Juanes is ready to rock again. The Colombian icon is slinging his guitar like in his early days for the new album, Vida Cotidiana. As he returns to his roots, Juanes also gets personal about overcoming struggles in his marriage while bringing to light social injustice in his country. With the most raw and raucous music of his career, he is hitting his stride as one of Latin America’s most enduring and influential rockers.
“I love rock music so much,” Juanes tells Remezcla. “I also love folk music from South America and Colombia. I feel so comfortable going back to my electric guitar and my band because that’s who I am, honestly.”
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Juanes spent all of the quarantine period with his wife Cecilia and their children, which led to a few arguments. Fortunately, the couple was able to work through that difficult period in their marriage. Juanes channeled that dark time into one of the album’s most emotional songs, the cathartic “Gris.”
“I was afraid to share some things of my life, but now I’m not afraid,” Juanes admits. “I just feel better when I’m writing about the things that are happening to me. I realize that they are probably the same things that happen to you. I found that music became a filter for me. I put all these feelings through a filter of music, and they became songs and helped me to cure my soul.”
Another way Juanes included his family was through the music videos for the album. On the flip side of “Gris,” there’s the colorful “Cecilia,” an ode to his wife. Juanes embraces Caribbean music with an Afrobeats influence alongside Dominican legend Juan Luis Guerra. The music video features the couple’s daughters, Luna and Paloma, frolicking along the beach to the feel-good song.
“It was like a miracle for me,” Juanes says about collaborating with his favorite artist. “For me to have the opportunity to work with Juan Luis on this song that I dedicated to my wife after a difficult situation that we had, it’s so beautiful. It all comes together very strongly. Every time I see the video, I get emotional.”
Juanes’ son Dante also appears in the music video for the funky “Veneno.” With a smile, he says, “We are very happy about that experience because I think Dante can be an actor in the future, maybe.” This song about letting go of a toxic relationship and the psychedelic “Más” allowed him to get into a new groove that was inspired by Prince. Juanes shows a soulful and playful side to his guitar-driven sound.
Juanes also gets real about issues happening in Colombia. In the somber “Mayo,” he reflected on the protests happening across the country in May 2021. Police were captured on video killing protesters. Juanes also puts a spotlight on the many people who have disappeared in the striking “Canción Desaparecida.” Afro-Colombian rapper Mabiland features on the heavy song.
“It’s a social song that talks about a very sad reality of our country,” Juanes says. “It was amazing to work with her. She brought to the song so much power and so much truth, so I really feel happy. I hope the whole world gets to know Mabi.”
As an openly queer artist, Mabiland has also become an empowering voice for the LGBTQ+ community in Colombia. When told that the album’s most electrifying song, “Amores Prohibidos,” could double as an anthem for his queer fans, he lights up. In the rollicking track, he sings about savoring the fruits of a forbidden romance.
“I just feel better when I’m writing about the things that are happening to me. I realize that they are probably the same things that happen to you.”
“Don’t let anything get in the way of your happiness,” Juanes says. “I really respect people who just take the decision to live the life they want to live. We all have to be respectful of that. I realized that even more when I had my kids. What if one of my kids says, ‘I’m gay’? I have to support them.”
Juanes is excited to soon bring the Vida Cotidiana album to life in concerts. On July 12, he will perform in New York City’s Central Park as part of the Latin Alternative Music Conference. Towards the end of the year, he will bring a new tour to the States.
“I can’t wait to perform!” he says. “I can’t wait to be outside. I love so much to be on stage performing, and this new album and these new songs are just perfect for that.”
Listen to Vida Cotidiana below.