Juanes, the Colombian superstar with La Camisa Negra enters a new stage in his life today: his 40s!
To celebrate four decades of the parce's (Colombian word for 'homie') presence on the planet, we thought we'd tell you a little more about this international star.
Here are 20 things you never knew about Juanes, an artist whose music continues to transcend borders and cultures--speaking the universal language of music. Happy Birthday, Juanes!
20 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT JUANES
'Juanes' Isn't His Real Name
But don't worry ladies, he's not some con artist trying to dupe you with his macho good looks and sweet romantic ballads. 'Juanes' may not be his legal name, but it's what his father has called him ever <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=L3F25K4FVR0" target="_hplink">since he could remember</a>. The Colombian superstar's full name is Juan Esteban Aristizábal. Get it? Juan + Es(teban). Genius!
He Makes 'Mistakes'
Juanes married Colombian model and actress Karen Martínez in 2004, but after 3 years of marriage the couple hit a rough patch. A few months after the announcement of their separation the couple and their two daughters (Luna and Paloma) became, once again, a big happy family. "We have a great friendship, a big love that's still alive," Juanes told <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/temporary-breakup-fuels-juanes-new-cd-article-1.226831" target="_hplink">The Daily News.</a> "We're back together again. It makes me feel happy and calm, although the process was hard." But what happened? It seems Juanes was no saint. In 2010, he addressed the issue in a press conference saying <a href="http://www.latina.com/entertainment/buzz/juanes-admits-cheating-his-wife" target="_hplink">he had made a mistake and was "fixing it with my wife."</a> Does this 'mistake' have a face and a name?
His Fourth Album Was Inspired By His Mamá
The road to reconciliation with his wife was long--about a year long. Before the announcement of their separation, Juanes took a year off for some soul-searching. During these introspective months his mother advised him to keep his chin up, because <a href="http://peru21.pe/noticia/77244/juanes-presenta-su-album-vida-ratico" target="_hplink">"La Vida... Es Un Ratico" (Life...is but a moment). </a> Before you know it Juanes 'un-announces' his separation, hits the recording studio and comes out with his fourth album, "La Vida...Es Un Ratico," its title inspired by his mother and the music dedicated to his wife and daughters. The album went on to win a GRAMMY (his first) and five Latin GRAMMYs. Mother really does know best...
He Has His Own Foundation
In 2006, Juanes founded the non-profit <a href="http://www.fundacionmisangre.org/misangre#vision" target="_hplink">'Fundación Mi Sangre' </a> ('My Blood' Foundation) which helps children exposed to the violence in Colombia overcome the psychological trauma and become active in the search for peace in their country. Photo: Juanes and his wife Karen Martinez take part in a march in support of the hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and claiming for their release on November 28, 2008, in Medellin, Colombia. According to authorities, at least 3,000 Colombians are still in captivity by FARC. AFP PHOTO/Raul ARBOLEDA (Photo credit should read RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
He's A Goodwill Ambassador
Apart from his foundation, Juanes <a href="http://top40-charts.com/news.php?nid=22208" target="_hplink">holds benefit concerts for "Colombia Sin Minas"</a> (Colombia Without Mines) which works towards the deactivation of the anti-personnel mines that yearly take the lives and, sometimes, limbs of innocent Colombians. For his dedication to his people and his activism, Juanes is a Goodwill Ambassador for the 'United for Colombia' foundation. Photo: Handout picture released by Colombia's presidential press office of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (R) shaking hands wiht Colombian singer Juanes. AFP PHOTO/Presidencia (Photo credit should read PRESIDENCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
'He is Juanes' And Has His Own Radio Show
Earlier this month <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/juanes-launches-show-siriusxm-153000192.html" target="_hplink">Sirius XM Radio announced 'Yo Soy Juanes'</a> (I Am Juanes), an exclusive monthly broadcast on Sirius XM's Caliente and La Kueva channels that will feature the singer-songwriter playing his favorite music and telling us a little bit more about his career and inspirations. This gives listening to Juanes on the radio a whole new meaning. Who will be tuning in?
Everything He Touches Turns To Gold
Well sort of. Juanes is no Midas but his latest and third live album 'Juanes: MTV Unplugged,' which was released May of this year, has already been certified gold in the U.S., Mexico (pictured), Spain, and Venezuela. In his native Colombia, the record has turned 12 times platinum!
He's A Winner
Ok maybe you knew this one. Since the release of his first album 'Fíjate Bien' in 2000, the Colombian superstar has won 17 Latin GRAMMYs, One GRAMMY, 18 MTV awards, and 16 Premios Lo Nuestro. He has the most Latin GRAMMYs won by a male artist, and the second artist with most Latin GRAMMYs overall (two short of Calle 13's record). And what better way to hear his music than by shoving two gramophones into your ears?
He Doesn't Sing In English
But not because he can't. Oh no. The Colombian singer told HuffPost he wouldn't record an entire CD in English but he would be interested in doing some songs. The humanitarian also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/23/juanes-the-tonight-show-_n_1540547.html" target="_hplink">revealed who he'd be interested in collaborating with. </a> "I love English-language music," he told <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/temporary-breakup-fuels-juanes-new-cd-article-1.226831" target="_hplink">The Daily News</a>. "[But] singing in Spanish represents staying faithful to what I am, to the place I was born. It's not some sort of romanticism because I dream in Spanish, I think in Spanish, and I want to showcase my music in the language that springs from my soul." Nevertheless, his song 'Odio Por Amor' features one verse in english. And Juanes recently <a href="http://www.elpais.com.co/elpais/entretenimiento/noticias/juanes-canta-en-ingles-en-homenaje-guthrie-en-festival-south-southwest" target="_hplink">performed in english for the first time</a> during an homage to Woody Guthrie.
He Taught Elmo Spanish
And keeping true to his language and origin, last year Juanes was a guest on 'Sesame Street' for Hispanic Heritage month. In the episode the singer used his melodic voice to teach Elmo and friends a little bit of <em>Español</em>. 'Manos, Cabeza, Pies...¡Muévete!'
He Owned A Escopetarra
The Escopetarra, Escopeta (Shotgun) + Guitarra (Guitar), is the combination of an AK-47 and guitar that Colombian musician Cesar Lopez created. Juanes was the first to be given one for his work against violence in Colombia. Lopez's idea was to transform a weapon of war into an instrument for peace. "It's a very powerful symbol," <a href="http://www.unodc.org/newsletter/en/perspectives/no03/page008.html" target="_hplink">Juanes said at a press conference</a> in 2003. "I wish all weapons in Colombia and the world were like this one." But you won't see Juanes using it anytime soon because he auctioned it for $13,000. Why? To raise funds for land mine victims in Colombia.
Juanes Grew Up Listening To Gardel
In MTV Tr3s' biography series 'Escalera,' Juanes told of being <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8-5lIvTCPk&feature=relmfu" target="_hplink">swayed to sleep by the tangos</a> being played in a cantina underneath his home. The singer-songwriter admits that as a child he listened to artist like Tango legend Carlos Gardel.
He's A HUGE 'Metallica' Fan
He may have been a Gardel fan as a child, but in his teenage years Juan Esteban was "obsessed" with heavy-metal band 'Metallica.' He often credits them for his interest in the industry and once received an autographed guitar from the band, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzsBVx9gzpU" target="_hplink">a gift he said is worthy of framing. </a> Check out Juanes' short acoustic rendition of Metallica's "Fade to Black."
He Had Long(er) Hair And Started A Band
In fact he loved heavy-metal so much, he started a band. Juanes and his friends formed Ekhymosis (Greek for 'bruised') in 1987. As the leader, guitarist and composer for the group, Juanes produced five albums with Ekhymosis until he decided to go solo in 1999. In 1996, Juanes wrote and performed with the band, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWzCgTNdISY" target="_hplink">"La Tierra,"</a> a song considered by many Colombians to be a type of second national anthem.
He (Really) Wants World Peace
In 2008, in response to a diplomatic crisis between Colombia and Venezuela, Juanes founded and promoted the "Paz Sin Fronteras" concert (Peace Without Borders). The event was organized in a week and was meant to be a demonstration of how to resolve conflicts through non-violent mediums. Over 200,000 people attended. But one isn't enough. The next year Juanes organized "Paz Sin Fronteras II" in Cuba. The location may have been controversial but the event was deemed a success. <a href="http://m24digital.com/en/2009/09/21/more-than-one-million-people-in-the-concert-of-juanes/" target="_hplink">Over one million cubans attended</a> the concert held in the Plaza de la Revolución. "I can not believe what my eyes are seeing, is the most beautiful dream of peace and love that I have experienced after my children," <a href="http://m24digital.com/en/2009/09/21/more-than-one-million-people-in-the-concert-of-juanes/" target="_hplink">Juanes said to the audience</a>.
He's A Designer
Before becoming a latin superstar, Juanes went to college like the rest of us. What did he study? Industrial Design. (I'm sure that was your first guess) Though the Colombian singer-songwriter dropped out in 2000, the Facultad de Diseño de la Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín decided to turn a blind eye at his three remaining courses needed to graduate. <a href="http://www.eluniverso.com/2008/11/20/0001/1065/E016AF0D5BE84D90B644982E933A365E.html" target="_hplink">In 2008, Juanes received his diploma and a private ceremony with his family. </a>
He Was A Chubby Child
Juanes confessed being chubby, <a href="http://juanes.net/index.php?mod=news&exec=det&id=816" target="_hplink">well in his words "extremely fat,"</a> as a kid. Apparently he followed a strict diet of french fries. It's ok Juanes, there's nothing wrong with having a little more to love. Right ladies?
A Park Is Named After Him
The park, located in Medellín, was named "Parque Juanes de la Paz" (Juanes Peace Park). The Park was built by the city with the help of the singer himself--through a benefit concert to raise funds. Within the 753,200 sq. ft. of the park there is recreational equipment and meeting areas, the entire project was <a href="http://www.viztaz.com.co/gantigua/picture.php?/2998/category/82" target="_hplink">designed as a center for the rehabilitation and gathering of people who are physically and/or cognitively impaired.</a>
In 2005 the Colombian rock star and humanitarian was listed in TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People In The World." Can you guess why? The Los Angeles Times also declared that Juanes <a href="http://www.time.com/time/press_releases/article/0,8599,1049613,00.html#ixzz22z5yQVxP" target="_hplink">"emerged as the single most important figure on the Latin music scene."</a>
He's A (Humble) Knight
On July 19, 2006 Juanes became a Knight. Not exactly on his way to Camelot, the Colombian was actually added/knighted into France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) for his activism. His response? <a href="http://www.globalrhythm.net/WorldNews/JuanesToBeKnighted.cfm" target="_hplink">"I'm greatly surprised by this award that I consider undeserved. I'm not more than a musician that enjoys what he does and a Colombian that dreams and fights for peace in his country."</a> Oh is that <em>all</em> you are? We wonder what it takes to 'deserve' this honor according to Juanes. Photo: You're probably wondering what this picture has to do with Juanes...here it goes. On the artist's website this picture is in an album labeled <a href="http://www.juanes.net/gallery/ref/lo-que-hago-en-los-ratos-libres/img/4" target="_hplink">"What I Do In My Free Time."</a> Two questions: 1. What free time? 2. Self-portrait? Yes?