Juanes Talks Teaming With Logic For '1-800' Spanish Remix: 'Art Is Such a Powerful Weapon'

Samuel de Roman/Getty Images
Juanes during 'La Voz' 5th Edition and 'La Voz Kids' 4th Edition Presentation on July 19, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.

Logic notched his first No. 1 Billboard Top 100 hit with "1-800-273-8255" (featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid) off his current album Everybody. Now, keeping with the inclusive theme, the rapper has collaborated with Colombian superstar Juanes to make a Spanish remix of the song.

The song's title is the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Logic performed "1-800" at this year's VMAs and before leaving the stage where he was joined by several suicide attempt survivors, he told everybody watching, "I am here to fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal, but we are not treated equally. That is why we must fight." The following week, it was reported that calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline increased by 50 percent.

The "1-800-273-8255" remix featuring Juanes is now available (listen below). Juanes took time to chat with Billboard by phone about a project that means a great deal to him personally.

Billboard: How did this collaboration come about?

Juanes: He came to Miami for a concert (July 25, for his Everybody’s Tour), and I met him. I went to his tour bus and spent some time with him talking about music, and about life, and then I saw his show. It just blew my mind. Amazing, amazing, amazing. When I saw Logic, it made me be like, ‘Wow -- this guy is so, so talented. So incredible.’ And also because this song is so powerful. I just loved that inspiration of the song. So we met each other, and I went to my studio with Mosty. We did a translation of the lyrics and recorded it. I’m so excited about its release.

So you saw him perform “1-800.” Is that the first time that you’d really listened to it?

No, no, no. I had listened to it before, but at his show I was seeing all the audience (react) to the “1-800” song and was thinking, ‘This is so incredible.’ And then I went to the video and caught all the story about the song.

Do you remember where you were when you first heard the original Logic release of “1-800”? Did you have some type of reaction to it?

Yes, of course. I heard the song -- I was driving actually, and I heard the song. I went to the song on Spotify, and I just played the song. I just liked it so much. Then I started to learn more about the song’s meanings -- the meaning of the video and everything else surrounding the song. I think these days when everything’s about dancing and having a good time, it’s fresh to find a hit song like this one that’s talking about serious issues.

What personal connections do you have to this song and its message?

It’s very important because there are people in this world that are trying to get through difficult situations and most of them probably are alone -- probably they don’t know what to do. Music is always going to be that way to connect with ourselves and the rest of the world, and just find some help through art because art is such a powerful weapon. Most of the times when I feel sad, I use my own music or the process of creation to feel better. It just makes me feel better somehow.

Is there a particular reason why more of the song wasn’t sung in Spanish?

When I was doing the translation of the song, we just took the hook -- you know, the chorus of the song -- and did it in Spanish. And then, I sent them to Bobby (Logic) and then he split the song like half him, half me, half him, half me. Bobby was the one who came up with the splitting of parts, and I really like it.

In what ways did you communicate with Logic during the recording of this?

By text message. He was so excited about it. He played the part for some friends he has who speak Spanish, so he was making sure that everything was in the right place and sent it back like, “Yeah, I’m so happy with this. It's so exciting.” I hope I can do it someday on the stage performing with him.

With this wave of Spanglish remixes surging, what are your hopes for the reach that this song might have?

For me, it’s hard. I just want to make great music with great people, and then I just put all my heart and soul into it and all the people -- the audience -- will react to that.

Earlier this year you teamed up with Poo Bear for your first English song. Did that venture inch you toward wanting to be more involved in the American, or English, music landscapes -- perhaps with remixes like this one?

For me, now I can understand the language much better. I can speak English easier than before, so I’m doing little experiments. Actually, with Poo Bear for both of them. I’m happy with the first song that we released from my album, “Goodbye For Now,” and then (there’s another) with Poo Bear and Skrillex that’s going to be released soon. That’s super cool. So I’m very happy to do experiments with language, but singing in Spanish is something very, very important for me so I will keep doing that.

Do you still keep in touch with Logic and hope to work with him in the future?

Yes, yes. That’s my wish. I would love to work with him. Get in the studio someday and do something together. I hope we can do that -- make that happen. We clicked immediately, and I think we have a good relationship to keep working together.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.