Entertainment

This Is Why Alberto Aguilera Valadez Took The Stage Name Juan Gabriel

Juan Gabriel is without a doubt one of the most iconic and influential entertainers out of Mexico ever. His songs have been covered by some of the most popular musicians in the world, including Roberto Jordan, Rocío Dúrcal, José José, among many others. However, before reaching fame as JuanGa, he was known only by his original name, Alberto Aguilera Valadez.

So why after breaking into the music industry using his original name did he decide to change it? 

JuanGa wasn’t always known as Juan Gabriel, here’s why he made the change.

Like so many of the world’s most famous artists, Juan Gabriel – or Alberto Aguilera Valadez – didn’t have the easiest upbringing. In fact, he faced many problems during his childhood as the youngest of his brothers. He didn’t get to spend much time with his mother since he was enrolled in boarding school so that she could focus on work. And Alberto lost his father at a very young age, so he never actually had the opportunity to even meet him. 

In an interview on The Story Behind The Myth, Juan Gabriel explained why he had been named Alberto: “They named me Alberto because at that time the telenovela called El Derecho de Nacer was in fashion, and the main character was Alberto Limonta.” However, when he grew up and lived at the Escuela de Mejoramiento boarding school in Ciudad Juárez when he was a child, he met Juan Contreras, a piano and guitar teacher who taught him music.

“He told me that I had an ear for music and that he was going to teach me,” recalled Divo de Juárez in an interview. Juanito, as the singer called him, became his greatest confidante. “The times I was with Juanito, he would talk to me and listen to me and I would cry because my mother was not going to come see me or because I was locked up.”

And Juan Gabriel wasn’t the singer’s first stage name.

Upon finishing boarding school, Alberto started looking for a career in music. In 1965, he appeared on the nightly talk show, Noches Rancheras in Ciudad Juárez and the show’s host began to call him Adán Luna, which would be the singer’s first stage name. 

However, over the years and with the opportunity to record his first album, Alberto Aguilera Valadez decided to change the name of Adán Luna to Juan Gabriel. The origin of this name is derived from two of the most important men in his life and whom he was most fond of.

The first, Juan, is in honor of the teacher that the Divo de Juárez met in the boarding school where he lived when he was a child, while Gabriel was his father’s first name.

Throughout his successful career, Alberto Aguilera Valadez managed to establish himself as one of the best artists in Mexico, despite the fact that he died almost 5 years ago, his legacy continues.

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“Harry Styles vs Juan Gabriel” Juangas Style Is Getting A Second Look Thanks To…Harry Styles?

Entertainment

“Harry Styles vs Juan Gabriel” Juangas Style Is Getting A Second Look Thanks To…Harry Styles?

“Harry Styles vs Juan Gabriel” who is a better? Should this story have a breaking news qualifier? Harry Styles appears to be rather blatantly copying Juanga’s style. Whether you love this or hate this, you have got to find it intriguing as hell. It’s just so odd, right? In what scenario does a 25-year-old English man, formerly a singer in a boy band, discover the Mexican singer, who arguably peaked in the ’70s, Juan Gabriel? 

Shame on me for underestimating El Divo de Juárez’s impact! Juan Gabriel is regarded as one of the most prolific and certainly most successful Mexican singers and composers of all time. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, maybe one of them landed in Styles’ flat. 

This may seem like speculation at first. It almost sounds like a conspiracy theory between Juanga and Harry Styles fans. But there is so much evidence. I can guarantee that by the end of this article you will be convinced that Harry Styles is the biggest Juanga stan of all time. 

Harry Styles goes solo. 

You might remember Styles from a little boy band called One Direction. After earning third place on The X Factor in Britain, the band signed with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records. In six years, the band would release five albums and win 200 awards. Their 2014 Where We Are tour for One Direction’s third album Midnight Memories was the highest-grossing tour of all time by a vocal group. You can imagine how shocking it was when the band dissolved and entered permanent hiatus in 2015. Within two years, every member had gone solo. 

Harry Styles released his self-titled album in 2017. It debuted at number 1 in multiple countries including the United States. The record was a mix of ’70s soft rock, psychedelia, Britpop, and ballads. It’s hard to imagine why an English teen heartthrob would be identifying with so much Juanga. But there is clearly a lot more to both artists than what meets the eye. 

Juanga’s iconic style.

Juan Gabriel’s style was considered nothing short of groundbreaking during his time. His shimmery, glittery, sequins and flamboyant ensembles made the prolific artist a fashion icon. Juanga never shied away from bold colors and flashy embellishments. His vivacious manner of dressing also solidified him as an LGBTQ+ icon (along with years of speculation and rumors that he too was a member of the LGBTQ+ community). 

The influence is obvious.

It’s hard not to imagine Harry Styles opening up Google Image Search, looking at photos of Juanga, and telling his stylist, “Make me look like that!” Two men on Earth just don’t accidentally wear glittery, red leather fringe jackets. That is a niche look. It’s considerably less shocking if you understand Styles’ larger sensibilities. Styles is something of an LGBTQ+ icon himself. When asked about his sexual orientation after large fan speculation, Styles chose not to label himself. 

“No, I’ve never felt the need to really. No… I don’t feel like it’s something I’ve ever felt like I have to explain about myself,” he told The Sun

Fashion is self-expression.

Harry Styles said experimenting with fashion allowed him to find himself and feel more comfortable as a person. 

“I love the clothes,” Styles told Dazed and Confused. “That helps a lot. Just going on stage in a nuts suit with a bunch of sequins makes you feel good, and then you want to play.” 

However, when mentioning his influences Juan Gabriel was sorely missing. 

“I was realizing [dressing up] was a part of the show, if you will. Especially when performing. So, I think [for] the people I have always admired and looked up to in music, clothes have always been a big part of the thing. Like Bowie, Elvis Presley. It’s always been part of the thing.”

Masculine and Feminine

Part of both Juanga and Styles’ appeal is how they don’t fit into typical male stereotypes. They are more colorful, more playful, and more soft in the best way. 

“I think there’s so much masculinity in being vulnerable and allowing yourself to be feminine, and I’m very comfortable with that. Growing up you don’t even know what those things mean. You have this idea of what being masculine is and as you grow up and experience more of the world, you become more comfortable with who you are,” Styles told i-D

Is this just a conspiracy? 

When Harry Styles performed in Mexico City last year, he played one of Juan Gabriel’s biggest hits “Querida.” While we may never know if Harry Styles is as big a Juanga fan as he appears, I can certainly speculate that El Divo de Juárez is shading Styles from heaven because there is no doubt Mr. Styles stole his look. 

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JuanGa’s ‘El Noa Noa’ Just Got A Modern Trancey Twist In A Remake From Georgel & Esteman And I Don’t Hate It

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JuanGa’s ‘El Noa Noa’ Just Got A Modern Trancey Twist In A Remake From Georgel & Esteman And I Don’t Hate It

GeorgelVEVO / YouTube

While it’s been three years since the iconic Mexican singer Juan Gabriel’s alleged death, JuanGa’s legacy is still alive. Every time a sequin is handsewn onto a garment, Juanga gets another pair of golden angel wings. He doesn’t need anymore, guys! To usher in a new generation of Juanga stans, Mexican singer Georgel, and Colombian singer Esteman have put a modern twist on the 1980’s classic “El Noa Noa.” 

While Juan Gabriel’s sexual orientation was subject to speculation during and after his life, it goes without saying that his flamboyant style with his bold sequins and whimsical touches found a comfortable home in the LGBTQ+ canon. His persona evoked a sense of liberation that was inaccessible to queer Latinxs at the time. What makes this version of “El Noa Noa” different, and what marks a clear evolution of LGBTQ+ folks in the Latinx community, is that both Georgel and Esteman are out and proud. 

This song is personal for Georgel.

Georgel and Esteman teamed up with producer Juan Pablo Vega to create a unique and fresh cover of “El Noa Noa.” The music video premiered this week on Billboard. 

“I grew up thinking of Juan Gabriel as the greatest artist in Latin America,” Georgel told Remezcla. He and his husband, Guillermo Rosas were friends with Juan Gabriel who they remember by his real name, Alberto. Georgel believes the ’80s bop was Juanga’s way of giving the public a tiny taste of who he really was. 

“‘El Noa Noa’ was an international hit during the ’80s and a social phenomenon for the LGBTQ+ community,” he said. “It gave strength to the phrase, ‘ser de ambiente’ (being part of the LGBTQ+ community) and in my opinion, it was a window into the world where [Juan Gabriel] always wanted to live.”

To revamp the legendary hit would be a huge undertaking. Georgel enlisted the help of another gay Latinx artist, Colombian singer and songwriter Esteman to give “El Noa Noa” a modern electro-cumbia update. 

“There was immediate chemistry, artistically speaking,” Esteman told Billboard. “He told me he wanted to do the song with me, and I thought it was a great idea to bring this classic song to our generation.”  

“El Noa Noa” was ahead of its time.

Georgel and Esteman decided to go with a retro-futuristic music video which is no surprise since “El Noa Noa” was way ahead of its time. The song envisioned a world where patrons of a Juarez nightclub could dance and be themselves freely. 

“In my opinion, it’s the most fun, it’s the most uptempo, it’s the one that our Mexican and Latin culture remembers as a party song,” Georgel told Billboard. 

Whether intentionally or not, it’s hard not to imagine a place not too different from an LGBTQ+ nightclub with ball competitions or the sexual freedom kept safely hidden between the walls of the infamous New York City nightclub Studio 54 in the 1970s. 

Out of this world.

In the video, Georgel and Esteman ride around in a sportscar wearing sequined bomber jackets. After getting stranded on the highway they discover a glowing red door that transports them to a Juarez club with drag queens, astronauts, galaxies, and choreographed dance. Complete with voguing and aliens, the new “El Noa Noa” brings the surreal feeling of the song to life by showing viewers a different world, one that might even be better than this one. 

“It looks like we’re on another planet but basically, it’s to show that when you go to ‘El Noa Noa,’ everyone is different,” Esteman told Billboard. “The best part is the message it sends of accepting each other in this diverse world, where everyone is welcomed and where we have freedom of speech.” 

New generation. New freedoms.

While “El Noa Noa” may have been an unspoken LGBTQ+ anthem in the 1980s, in 2019, what was unsaid can now be spoken. Georgel and Esteman couldn’t be better messengers to continue Juanga’s legacy of freedom, liberation and being as extra as you can be. 

In the world that they have created, even if it only exists in a 4 minute music video, everyone finally gets to be themselves in a way that many people of Juanga’s time could not. Even if it still just a fantasy (because hello, there are 71 countries where it is illegal to be an LGBTQ+ person) there was a time when even suggesting the fantasy could have dangerous consequences. “El Noa Noa,” now. “El Noa Noa,” forever. 

“What’s beautiful about bringing it back in this day and age is that we are showing it to a new generation, reviving it and making it alive again with two voices that are part of the LGBT community,” Georgel said. 

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