Luis Fonsi Is Using Music to Raise Alzheimers Awareness for His Grandma: 'Beautiful Responsibility'
For Luis Fonsi, Alzheimers disease has affected his family first-hand — so he's doing something about it through his music.
Speaking to PEOPLE about his partnership with Alzheimers Association for their Music Moments campaign, Fonsi explains that it's never too late to become educated on a matter, especially when it's disproportionately affecting your people.
"We should talk about it, and we should take time and read about it and learn. I did not know that us Latinos, were more affected," Fonsi, 44, says, referring to a statistic in the 2022 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures that says Hispanic people are one and one half times more likely to have Alzheimers or other dementia.
"All of a sudden you start talking to people, to friends, it's like, 'Oh yeah, my aunt. Yeah, my grandfather.' And then you're like, 'Wait a minute.' We all need to talk about this. We all need to figure out a way to educate ourselves, to help, to see how we can fund more investigation to see if somehow we could figure out a way to end this."
He continues, "And instead of just living with it, be proactive about it. Let's do it through music."
The "Despacito" singer feels an emotional attachment to this cause, considering his grandmother, whom he grew up with, is currently battling the disease and no longer recognizes him. Despite the harsh realities, Fonsi still reflects on their "beautiful" relationship.
"I don't want to say I was her favorite, but I was. It's one of those things that I grew up with her, I'm the oldest in my family. My parents were working a lot when we were living in Puerto Rico, so I just have always stayed with her," he says. "She was the singer of the family, and my grandfather who just passed was the trumpet player. It was one of those households that as soon as you came in, you just always heard music."
He adds, "And she still remembers all her favorite songs. All she does is sing. She doesn't remember much. However, there's just one file, this one hard disc in her head that she will not forget any of her favorite songs. And I just think that's so beautiful."
As the first Latin musician to take part in Music Moments, Fonsi considers his role a "beautiful responsibility" as he hopes to raise awareness and "open up the conversation about Alzheimers."
Through the campaign, Fonsi is lending his song "Girasoles" (which means sunflowers) from his latest studio album Ley De Gravedad, to send a message of hope and encouragement.
"Let's sing a beautiful song. Beautiful, emotional, powerful song, and let's share that message," he says. "Because it's a song that I sang with my guitar, and it's just about coming together. It's about hope. It says just like some flowers follow the sun."
He adds, "It shows that they're loyal, and it shows that they're strong, and they will always be there. And that parallel, it's a beautiful thing. It's what love is all about. It's what this campaign is all about."
Fonsi's live performance of "Girasoles" is available now in English and Spanish here.
- Heidi Klum Says Her 'Heart Was Melted' by Her AGT Golden Buzzer Act Who Lost Her Mom to Cancer
- Reagan's Secret Service Supervisor Says a President Lunging at Security Detail Is Unheard Of: 'Mind Boggling'
- Peytan Porter Proves Her Worth as Country Music's Newest Trailblazer on Debut Project In My Head
- Country Singer Tyler Barham Marries Fiancée Morgan Hauerwas in Montana: 'I Knew She Was the One'