Music has a magic that no other medium possesses. I have seen firsthand how it can cross all boundaries, whether they are cultural, linguistic, political or geographical. One artist who exemplifies music's ability to speak to everyone is the young Colombian-born singer Juanes.
I was first introduced to Juanes two years ago when a friend played his music for me on an iPod during a cruise in the Mediterranean. His music was unique in that it had the rhythms of rock blended with Latin beats and the sounds of Colombian folklore. Although the lyrics were in Spanish, his musicianship on guitar was universal and very powerful. That singer-songwriter, now 32, showed skills way beyond his years, deftly moving from love ballads to politically charged protest songs about war and injustice in his home country. It was easy to see why his reputation as an artist was growing well beyond Colombia's borders. Shortly thereafter, during a dinner at a Washington restaurant, I had the opportunity to meet this young artist when his group joined ours. He had a charisma and sweetness in his heart, and I could immediately see the soul from which his music came.
I asked Juanes to perform last year at a benefit concert for my foundation at the Circus Maximus in Rome to bring global awareness to the needs of children in war-torn countries. Performing his award-winning "A Dios Le Pido (I Ask God)", Juanes appeared before more than half a million people (including many watching live) with such energy and command that he immediately had the crowd rocking and dancing along. It was an evening that fully expressed the idea that music has the power to bring people together, and Juanes was right there helping to build the bridge. He is an artist whose music comes straight from the genuine spirit of his soul and, because of that, an artist that I think more and more of the world will embrace.
Jones is the Grammy-winning musician and producer