Juanes, born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez (his stage name is a combination of his first two names), is one of Latin America’s biggest stars and is one of the most well-known and successful musical artists from Colombia. He began his musical career in the rock band Ekhymosis. After going solo in 1998, Juanes went on to become one of the most successful Latin artists of all time. He has won 20 Latin Grammys, two Grammys and sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.
Juanes is also a passionate activist and has championed a number of causes including landmine awareness. He also grew up in Medellin during the Pablo Escobar era and was personally affected by the civil war between the drug kingpin and the Colombian government which largely affected the Colombian people with hundreds of Colombians being killed. Juanes cousin was kidnapped and a close friend was gunned down. Being witness to such violence and suffering brought a socio-political consciousness to his music. The Colombian guitarist and singer is set to play this year’s L Festival, March 18 & 19, at Pico Rivera Sports Arena in Pico Rivera, California. For those who aren’t as familiar with his work, here are Juanes 10 best songs.
“Fijate Bien” was the title track of Juanes’ first solo album released in 2000. The song garnered Juanes one of three Latin Grammys for Best Rock Song along with Album of the Year and Best New Artist. The awards would be the first of many.
“A Dios le Pido”
Although the song was on Un Dia Normal—which was certified platinum in Colombia, Mexico and Spain, and spent a record breaking 92 weeks on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart—the album missed the cutoff for the 2002 Latin Grammys. But “A Dios le Pido” was released as a single before the cutoff and was eligible for the 2002 awards which put Juanes right back at the Latin Grammys as “A Dios le Pido” was nominated for three awards including Song of the Year, Best Music Video and Best Rock song. “A Dios le Pido” won the latter and spent 47 weeks on Billboard Hot Latin Tracks.
“Es Por Ti”
At the 2003 Latin Grammys, Juanes established himself as a perennial nominee and winner. “Es Por Ti” won both awards it was nominated for; Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
“Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor”
Juanes’ next album, Mi Sangre, produced three number one singles. The first of which was “Nada Valga Sin Tu Amor.” Once again the song took home the Best Rock Song award putting his Latin Grammy count into double digits.
“La Camisa Negra”
Juanes’ album, Mi Sangre, also produced the single “La Camisa Negra.”. Written by Colombian singer-songwriter Octavio Mesa and recorded by Juanes, the track was released in 2005 as the third hit single to his third studio album.
In the summer of 2006 after a very successful half decade, Juanes decided to take a break to spend time with his wife Karen Martinez and daughters Luna and Paloma. The break was no doubt a contemplative one as he came back in 2007 with a new album titled La Vida…Es Un Ratico (Life Is A Little Moment). The first single was “Me Enamora” (I Fell in Love). The song once again brought in a hat trick of Latin Grammys for the newly returned Juanes.
“Gotas de Agua Dulce”
The second single from La Vida…Es Un Ratico was “Gotas de Agua Dulce” (Drops of Sweet Water), a poetic title that could be interpreted in a number of ways but may have been a metaphor for the precious time he spent with his family. The single eventually made it to No. 1 on Billboard Hot Latin Tracks, replacing his previous single “Me Enamora.” Juanes seemed to pick up right where he left off.
In 2014 Juanes teamed up with Emmanuel Del Real from the Mexican band Café Tacuba to write “Mil Pedazos.” He also co-produced the track with renowned producer Steve Lillywhite. The song was included on Loco de Amor, which was nominated for the Best Latin Pop Album Grammy.
2016 saw Juanes jamming with the Rolling Stones when they swung through Colombia on their "Latin America Ole Tour.” He also began work on a new visual album, Mis Planes Son Amarte. “Fuego” saw the singer-songwriter returning to his roots in the same style as “La Camisa Negra.” The song was the first installment in a series of videos that would begin the narrative of Mis Planes Son Amarte.
The video for the second single from Mis Planes Son Amarte picked up where “Fuego” left off and brought fans deeper into Juanes’ visual odyssey about a Colombian astronaut who travels through time to find his true love. In the video, which Juanes stars in himself, a shaman helps the star man’s quest become clearer. The concept showcases Juanes ability to come up with fascinating ideas, keeping his music fresh and relevant, surely for years to come.