"I think it means a lot to me and I feel very thankful to the Academy," Juanes told ET's Denny Directo at the YouTube Music Press Brunch at the Aria Hotel. "I got nominated as a new artist 20 years ago, so now I'm just receiving this incredible award, Person of the Year. I feel so thankful and honored."
"I'm so happy to be here, man, just celebrating my career and sharing this with all my fans and family," he added.
Juanes has been nominated for over 20 Latin GRAMMYs over the course of his incredible career, but the Person of the Year honor is being awarded to him for more than just his music. The award recognizes his support of emerging artists, as well as his humanitarian efforts. Juanes' work with his organization, Fundación Mi Sangre (My Blood Foundation), and efforts as co-founder of Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) has raised awareness for the power of peacebuilding.
"[I] never [thought this would happen], even in my wildest dreams," he shared. "I never thought it was going to be like this, so I feel very happy and I just love music so much."
"I've been making music since I was a kid, so for me, this is just like a dream come true," Juanes reflected.
In a May interview with ET, Juanes opened up about the legacy he hopes to leave behind for his own children.
"I think the best thing that happened to me was just to be a father of these kids," he said. Juanes shares 16-year-old Luna, 14-year-old Paloma and 10-year-old Dante with Karen Martinez. "I mean, they have been teaching me so much about love, about life. They never see me like the artist, and I really like that because I never wanted to do that."
"We are just family at home, and they know that I perform, that I rehearse, that I'm doing this and that, but they always see me like their father. And I really like that, because it makes me feel so grounded," Juanes shared.
"The most important thing is to teach them how to love themselves, to feel love for themselves, to be proud of who they are and just to understand that everybody is different," he expressed. "So, in that context to respect people, but the way to do that is you have to love yourself first. That's what we try to teach them so much."
At Thursday's awards show, Juanes will join previous Latin Recording Academy Persons of the Year, including Marc Anthony, Miguel Bosé, Roberto Carlos, Plácido Domingo, Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Vicente Fernández, Juan Gabriel and Ricky Martin (who is hosting the Latin GRAMMYs this year).
As part of the honor, Juanes will be celebrated with a star-studded gala that will feature a tribute concert with a slew of artists performing his greatest hits. The 2019 Latin GRAMMY Awards will take place on Thursday at the MGM Grand Convention Center in Las Vegas.