ON STAGE: Juanes performs at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on in New York.
ON STAGE: Juanes performs at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on in New York. Evan Agostini

EXCLUSIVE: Juanes, the Latin heartthrob coming to Bluesfest

JUANES, or Juan Esteban Aristrizabal, is a Colombian music star and one of the biggest non-English speaking acts in the world.

With a 30-year-long career in music, Juanes has sold over 15 million records and won 20 Latin Grammy Awards.

If you are wondering why haven't you heard of him until now, the answer is simple: he has only been to Australia once before and out of seven solo albums, he has released only one song in English, Goodbye for Now from 2017's Mis Planes Son Amarte (My Plan is to Love You).

Speaking from Chile, ahead of his Australian tour and his Bluesfest show, Juanes said he is preparing a performance packed with his biggest hits, so expect rock, cumbia, pop and more.

 

LATIN: Colombian singer Juanes (R) and his wife, Colombian model and actress Karen Martinez (L) arrive for the 2013 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year in Las Vegas, Nevada.
LATIN: Colombian singer Juanes (R) and his wife, Colombian model and actress Karen Martinez (L) arrive for the 2013 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year in Las Vegas, Nevada. PAUL BUCK

What can we expect from your Bluesfest show and the rest of your Australian performances?

This will be my first Bluesfest and I am very excited to go back to Australia so soon, because I'm falling in love with that country.

The performance we are taking there includes songs and hits from all my albums, a show with a lot of energy, with a bit of rock, Latin folk rhythms and pop, where I introduce audiences to my music, a show we have been perfecting over the years.

Is Goodbye for Now your first attempt to enter the English market or are you going to continue focused on singing in Spanish?

The idea is to open new doors and reach new audiences for my music, but that does not mean that I have to sing in English.

Singing in Spanish is something that makes me feel connected to my roots.

I had the chance to record Goodbye for Now, my first song in English, but I did it because I wanted to record in English, as an artistic challenge.

I acknowledge a massive influence from musicians that sing in English, but I'll continue singing in Spanish mostly.

Cumbia, the Colombian national dance, is a big part of your music, why is that?

cumbia is a rhythm that connects really easily with reggae and funk, so I am planning to keep experimenting with cumbia and other sounds, but also because cumbia is a rhythm that has a massive relevance all throughout Latin America.

To me it's a mix of African and indigenous Latin cultures, and for that its fundamental to keep it alive, to experiment with it and use it in contemporary popular music.

Any chance you may want to try a new, unreleased song for Australian audiences?

Well, I have a new song I will be releasing at the end of April or May, and we are considering whether we could play it in Australia.

It's called Pa'dentro (Going Inwards) and hopefully we will feel we are ready to play it live on stage in Australia.

  • Juanes is performing at Bluesfest of Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31, at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney on April 2 and at 170 Russell St, Melbourne, on April 4.

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