People Staff
October 25, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Considered the poet of the pueblo, Juan Luis Guerra is one of the most renowned and respected Latin American singers in the world. His lyrics and musical talent have deservedly earned him a slew of international recognition, including GRAMMY awards, Latin GRAMMYs, Billboard awards, and various other honors in his native Dominican Republic and other countries.

This year, the singer will be honored for his professional, cultural and humanitarian achievements by the Latin Recording Academy (LARAS) as the Person of the Year at a Nov. 7 ceremony in Las Vegas. But before accepting his award, the singer spoke exclusively with

How do you feel being chosen as the Person of the Year?
Very content. I think it’s a huge privilege, and I receive it with a lot of pride. This is a huge step in my artistic career.

Your last album, {La llave de mi corazón}, was considered your best musical work…
For me it’s the most romantic. I think I’ve got a lot of albums left to do, but for now this is the most romantic. I did romantic albums, like Bachata rosa and Ojalá que llueva café, but I think from the beginning to the end that album was guided by love, which is why I think it’s one of the best.

But with the first single, “La llave de mi corazón,” you worked with a sound very different from your style. What made you write something so different?
Simply for innovation. I wanted to do something completely different that didn’t sound like anything we do and that would grab people’s attention. I used new elements, and that’s what I wanted. But when you hear the complete album, you realize that it’s a mix of various rhythms, like with “Que me des tu cariño,” which is the style of 440.

You’re an innovative man. Would you do reggaeton?
I respect a lot of reggaeton elements…[But] I don’t think it’s my style, mine is merengue and bachata, and other salsa sounds.

What inspires you to write?
(He points at his wife, Nora Vega). She inspires me. Every song I do, I’m thinking of her.

You’ve always seemed like a family man, never involved in controversy. How do you achieve that in the music business?
I’m a homebody. I try to be a good father and husband, and over all, I’m governed by God, and people should always try to please Him.

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