Juanes wins four Latin Grammys

Colombian proud to represent country

Thursday, September 4, 2003

— Juanes, whose album "Un Dia Normal (A Normal Day)" has enjoyed a marathon stay on the charts, was showered with five Latin Grammy awards on Wednesday, including trophies for record and album of the year.

"I never thought that this was going to happen to me," said the Colombian singer-songwriter as he picked up one of his awards. "Three years ago I was lost completely in Los Angeles."

Juanes, who had already won four Latin Grammys prior to Wednesday's ceremony, won all of the awards he was nominated for, including song and record of the year for "Es Por Ti," and best rock solo album.

"Un Dia Normal" was released in May 2002 and has spent 65 weeks on Billboard Latin charts, a record, and yielded three successful singles.

Juanes, who was wearing a black T-shirt that read, "Se Habla Espanol," said he hoped his win would help people look at his homeland in a new light.

"I know a lot of times, people have a bad image of my country," he said. "That's why it's so important for me to be here, to represent the other side of Colombia."

While Juanes was the evening's big winner, the show's most rousing moment came at the start of the show. Celia Cruz, who just a year ago kicked off the Latin Grammys with an electrifying performance, was given a posthumous tribute, with a rousing medley of her some of her biggest hits.

"Azucar!" -- Cruz's trademark rallying cry -- was the final shout of the tribute, performed by Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, India and others. The Queen of Salsa, who won an award at the Latin Grammys last year, died of a brain tumor in July.

Cruz's husband, trumpeter Pedro Knight, watched the show.

"I'm speechless," he told reporters before the show.

George Lopez was the evening's host; the comedian made jokes about Latino culture and the city of Miami, where the event was held, throughout the evening, though most of them fell flat.

"Tonight, we should make Dan Marino an honorary Latino," he said, while wearing a jersey of the former Miami Dolphins quarterback. "So Dan, you'll probably get pulled over tonight."

The ceremony included energetic performances from Thalia and Bacilos, but also incorporated non-Latin artists; Juanes performed with the hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas, while Brazilian singer Alexandre Pires sang with "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson.

Although they didn't obtain visas to attend the show, the Cuban acts Orishas and Ibrahim Ferrer were honored in the preceremony. Orishas, socially conscious rappers, won for best hip-hop album, and Ferrer, best known as a member of Buena Vista Social Club, won for best traditional tropical album.