“Everything begins and ends in Colombia for my wife and me. We both want our children to be in contact with our history, so we spend a lot of time in Cartagena and Medellín, which are also lovely places,” says the famous Colombian singer.
There he is. The walls of the cream-colored room make his red guitar stand out even more as he waits for us with his ever-present air of confidence, which – along with his love for Colombia, music and family – are his greatest constants. The recent changes to his image offer a sharp contrast. He’s currently sporting short hair and a beard, adding yet another look to the metamorphoses that we have witnessed throughout his career. First, there was the classic “good boy” cut, followed by a shoulder-length mane and then by a military-style buzz. All the while, his music has evolved alongside his image. If anything can be said about this musician, guitarist and singer-songwriter, it’s that musically, he doesn’t repeat himself. The most recent example is P.A.R.C.E., the album he released at the end of 2010. The sound of this venture is markedly different from its predecessor (La vida es un ratico), and we begin our conversation with this topic.
P.A.R.C.E. opens with “Yerbatero,” a song that talks about someone who can cure different ailments. Are you that healer, through the power of your music?
“That’s one interpretation. I’d love to have the power to cure so many problems, but I wasn’t thinking of myself when I wrote it. I was thinking about the greatest ‘Yerbatero’ (witch doctor) of all, God, because he is the only one who can truly heal. He is an unfathomably powerful force that is all around us and can cure us of any kind of pain. In a way, the entire record is full of songs in which love ends up improving any situation.” » You have a strong love for Colombia.
Do you visit frequently?
“This summer, my entire family went. Later, I returned again. And I’m headed back next week. We are always traveling to Colombia. Everything begins and ends in Colombia for my wife and me. We both want our children to be in contact with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, with this entire world that is such a part of our history, so we spend a lot of time in Cartagena and Medellín, which are also lovely places.”
I once read that you love to ride horses on your farm in Medellín and that you’re very happy in the country…
“We really love farming, the cattle, the countryside. To me, the land is a great gift from God. It’s incredible how self-sustainable it can be. It’s almost like magic. I’m interested in everything that can be grown, and I also like that it can create jobs. All my brothers studied to become professionals – one is an architect, one is a mechanical engineer, one is a civil engineer and another is an industrial engineer. They all worked in their fields, but now we’re all working together in the family business, which is farming.”
Apart from farming, what other things interest you?
“I really love painting. I paint – or I should say I try to paint – in order to relax. It’s nothing professional, just something I do to unwind.”
Colombia is home to many great painters. Are there any who have caught your eye?
“There’s a young painter in Medellín – I think he’s around 40 – named Germán Londoño. I like him because his style is dynamic and colorful. His rendering of human despair is truly impressive, and I like his anti-violence themes. He gave Karen (my wife) and me a very special painting, a portrait of us together. In my house, I also have a painting by Luis Luna, a great abstract artist from Colombia. It’s really spectacular. I also quite like sculptor Hugo Zapata, who works with stone, making it as soft as a baby’s skin. You have to see his sculptures!”
With a successful career, a stable family life and enough time to enjoy the scenery and culture of Colombia, what part of your life do you think still needs work?
“My inner life. But I’m already addressing that. I’m working on finding the center and balance of my inner strength and not letting myself falter. It’s a strength that you can only get from God and prayer. I’m not talking about the kind of prayer where you repeat the same thing over and over, but rather talking to Him as a friend, saying, ‘Brother, please hear me,’ with the same confidence I have when I talk to myself.” in