The countdown has begun to P.A.R.C.E., the fifth studio album from Juanes and also an abbreviation of parcero, which is what the kids in Medellin call their buddies. The Colombian rocker continues to give fans a sneak peek of the new album, to be released December 7. He promises the songs are different than his past ones—in a good way! This time around, he teamed up with British producer Stephen Lipson (Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and U2, among others), for P.A.R.C.E., which Juanes co-produced and penned entirely.
We caught up with Juanes before all the promotional madness began.
How personal is this album?
I feel like it’s really personal. All of my albums are personal, but this one reflects where I’m at now in life, which is a transitional point. I have a more mature outlook on love and marriage. In artists like Juan Luis Guerra, for instance, I find a lot of wisdom and experience. More than admiration, I see his connection with God and I understand a lot of the things he’s talking about more now. He’s not just a great musician, but also a very dignified person to follow as a role model. I think it’s a myth that musicians lose their edge with age.
Tell us about the new album.
What I was looking to do is give a little more depth to the actual sound. This album has a lot more textures that help you appreciate the music in a big-picture kind of way. In the past, my sound has always been in-your-face, very guitar-heavy, and this album obviously still has the guitar, but it’s interspersed with other elements. It has 12 songs, all of which have a big connection to love, and a certain light and hope to them—they’re meant to transport you somewhere. It touches on the life of someone in a long-term relationship, which is a beautiful life—it’s definitely worth celebrating—but it’s not necessarily easy. I’d say it’s spiritual. At the same time, it encompasses the different moods of a person throughout any given day, from nostalgia, to getting ready to party.
What do your kids think about the new album?
They love it. Especially Dante. He rocks out to it.
Not this time around. Not because they weren’t welcome; I just didn’t go out of my way to look for them. I’ve always had collaborations on previous albums, and I just really wanted it to be natural, all about the new sound and focus on that.
Why did you decide to go to London to record it?
I had been going to Los Angeles for 10 years to record with Gustavo [Santaolalla] and I was looking to start anew. I wanted to experiment and take myself and my music to another place. Stephen [Lipson] and I had really good chemistry and he did a great job in terms of engineering and production. When I was in London, Juanes didn’t exist. It was a city where I didn’t know anyone, it was another language, a whole new vibe, and it was really good for me. I feel like this album represents the start of something new for me. That’s exciting.
You always say you want to be a better musician. What did you do this time around?
I just really felt like I needed to get out of my comfort zone. And it’s not easy. You feel like you’re going to jump off this cliff but you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you do it anyways. I got sick over it, but it’s something I felt I had to do. I took online courses from Berklee College of Music. Every two or three days I would take a Quicktime lesson, I bought the books, and I would do the exercises. And I still do my vocal exercises. Hopefully you can hear it on this new album.
Random question: why don’t you ever leave your house without a rosary?
Well I have two, actually, that I always wear. One, my mother Alicia gave to me, and the other my wife [Karen] and daughters [Luna and Paloma] gave to me when I was touring in Spain one year. So I got them made into a single necklace. I don’t really go to church, but I do read the Bible and I have my own concept of God, so it’s like a form of protection, a way of staying connected.