More than 100 students had the opportunity to share unforgettable moments with their idol, Juanes, thanks to the Latin Grammy in the Schools Program on Tuesday.
"Keep studying, that is the key to everything," Juanes said at Celia Cruz High School of Music in the Bronx, N.Y. "You have the opportunity to change the world. The world is completely crazy, so art is so important. Everyday is a great opportunity to create something different."
The Juanes visit was presented by the Latin Recording Academy.
"For me it is like an opportunity to learn from them," the singer said. "Because they are the guys, they know everything, when you are a kid [you seem to be more aware and see things clearer]."
The seventeen-time Latin Grammy and Grammy-winning Colombian took the time to take pictures with the students.
"What we are doing now is very close to what we are doing in Colombia, helping kids through music to change their lives," he explained. "I really believe that art is the most powerful weapon of peace, and when you bring art to kids' lives, everything changes. Because they can have the possibility to feel connected with themselves and the rest of the universe."
Music is not everything in Juanes' life, he has been active in working for humanitarian causes. He started the Mi Sangre Foundation to help victims of mines and is a goodwill ambassador for United for Colombia. In 2009, the songwriter came under fire for having participated in a concert in Cuba called "Peace Without Borders." Juanes has said he has no regrets, "my experience in Cuba was amazing. It had two sides, it was complicated."
"I thought it was not going to happen, and then it happened. If they ask me to do it again, I will do it. I really believe in the power of music, it is a way to connect with people. That day I felt the power of music."
This August, he will again feel that power of music when he embarks on an international tour.
During the panel the audience laughed when Juanes said that music is so important that, "I even have a guitar in my bathroom [at home]."
The talented singer/songwriter also gave a moving, yet brief performance. The audience cheered when the Latin pop artist sang the new single "La Señal", which is the No. 1 song in more than 16 countries, "Me Enamora" and the acclaimed mega hit "La Camisa Negra".
"He is so talented and such a great songwriter that the process was very enjoyable," said musician and MTV Tr3s vice-president José Tillán, the moderator of the event who was also in charge of his upcoming sixth album and TV special "Juanes: MTV Unplugged."
Scheduled to be released on May 29th, the live album was produced by Dominican singer Juan Luis Guerra.
"It was a great experience to work with 'el gran maestro' Juan Luis Guerra," Juanes said. "For me it was an intense lesson in music, very spiritual and technical. It was a huge honor for me, I was like an 'alumno' (student) in school. I was learning everyday, seeing what he was proposing and paying a lot of attention to all his corrections. It was great because I felt very comfortable and safe."
Mariela Murdocco is a journalist, TV writer-producer and photographer in New York City.