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Colombian rock musician namely Juan Esteban Aristiz?bal V?squez or more commonly as Juanes was born on August 9, 1972 in Carolina del Pr?ncipe, Antioquia. During the 80s and 90s epoch, Juanes actively remained a part of a heavy metal band named Ekhymosis but left the group in 1998 in order to pursue a solo career. He released his debut album F?jate Bien in 2000, which earned moderate commercial success and went on to win three Latin Grammy Awards.
His second album, Un D?a Normal was certified platinum all over much of the Spanish-speaking world, and its lead single A Dios le Pido was a huge hit singles charts in twelve countries. Mi Sangre, his third album, went well which helped Juanes in promoting it on a tour with over 200 performances. The album's third single, La Camisa Negra, generated controversy after being used as a symbol for Italian neo-fascism. Juanes is one of the best-selling Colombian musicians, having sold more than ten million albums and won twelve Latin Grammys. Juanes is also widely acknowledged for his humanitarian work, particularly with aid for Colombian victims of anti-personnel mines.
Juanes was born in Medellin, Colombia and is the youngest child of Alicia V?squez and Javier Aristiz?bal. His father called him Juanes, a contraction of his Juan Esteban, which he later used as a pseudonym. At 7, Juanes learned to play the acoustic guitar from his father and older brothers, playing traditional Latin styles for example bolero, tango, cumbia, vallenato, and guasca. During Juanes' early days, he lost several people close to him; his cousin was held for ransom and executed when the ransom was paid, a close friend was killed by gunmen, and his father died of cancer. When Juanes entered his teens, his music gained a darker sound which rather took influence by heavy metal music, particularly of American band Metallica.
In 1988, Juanes formed the metal band Ekhymosis, and it released its self-produced, self-titled debut album the very same year. The band released five studio albums during its career tenure and rocked the stage with acts including Alejandro Sanz, Aterciopelados, and Ricky Martin; however in Juanes' words, the band couldn't get out of Colombia and remained very local and confined to the Colombian market. Juanes disbanded the group in 1998 so that he could pursue a solo career.
In 2000, Juanes released his solo debut F?jate Bien (Take a Good Look), produced by Gustavo Santaolalla. The album earned ample success in Colombia, and stayed atleast ten weeks at the number one position. The album won him three Latin Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Rock Solo Vocal Album, and Best Rock Song, and Juanes performed at the award show. Afterwards, that very same night, Juanes brought demos for over forty new songs to Santaolalla's studio, all set to embark on work for another album.
Subsequent to that, another album by the name of Un D?a Normal(A Normal Day) was released under the production of Santaolalla, was released in 2002, which earned major success in Latin America. The album was certified gold in Colombia during its first day of sales and was certified platinum and multi-platinum in countries including Colombia, Mexico, and Spain. The album stayed for 92 weeks in the top ten of Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart, setting up a new record, and sustained its place for an entire two years on the chart. The album was released after the eligibility deadlines for the 2002 Latin Grammy Awards, but the advance airdate for the lead single, A Dios le Pido (I Ask God), allowed it to be nominated for three awards and win Best Rock Song. A Dios le Pido appeared on #1 the singles charts of twelve countries and spent 47 successive weeks on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks. The album also held Fotograf?a (Photography), a twosome with Portuguese Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado about the isolation between lovers. Juanes later worked with Furtado on a remix of Powerless (Say What You Want), the lead single from her 2003 album Folklore, and on Te Busqu? (I Looked for You), a single from her 2006 album Loose. Juanes won the most awards at the 2003 Latin Grammy Awards, where he won each of the five awards for which he had been nominated, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.
Juanes established the Mi Sangre Foundation to help sufferers of anti-personnel mines. In 2005, he was nominated by Times as one of the world's 100 most significant people. Juanes has supported current Colombian president ?lvaro Uribe, stating that with this new government of ?lvaro Uribe my country seems in better shape. On November 15, 2005, he was honored at the annual benefit gala for Sir Paul McCartney's Adopt-A-Minefield for his work as a Goodwill Ambassador for United for Colombia, a non-profit organization that raises responsiveness about the impact of land mines within Colombia.
On April 19, 2006, Juanes gave a brilliant performane before the European Parliament, as part of a campaign to increase awareness against the use of land mines around the world, including in his native Colombia. He was first singer to perform in the hemicycle where the European Parliament holds its plenary sessions.
The Parliament gave a symbolic gift of 2.5 million to demine Colombia and to rehabilitate victims of the landmines. In honor of his work and his music, he was given an escopetarra (a decommissioned AK-47 converted into a guitar) by peace activist C?sar L?pez; he later sold it at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills for US$17,000. On May 24, 2006 Juanes organized a benefit concert in collaboration with KLVE and Univision which raised approximately US$350,000 to care for injured children and provide prosthetics, wheelchairs, and land rehabilitation.
On July 19, 2006, French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedie awarded Juanes with the noblest cultural honor which was awarded by France, L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, proclaiming him as the Knight in the order of Arts and Letters for his work in social activism. In December 2006, work began on an entertaining park for the psychoanalysis of the handicapped named Parque Juanes de la Paz in Medell?n. The 68,000 square meter facility is estimated to cost COL$10.6 billion, invested partly by the government of Medell?n, and is expected to be completed by May 2007.
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