Think of Juanes as the Bono or Bruce Springsteen of Spanish-language music. The Colombian singer and guitarist has been a solo artist since 2000 after a 12-year stint in heavy metal band Ekhymosis. On his own, he’s won 20 Latin Grammys and two Grammys, and sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Among other honors, he was named one of Time magazine's 100 most Influential people in 2005.
Juanes, 43, grew up in Medellin, Colombia at the height of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s power. His family was devoutly Catholic, telling AARP that his family prayed to the rosary every day after dinner. Juanes himself wears a custom made rosary that is made up of one that his mother gave him and another gifted by his wife Karen and daughters Luna and Paloma. Since Ekhymosis, Juanes’ lyrics have been about social change, including the hit “Fíjate Bien,” about the dangers of landmines. The response inspired Juanes to get involved in humanitarian work. He began his foundation Mi Sangre (“My Blood”), aiding victims of landmines.
This will be the first time Juanes has performed for the Pope. He will sing three songs: “A Dios Le Pido (I Ask God),” “Odio Por Amor,” and an unrecorded song he debuted at the United Nation's #ShareHumanity event celebrating World Humanitarian Day in August. Juanes will perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir and Keystone State Boychoir.
Watch: Juanes sings “Odio Por Amor”