Haitian-born Wyclef Jean is a Grammy Award-winning musician/producer, social activist, good will ambassador to Haiti, founder of Yéle Haiti, and a positive diplomat for cultural evolution. A founding member of the pioneering hip-hop group Fugees and a prolific solo artist, Wyclef has effortlessly crossed genres, generations and geographic boundaries with his music.
The Fugees’ received critical acclaim in 1994 with their debut album, Blunted on Reality, but their sophomore album, 1996’s The Score, became a full-blown cultural phenomenon reaching the No. 1 slot on Billboard’s Top 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums charts. It produced three hit singles—”Fu-Gee-La,” “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” and “Ready or Not”—and earned two Grammys—Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals (“Killing Me Softly With His Song”) and Best Rap Album.
The next move for this gifted writer and producer was to embark upon a solo career. Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival Featuring The Refugee All-Stars, released in 1997, earned him a Grammy nomination. Then came The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II A Book (2000), Masquerade (2002), the autobiographic The Preacher’s Son (2003), Welcome To Haiti: Creole 101 (2004) and Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant (2007).
His talents as a producer and collaborator have led to a myriad of successful projects over the past two decades with a wide variety of artists, including Bono (“New Day”), Carlos Santana (Supernatural), Whitney Houston (“My Love Is Your Love”), and Shakira (“Hips Don’t Lie”).
Wyclef Jean created the non-profit foundation Yéle Haiti in 2005 to provide aid and assistance to his native Haiti. Yéle, which means “a cry for freedom,” is a charity that links with existing groups to initiate and support programs relating to hunger, education, youth rehabilitation, AIDS treatment and prevention, and sustainable development. Yéle Haiti’s mission is to create small-scale, manageable and replicable projects to contribute to Haiti’s long-term progress. Each of Yéle Haiti’s projects is designed to bring hope to the people of Haiti while providing support for the rebuilding of the country and the renewal of its resources. Wyclef launched Together for Haiti in 2008, a new partnership led by Yéle Haiti that provides food, creates jobs, and supports local agriculture in response to the food crisis.
“The greatest accomplishment is giving hope to young kids,” says Wyclef. “The objective of Yéle Haiti is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and force that is part of our heritage.”
Wyclef is currently in the studio working on his seventh solo album, To Sir With Love which will be released fall 2009.
Two-time Grammy-nominated Def Jam recording artist Chrisette Michele recently debuted her sophomore album, Epiphany, and the first single from that album, also named “Epiphany,” is getting constant airplay. Nominated for 2009 Best Urban/Alternative Performance Grammy Award for her single “Be Ok” featuring Will.i.am, this talented singer/songwriter sang and recorded six songs on her new album with Ne-Yo & Chuck Harmony, Rodney Jerkins and Claude Kelly.
She added her irresistible vocal charm to Jay-Z’s “Lost One” and Nas’s soulful “Can’t Forget About You” before she took fans by storm in mid 2007 with her debut album I Am. “If I Have My Way,” her debut single from that album was nominated for a Best Female R&B Vocal Grammy Award, and “Be Ok” and “Love Is You” received wide acclaim. The album was gold-certified and Chrisette was nominated for a BET Award for Best New Artist as well as two Grammys. She personally auditioned for and was signed by Antonio “L.A” Reid, chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group, who told her he got goose bumps the first time he heard her sing.
Chrisette has toured with the likes of Musiq Soulchild, Raheem DeVaughn and Solange Knowles. She’s also part of a major ad campaign by Nivea Crème Skin Company and has appeared on television sitcoms.