By Fred Gonzalez

Before his recent concert at AmericanAirlines Arena, Juanes stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe at Bayside Marketplace in Miami to share some love with his fans.

The meet-and-greet, organized by South Florida Ford dealers and Mega 94.9, featured 70 people who entered a contest to win face time with the Colombian rocker and get everything from photos to CD covers to sneakers signed. One fan won an autographed Fender guitar.

Aside from his current tour, Juanes, who has a house in Miami, has been busy with philanthropic work. His foundation, Mi Sangre, assists victims of land mines in Colombia and he recently helped a different cause involving his homeland and Venezuela.

"We work with the idea of building peace through art, so we held a concert a month ago right on the border of Colombia and Venezuela, and it was like a fraternity between citizens,” Juanes said, referring to the recent border strife involving the two countries. "I still have plenty of passion and drive. And my music, that is what takes me to all of those places. The music will always be there.”

And so will his fans. We spent some time with the relaxed rocker – who is recently sporting spikey hair – before the doors opened.

How often do you get to interact with fans like this?
"Almost every day when I am on tour – just before the concert or just after.For me, it’s really important to get in touch with them because they are the ones that give life to my music, in a sense.”

Any favorite Miami restaurants?
"Sushi Siam is really good. And my favorite is Mondongos, a Colombian restaurant.”

Anything you would change about Miami?
"No, man. I really like Miami."

How do you like playing here?
"Playing in Miami is very important, very special and very emotional. I have a lot of friends and family here, and for me it’s a city that represents a part of Colombia.”

Has your English always been this good?
"I have been learning for like seven or eight years. When I arrived in Los Angeles for the first time, I didn’t
even speak a word [of English]."

How many guitars do you own?
"I have probably like seven guitars, but I have my favorite one."

Would you ever trade anything for your guitar. Like if someone offered you a Lamborghini?
Ah, no, man. Nothing.


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