Juan Luis Guerra, who recently announced an upcoming album Literal and a new tour that will highlight his greatest hits, took to the stage during Latin Music Week to talk about his prolific career.
The Dominican Republic-born, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter spoke with Billboard’s Leila Cobo about his approach to music, what inspires him and what he’d eat if he could only have one more meal during part of the intimate interview that was followed by a quick-fire Q&A portion.
“My father … or Dios mio,” Guerra said, as members of the audience chuckled in unison with the entertainer when asked about a last meal as a fan shouted one option. “That’s a good answer: God’s bread.”
The interview was filled with humor, insights and the discussion about the secrets to making hits, which ultimately comes down to doing the work and one more factor: “The grace of God,” Guerra said. “I compose and I have the grace that the music goes on to be a hit.”
Like much of the music he’s recorded in life, the new project is filled with songs that are dedicated to his wife with the exception of one song that was written for his son years ago.
Guerra, who graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1982, took courses that focused on arranging and while music from bands such as The Beatles influenced his career, it was music from his roots and the Dominican Republic that ultimately got him noticed and where he began to focus.
“My friends would ask me how I would create music like that,” Guerra said. “That’s when I started doing my thing, what I knew.”
Guerra will be honored at the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards on Thursday (April 25) with a Lifetime Achievement Award.