Juanes is stepping back in time on his new album Origen. The Colombian superstar covers classics by Latin American icons like Joe Arroyo, Juan Luis Guerra, Fito Paéz, and Juan Gabriel. He also tackles a few hits by Anglo legends like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Marley. In an interview with Latido Music, Juanes talked about the inspiration for his covers album, the Amazon Prime documentary behind it, and where his sound is going next.

Origen is the soundtrack of Juanes’ life.

“This Origen project is like a journey,” Juanes tells mitú. “[It’s] going back to my early days in my childhood and also going back to the songs and those artists that made me who I am now. I had an opportunity to make these songs in a very different way, far from the originals, but at the same time keeping the essence of every song.”

As Juanes puts it, Origen is definitely the soundtrack of his life. The Colombian rocker was inspired by these legends that shaped the sound of his music. The Grammy and Latin Grammy winner is now at a point in his career where he can do what he wants, and right now Juanes wants to pay homage to rock classics in Spanish and English.

Juanes translated Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” into Spanish.

One of the surprising covers on Origen is Juanes’ take on Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” When he covered Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved,” he kept the lyrics in English. With “Dancing in the Dark,” Juanes decided to translate Springsteen’s lyrics into Spanish.

“When I was doing the translation last year in the middle of the [COVID-19] lockdown, I realized finally the meaning of the song,” Juanes says. “It just blew my mind. It just made me feel so vulnerable. I love that part of the song. It was very deep. I wanted to do it in Spanish because I want people from the Latin world to understand the meaning of the lyrics.”

Juanes gave Joe Arroyo’s “Rebelión” a rock makeover.

Another standout cover on Origen is the opener “Rebelión.” Juanes put a new spin on the salsa classic by Afro-Colombian musician Joe Arroyo.

“Joe Arroyo is like our Fela Kuti,” Juanes says. “He was the one that brought all the African sound to our Caribe style. Salsa without Joe would be totally different. We took this way of rock. More aggressive and rock, but with the same lines in the guitar and the melody is exactly the same. That’s the first track of the album and it’s very powerful.”

Juanes also steps back in time in the Origen documentary.

In the Origen documentary that’s streaming on Amazon Prime, Juanes goes back in time as he performs each song on the album. He plays dress-up like The Beatles at The Ed Sullivan Show and he dons other retro outfits. Guerra, Paéz, Ziggy Marley, and more appear in the documentary to give approval to Juanes’ covers.

“We also wanted to pay tribute to big moments of music on TV,” Juanes says. “We went to the ’70s and then to the ’80s like Top of the Pops and all those shows from the past that are like iconic moments in music on TV.”

Never forget when Juanes teamed up with Kali Uchis.

One of Juanes’ greatest hits that we talked about during the interview was 2017’s “El Ratico.” He teamed up with Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis for that one. Now she has the No. 1 song on Billboard‘s Hot Latin Songs chart with her global hit “Telepatía.”

“I love her so much,” Juanes says. “I really feel so happy for her success. She really deserves that success. The first time I saw her video like 5 or 6 years ago, I couldn’t believe it. And then when I realized she was connected with Colombia, I couldn’t believe that moment. We tried to find her and she was really cool. We recorded a song together. She’s doing really well. She’s very original and different from the rest.”

There might be a U.S. tour at the end of the year.

As for the future, Juanes hopes to tour the U.S. by the end of the year pending the COVID-19 situation. He also reveals that the stripped-down sound of the Origen album will be informing music going forward.

“After the past two albums, I really wanted to go back to the roots and the essence and for me that means real instruments and real people playing with me,” Juanes says. “That was the original idea: to go to that organic sound. I think that’s the next step for me looking into the future.”

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