Vida Cotidiana

Vida Cotidiana

“I want to transcend in life, in time, with music, with songs, with concerts. That means more than thinking only about today, which is all so fast and unexpected,” Juanes tells Apple Music. There’s no doubt that Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez, globally known as Juanes, has a transcendent catalog. The Colombian artist’s legacy has had an undeniable cultural impact on Latin American music. With 26 Latin Grammys on his mantel, he’s not only written some of the region’s best songs (“La Camisa Negra,” “Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor,” and “A Dios Le Pido,” to name a few) but also its equally well-known guitar riffs, inspiring younger generations while watching the music industry change shape. His 10th album, Vida Cotidiana, is another chapter in his artistic evolution, taking in a range of aspects that define the Medellín-born composer, whether exploring Colombian folklore or calling back to 2000s Latin rock. Here he tells Apple Music about the album and what got him there. Where do you feel you are today in your career? It is the accumulation of everything, definitely, but I would say that it is a very fulfilling moment. Creatively, with a lot of energy. A lot of this album, for example, was made during COVID, an extra time that I didn’t count on. So it was a time that I had for myself, to be able to study musical harmony, guitar, singing, poetry, and above all to sit calmly and compose. Not thinking about any trend, but about the music that came from my soul. That was something very liberating in a way, and in that context, I feel fulfilled by that, because the time was very creative. I did 45 or 50 demos; I don’t even remember how many. Do you feel like you compete with the successes you’ve had in the past? Yes, I think I did before. I used to feel as if I had a lion chasing me. But not anymore, because I realized that that was never going to happen again; a song like “La Camisa Negra” was never going to happen again. And I don’t even want to do it again. I’m not thinking, “Now I’m going to make a song that sounds like ‘A Dios Le Pido.’” I want to make my music and feel good about what I do and get somewhere within my possibilities, but I don’t want to lose myself by getting to a specific place, because I think that artistically when that happens it’s very painful for one as an artist. When you do something that suddenly isn’t very good only because it’s more popular, it hurts, it’s painful. If we look at the span of your work, and even Vida Cotidiana, your songwriting is very based on guitar riffs. I always write with the guitar, that’s my way of doing it. I do things sometimes by accident, like, “Oh shit, what am I playing? I like this!” And I start building things from there. But yes, I’m still standing up for the guitar, for the riffs. And I see it clearly, now more than ever. The guitar is something too important for me, although it is not very common in mainstream music. I feel like it is a beautiful instrument. Let’s talk about “Gris.” In terms of production, it feels like a throwback to 2003. Yeah, that’s for sure. In fact, that song, “Gris,” and other demos that I have been working on have a direction that I would like very much to continue looking for. I really like “Caribbean” music. I listen to cumbia and I go crazy. I love vallenato too. I like reggae, bachata, and all that stuff. I like all of that and I wouldn’t want to lose it completely. So I want to try and find a way to go in those two directions, to see what I can find there. But yes, definitely that combination, the electric and acoustic guitar, is very cool due to the polyphony. In the guitar from “Gris,” for example, it’s not very noticeable, but everything is like a polyphony. A guitar does one thing, and the other one does something different, and all of that comes together. Like putting together many layers of different notes, I really like that. Let’s talk about a day in your everyday life. What is a normal day like in your life? A normal day for me is strange, because it’s not normal at all, and every day is not the same either. It’s a little different, it depends. When I’m at home, I always wake up very early, five in the morning, 5:30. I really like to wake up early, make breakfast, exercise, shower, and get to the studio. That’s my life. And just to be there until 4, 5, 6 pm, that’s a normal day. Sometimes I don’t want to play the guitar, I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want anything. I want to play games with my son, I want to watch a movie. Sometimes I do those things too, but generally there is always something: “Tomorrow we have to go take some photos,” “the day after tomorrow we are going to make a video, then we go to Mexico.” And it always goes a little in that dynamic. The truth is that I enjoy it, it’s not that it’s tormenting, but I enjoy it, I really like to travel. What happens is that sometimes airports, planes, flights...that part is not so cool.

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