Wyclef Jean

Album cover of 2000's The Ecleftic

Wyclef Jean (born October 17, 1972) is a Haitian-born rapper, producer and former member of the superstar hip hop trio The Fugees, known now for a series of high-profile hit singles.

Born in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, Jean moved to Brooklyn when he was nine, then to New Jersey, where he began playing the guitar and studying jazz in high school. In 1987, Jean, his cousin Prakazrel Michel (Pras) and his classmate, Lauryn Hill, formed a group called the Tranzlator Crew before becoming The Fugees. Wyclef worked as a cabdriver.

The Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records and released their debut, Blunted on Reality, but the album was panned and sold poorly. Their eclectic follow-up, The Score, however, sold over 17 million copies worldwide and turned the trio into international superstars. Jean soon announced plans to begin a solo career with 1997's Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars (more typically called simply The Carnival). The album's guests included Hill and Pras along with Jean's siblings, the I Threes (back-up vocals for Bob Marley), Neville Brothers and Celia Cruz. The album was a major hit, as were two singles: "We Trying to Stay Alive" (adapted from The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive") and "Gone Til November" (recorded with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra).

Jean went on to work with artists including Santana, Tevin Campbell, Cypress Hill, Bounty Killer, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Sublime, Simply Red, Mya, Sinéad O'Connor, Kimberly Scott, Mick Jagger, Canibus, The Black Eyed Peas and Eric Benét. The Fugees remained in limbo during this time, with the follow-up to The Score being continually postponed as all three members cultivated solo careers. Jean's second solo album was The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book, recorded with guests Youssou N'Dour, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kenny Rogers, The Rock and Mary J. Blige. The critical reception was mixed, with many calling the album scattershot and too far-ranging to be cohesive.

Jean's third album, Masquerade, was released in 2002 and sold well, though critics frequently panned it.

His fourth album was The Preacher's Son, an album that Wyclef considered a continuation of his first album, Carnival.

In 2004, he released his fifth album, entitled Sak Pasé Presents: Welcome to Haiti (Creole 101) (released in the United States by Koch Records). A freewheeling album that is something of a return to his Caribbean roots, most of the songs on the album are in his native language of Haitian Creole or Kreyòl.

In 2005, Jean earned a Golden Globe for his track entitled "Million Voices" featured on the soundtrack to the film Hotel Rwanda.


Discography

  • 1997 Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars
  • 2000 The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book
  • 2002 Masquerade
  • 2003 The Preacher's Son
  • 2004 Sak Pasé Presents: Creole 101 (Welcome to Haiti)

Links

  • Official Website (http://www.wyclef.com)
  • Sak Pase Records Website (http://www.sakpaserecords.net)
  • J Records Website (http://www.jrecords.com)
  • Clef Records Website (http://www.clefrecords.com)

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. However, today there can be found no statue, plaque or even sign anywhere in New York honoring Jolson, his talents, or his contributions to the Broadway stage. In 2005, Jean earned a Golden Globe for his track entitled "Million Voices" featured on the soundtrack to the film Hotel Rwanda. On the day he died, Broadway turned off its lights for 10 minutes in his honor. A freewheeling album that is something of a return to his Caribbean roots, most of the songs on the album are in his native language of Haitian Creole or Kreyòl. He died on October 23, 1950 in San Francisco and was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. In 2004, he released his fifth album, entitled Sak Pasé Presents: Welcome to Haiti (Creole 101) (released in the United States by Koch Records). A life-long devotion to entertaining American troops, servicemen and women, (he first sang for servicemen of the Spanish-American War as a boy in Washington DC) and, against the advice of his doctors, he was entertaining troops in Korea in 1950 when his heart began to fail.

His fourth album was The Preacher's Son, an album that Wyclef considered a continuation of his first album, Carnival. Jolson was billed as "The World's Greatest Entertainer", which is how many of the greatest stars (including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Jackie Wilson, etc.) referred to him. Jean's third album, Masquerade, was released in 2002 and sold well, though critics frequently panned it. His legacy is considered by many to be severely neglected today because of his use of stage blackface which, while at the time was a theatrical convention used by many performers (both white and black), but is today seen by many as a racial slur. The critical reception was mixed, with many calling the album scattershot and too far-ranging to be cohesive. Despite such singers as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Perry Como being in their primes, Jolson was voted the "Most Popular Male Vocalist" in 1948 by a Variety poll. Blige. A box office smash (it was the highest grossing film since Gone With the Wind) led to a whole new generation who became enthralled with Jolson's voice and charisma.

Jean's second solo album was The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book, recorded with guests Youssou N'Dour, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kenny Rogers, The Rock and Mary J. However, Jolson scored what many believe to be the greatest comeback in show business history when Columbia Pictures produced the film biography The Jolson Story in 1946, which starred Larry Parks as Jolson, lip-synching to Jolson's voice. The Fugees remained in limbo during this time, with the follow-up to The Score being continually postponed as all three members cultivated solo careers. After leaving the Broadway stage Jolson starred on radio, and his shows were always in the top ten of ratings. Jean went on to work with artists including Santana, Tevin Campbell, Cypress Hill, Bounty Killer, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Sublime, Simply Red, Mya, Sinéad O'Connor, Kimberly Scott, Mick Jagger, Canibus, The Black Eyed Peas and Eric Benét. "Jolie" as he was known to his friends in "The Show Business" was the first entertainer to sell one million records. The album was a major hit, as were two singles: "We Trying to Stay Alive" (adapted from The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive") and "Gone Til November" (recorded with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra). His Broadway career is unmatched for length and popularity, having spanned close to 30 years (1911-1940).

The album's guests included Hill and Pras along with Jean's siblings, the I Threes (back-up vocals for Bob Marley), Neville Brothers and Celia Cruz. He is best known, however, for his appearance in one of the first "talkies" The Jazz Singer, (the first film with sound to enjoy wide commercial success), in 1927 (See also blackface). Jean soon announced plans to begin a solo career with 1997's Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars (more typically called simply The Carnival). Jolson became a popular singer and a superstar of the Broadway stage, radio and film, becoming the first pop music star to crossover to the silver screen, a career move taken for granted among pop stars today. Their eclectic follow-up, The Score, however, sold over 17 million copies worldwide and turned the trio into international superstars. Asa Yoelson (May 26, 1886 - October 23, 1950), better known as Al Jolson, was an American immigrant son of a Russian Jew, and was born in Seredzius, Lithuania. The Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records and released their debut, Blunted on Reality, but the album was panned and sold poorly.

In 1987, Jean, his cousin Prakazrel Michel (Pras) and his classmate, Lauryn Hill, formed a group called the Tranzlator Crew before becoming The Fugees. Wyclef worked as a cabdriver. Born in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, Jean moved to Brooklyn when he was nine, then to New Jersey, where he began playing the guitar and studying jazz in high school. Wyclef Jean (born October 17, 1972) is a Haitian-born rapper, producer and former member of the superstar hip hop trio The Fugees, known now for a series of high-profile hit singles. Clef Records Website (http://www.clefrecords.com).

J Records Website (http://www.jrecords.com). Sak Pase Records Website (http://www.sakpaserecords.net). Official Website (http://www.wyclef.com). 2004 Sak Pasé Presents: Creole 101 (Welcome to Haiti).

2003 The Preacher's Son. 2002 Masquerade. 2000 The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. 1997 Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars.

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