NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – “Get me while I’m eating my oatmeal, so you can see what makes me strong…” Wyclef Jean was talking to the photographer.
I asked him why he was eating oatmeal at 4pm and he said ‘cause it makes you strong!’
He suggested oatmeal and raw egg in the morning to keep your strength up.
“But that’s only when I came to America though. There was no oatmeal in Haiti. I came to America when I was like 10-years-old… at the BET awards, I said on the speech that you go from the hut, to the projects, to the mansion so you got no excuses…”
Meet Wyclef Nelusef Jean, 37. He is not shy to talk about puff-piff, and does not believe in death.
He was born in Haiti in a small village called Lesir, Port-au-Prince. The son of a Nazarene pastor, Wyclef told Capital Lifestyle that he was born out of poverty.
“We were so poor that sometimes I had to eat dirt. Like red dirt.” Sounds outrageous but as we went on that was the only thing I disagreed with.
Wyclef believes in being real. He speaks of the ‘hut’ (see above), as being who you are. The balance of who a person is.
“Like I was saying, I never did music for money. That was never my intention, and I never was trying to be rich… Even the first Fugee album is called Blunted on Reality, it wasn’t the commercial album… we was addressing the issues of the world. This is what I wanted to do.”
Wyclef produced all the music, but no one really knew until much later because he ‘always wanted to be the guy that could bring music as a way of survival to the people’. His intention was not the attention.
It started in church. Wyclef was a PK (Preacher’s Kid). And at a young age he would sing songs in church for his dad every Sunday. One day there were no more hymns; Wyclef had gone through all of them. His dad told him; “you make up a song because all these people are depending on you.”
“That’s how I started producing music. The performance side I learnt in church, every Sunday.”
Wyclef confessed to trying to rob to a grocery store in his teens and said he learnt his lesson when his mother gave him a whooping from the store all the way to the house. He says experiences like that are what altered his life.
“For me, coming from the negative it makes me a positive… when I went to the grocery store I had to get what I had to. But when the man was like he was going to call my mother, I told him to call the police! I wanted the police to get me before my mother did… West Indian women, there is no law; she is the law!” he narrated, chuckling.
We asked him which five people he’d have his last supper with, and he said he can’t say because he doesn’t even believe in death. He calls it ‘a transformation of life’. From the cell, to the womb, to the earth, and the transformation continues…
“When you cross the road (die) what will be revealed to you, will be what you had not known, and will have more explanation than someone giving you a false explanation of why we live and why we die.”
He winds up by saying that ‘A Million Voices’, the song he did for the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ is one the songs he has done that he is most proud of.