Haitian-born Wyclef Jean is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter/musician/producer, humanitarian, Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti, and founder of Yele Haiti. A founding member of the pioneering hip-hop group Fugees and prolific solo artist, Wyclef has effortlessly crossed genres, generations and geographic boundaries with his music.
Wyclef’s musical journey began in Haiti where he sang in his father’s church at the age of three. At the age of 10, he moved to the United States where he formed his first serious musical collaboration, the Tranzlator Crew, in 1987, with his New Jersey classmates Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel. By 1994, the Tranzlator Crew had become the Fugees and the group enjoyed its first critical acclaim with its debut album, Blunted On Reality.
The Fugees sophomore album, 1996’s The Score, became a full-blown cultural phenomenon reaching the #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 Score went on to become the world’s #1 top-selling hip-hop album of all-time, selling more than 19 million copies globally and still counting.
In 1997, 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 earned him a Grammy nomination. Five other albums followed with 2000’s The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II A Book, 2002’s Masquerade, 2003’s autobiographic The Preacher’s Son, 2004’s Welcome To Haiti: Creole 101, marked his most radical artistic and musical statement.
His talents as a producer and collaborator have led to a myriad of successful projects over the past two decades. Those include recording with Bono (“New Day”), writing and producing Carlo Santana’s Supernatural, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year, Whitney Houston’s “My Love Is Your Love,” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” his Grammy-nominated international smash hit duet with Shakira which earned him the #1 Top 40 airplay record of all time.
Wyclef’s most recent releases are 2007’s Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant, 2009’s From the Hut to the Projects, to the Mansion and 2013’s April Showers.
In 2008, Wyclef participated in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) where he attended panel discussions and spoke about his native Haiti. In 2009, Wyclef participated in several balls in Washington D.C. during the Presidential Inauguration, including the Mid-Atlantic Ball; and performed at the 16th annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert, in Oslo, Norway, to honor laureate Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.
In 2005, Wyclef Jean created Yele Haiti to provide aid and assistance to his native Haiti. Yele Haiti is a grassroots movement inspiring change in Haiti through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment. Their community service programs include food distribution and mobilizing emergency relief. The organization has been featured in the Associated Press, USA Today, CNN, Fox News, NBC’s Today Show, and 60 Minutes. After the devastating earthquake in January 2010, all programs now focus on the relief and reconstruction of the island nation.