Wyclef Jean — American musician and producer from Haiti
Nel Ust Wyclef Jean was born on 17 October 1969 in Haiti. In 1982, his family moved to the USA.
In the 1980’s, Wyclef and his friends created a band called Tranzlator Crew, which couldn’t become successful for many years. In 1993, the group finally signed a contract with Columbia Records and Ruffhouse Records. They changed the name to Fugees, which is a reference to their refugee status.
In 1994, the band released its first LP, Blunted on Reality, which made it into Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and settled on the 62nd position. The album was also popular in the UK.
The second LP, The Score, was presented in February 1996. The album turned out to be much more successful than its predecessor. It topped Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. The album brought the band international recognition. The LP featured the band’s version of the hit song "Killing Me Softly". Later, it brought Fugees a Grammy Award. The music video for the song brought the group a prize at MTV Video Music Award in the "Best R&B Video" category. The same year, the album was certified platinum by RIAA.
At the end of 1997, Wyclef decided to start a solo career and released his first LP with a long name, Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars. The debut was very successful. The album reached the 16th spot on Billboard 200 and the 4th position on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
In 1999, Jean showed his talent as a producer. He worked on the 17th album of the band Santana called Supernatural. The LP earned 15 platinum certifications and 8 Grammy Awards, including "Album of the Year".
Jean’s second solo LP, The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book, came out in July 2000. It debuted on the 9th position of Billboard 200 and the 3rd spot on Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The album featured a hit single “911”, which brought Wyclef a Grammy nomination for "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals".
In 2002, the artist recorded another LP, Masquerade. The album made it to the sixth spot of Billboard 200, giving him the best result on this chart to date. He was so popular that it was practically impossible to book Wyclef Jean for any private event.
In 2003, Jean presented his 4th album, The Preacher's Son. The popularity of Jean’s solo work seemed to be waning slightly. But his albums were still making it into the charts. The LP, which he released a year later, Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101, didn’t appear in the charts at all. Most likely, because the lyrics were Haitian.
In 2006, Wyclef helped Shakira recorded a song “Hips Don’t Lie”, which became a huge hit in 55 countries and earned a variety of awards. Shakira and Wyclef were nominated for a Grammy as "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals".
In 2007, Jean, Jerry Duplessis, and Andrea Guerra recorded "Million Voices" for the movie Hotel Rwanda. It brought the authors a Grammy nomination.
In 2007 and 2009, Wyclef released Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant and From the Hut, To the Projects, To the Mansion accordingly. However, neither album was commercially successful.
In September 2017, after a long break, Jean presented his 8th studio album, Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee.
Even though his career is over 20 years old, Wyclef is actively writing new music and performing live.