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LAMC 2020: Juanes Gets Real, Talks Creating Music During a Pandemic

Billboard logo Billboard 6/10/2020 Jessica Roiz

Juanes was in Colombia, ready to perform for his fans at a sold-out Bogota show when the coronavirus outbreak caused businesses to close, concerts to cancel and airports to stop operating. Since March 13, he’s been hunkered down in Miami with his family, reorganizing and trying to understand the new reality.

“My values and priorities are different now,” he said to NPR’s alt. Latino Felix Contreras during the Latin Alternative Music Conference on Wednesday (June 10). “It changed me and changed the way I’m going to create music in the future.”

In his latest studio album, Más Futuro Que Pasado, released before the pandemic, the Colombian artist experimented with different sounds. At that time, he was certain of the path he wanted to take his music and lyrics. But because of quarantine and social distancing, Juanes has discovered more about himself by taking online courses on poetry, singing and harmonizing.

“I’ve been writing for the last three months, since all this craziness started, and I can feel the difference in my music,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m just worried or concerned about everything but I want to go deep in my thoughts and music in general. I want to keep experimenting with rhythms […] I’m going to try to continue making music from the heart.”

The global health crisis has also paused Juanes’ future plans to release his promising covers album that was recorded with a live band and where he revamps hits by Joaquin Sabina, Fito Paez, and Bruce Springsteen, to name a few. “I’m very happy about it but I need to wait a little bit more,” he noted.

“Now is the moment to look within because I think that we’re also the virus. The way we’re treating our animals and our planet… we don’t stop,” he expressed about humanity.

During the LAMC 2020 conversation, Juanes also gushed about being a big rock fan and how Metallica inspired his passion for music. He even shared that the iconic band invited him to do a cover of “Seek & Destroy” for an upcoming project.

As for the overall change in Latin music, Juanes says he’s impressed with how technology became very accessible and how live musicians were pushed to the side. “I don’t criticize that. It’s just the way culture evolves,” he said, saying he admires artists such as Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish for their minimalistic music.

“At the beginning, I didn’t know how I was going to fit into the reggaeton genre but the way they create music is so interesting—one guy writes the lyrics, one guy does the melodies, they work in a team and that’s why they make music so fast,” he expressed. “Maybe in five to seven years, something else will come. You never know. If it’s good music, it doesn’t matter.”

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