Juanes is bringing a special guest to his next stop on his Loco de Amor tour…
The 43-year-old Colombian musician will be joined by Grammy-winning French DJ/producer Cédric Gervais at New York City’s Madison Square Garden as part of his tour.
The two are set to perform their ethereal Latin pop-meets-EDM duet, “Este Amor,” which they first unveiled at the Sunset Music Festival earlier this summer to a massive crowd.
This time, Gervais will be on Juanes’ turf, amid a sea of proud, flag-waving Colombians.
“I’m a bit nervous, but it’s a good feeling,” says the EDM superstar of his first time playing at the Garden.
It was Gervais’ idea to collaborate with Juanes, whose music he first heard while playing in Colombia some eight years ago, long before his 2013 remix of Lana del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” made him a global sensation.
“I had a Colombian girlfriend at the time, and I started developing a big love for the country and making friends down there,” Gervais remembers, adding that he actually bought Juanes’ Mi Sangre CD. “It doesn’t matter what language it is, when it’s good music, it’s good music, and I instantly connected with ‘La Camisa Negra.’”
Part of the creative process involved Gervais spending time at Juanes’ Miami home, sharing his vision for the song — and then just letting go.
“Cedric told me, ‘Don’t worry about anything. Just write a [Spanish-language] song as if you’re playing on an acoustic guitar, almost like a ballad, and then I will take care of the rest,” says Juanes, who admits to being intimidated by the whole process at first. But the chance to do something risky with someone he respects compelled him, even if the Latin audience, however loyal, is often risk-averse. Balancing his fans’ expectations, the pressure of the industry, and his own artistry is something he’s been working on since day one.
“From the moment I released ‘La Camisa Negra’ I started thinking about not doing the same thing again because it’s not going to be exciting,” admits Juanes. “If I feel that vibe again of course I’ll do it, but what I don’t want is just to do it because that song was successful and then I end up with a bad version of ‘La Camisa Negra,’” adds the 43-year-old father of three with a laugh. “I’m trying to have a long career and stay relevant over the years. Sometimes it’s hard, but in the end it pays off.”
For Gervais, it was important not to take his collaborator out of his element. “A lot of artists in my world, they don’t understand artists like Juanes, so when you want to do something special you don’t just give them a beat that you created and say, ‘Here, write to this,’ because then you’re not going to get the magic.”
Part of that magic was recording the tune in Juanes’ native language. “This is who Juanes is, that was the whole point of it, to do something completely different,” adds Gervais. “The American fans, it’s not that they don’t understand it, but they just don’t comment on it. The response that I have from my Latin fans has been ridiculous.”