Photo by Matthew Straubmuller of Wyclef Jean live in Washington, D.C. CC By 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
Haitian Rapper, Producer, and Philanthropist • Born October 17, 1969 • Hip Hop, Reggae Fusion, R&B
- Wyclef Jean was born in a suburb of Port-au-Prince in Haiti where he lived and was raised by his relatives until he was 9 years old.
- His first instrument was accordion, then he learned guitar, bass and piano, but his favorite of them all was guitar.
- At age 9, Wyclef moved to Brooklyn, New York to join his parents who had immigrated to the United States when Wyclef was a baby.
- Although rap was frowned upon by Wyclef’s family he joined the Fugees, originally known as the Tranzlator Crew founded by Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel Michel in the late 1980s.
- Wyclef Jean studied music at Five Towns College in Long Island, New York but didn’t graduate because he dropped out to focus on rapping.
- Every day he gets up and goes into the studio: “My therapy is when I pick up my guitar and sing.”
- As a producer, he has worked with such artists as Shakira, Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Carlos Santana and Avicii.
- He filed to run for President of Haiti in 2010, but was disqualified because he hadn’t lived in the country for five years prior to the election.
- Wyclef won two grammys for his work with the Fugees.
- Wyclef’s original name is Nel Ust Wycliffe Jean