On February 11th and fresh from his 2013 Grammy win for Best Latin Pop Album for his “Juanes MTV Unplugged” album, international music superstar Juanes took the El Rey Theatre stage in Los Angeles, Calif., to speak to children and teens from the L.A. area about the importance of music education and how it affected his music career.
Members of the After-School All-Star Program (ASAS), an after-school program aimed in providing scholastic and enrichment opportunities for at-risk youth across the country, received the opportunity to ask several questions for the Colombian singer-songwriter, as well as witness his private sound check performance for Juanes’ concert later that night.
During the event, Juanes revealed to his young audience that his start in music was influenced by growing in a musically-inclined family. “I started in music because of my family. In my house it was very normal to find two or three acoustic guitars in the living room,” he said. “We were always playing and singing South American folk music.”
He also made note that his first experience playing in front of an audience was while he was still in elementary school, which drew sighs of wonder from the children in the audience. Juanes shared his memories of singing during the raising of the flag at his school and that after his days in middle school, he joined a rock band at the age of 14 and then moved to Los Angeles in 1998 to pursue his music career.
One of the young audience members asked what it was like to have won the Grammy the night before.
“It was a great moment last night because we all worked so hard from the very first day when we started to record it during a live concert in Miami,” Juanes said. “When I heard my name I just said ‘Wow, this is because of God and because of music’ and I feel so blessed.”
The singer has long been an advocate for music education in schools. A few days before the 55th Grammy Awards, which took place on Sunday, February 10, 2013, Juanes took part of the Grammy In Schools Live! event at the University of Southern California. He was pleased to learn that music educators will be recognized by the GRAMMY Foundation and the Recording Academy with the first-ever Music Educator Award. “I think it’s a great idea. That’s a very special announcement because I think teachers have been undervalued,” he said. “The responsibility and education of our children are in their hands and we should give them importance and much more respect and humility. I think it’s a recognition from the part of the academy that is very thoughtful and special.
After wrapping up the question and answer session with ASAS, Juanes played songs from both his past and current albums. He also invited friends of his to join him onstage to sing a few songs, among them was Colombian singer Fonseca, who performed “Gotas de Agua Dulce” in duet with Juanes.
MetroPCS Communications Inc., a sponsoring partner of ASAS, provided corporate sponsorship for both the sound check and private concert for fans later that night.