In conjunction with the GRAMMY Foundation, The Recording Academy Texas Chapter recently hosted a GRAMMY SoundChecks with Juanes for local high school students in Hidalgo, Texas. Before an intimate audience, the GRAMMY and 17-time Latin GRAMMY winner discussed his advice for aspiring musicians, the inspiration behind his songs, his career beginnings, and winning a GRAMMY, among other topics.
"I think the most important [things], based on my personal experience, [are] discipline and passion," said Juanes when asked about his advice for budding musicians. "It's about being real with who you are and fighting for that."
Born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez in Colombia, Juanes started playing guitar at age 7 under the tutelage of his father and older brothers. His interest in the instrument led him to study traditional Latin sounds such as the bolero, tango and cumbia, and traditional Colombia folk styles such as vallenato and guasca. As a teen, Juanes broadened his musical palette in listening to heavy metal bands such as Metallica. He subsequently founded his own metal band, Ekhymosis, a project that released several albums in the '90s and garnered recognition in his native country. Juanes relocated to Los Angeles to launch a solo career, releasing Fijate Bien in 2000 on Universal Music Latino. The album netted Juanes his first three Latin GRAMMY Awards for Best New Artist, Best Rock Solo Vocal Album and Best Rock Song, as well as his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.
Following Un Día Normal (2002) and Mi Sangre (2005) — both of which spawned multiple Latin GRAMMY Awards — Juanes released La Vida…Es Un Ratico in 2007. The album peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and garnered Jaunes his first GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Pop Album. At the 9th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards in 2008, La Vida… spawned an impressive five awards, including wins for Album Of The Year and Record and Song Of The Year for "Me Enamora." Juanes' latest album, P.A.R.C.E., was released in December 2010.
A GRAMMY Foundation program, GRAMMY SoundChecks allow students to experience a soundcheck rehearsal and participate in an interactive question-and-answer session with artists.