advice you give to aspiring artists?
JUANES: My advice is to try to believe in yourself. No matter what, no matter what people say. Just try to believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to try different things, and don’t be afraid to look inside of you, in your roots. That’s where the universe is, in your roots.
Photography by: PHOTOS COURTESY OF OMAR CRUZ AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC LATIN ENTERTAINMENT