Wyclef is a hugely influential Haitian American musician, record producer, and politician, who came to fame as part of the hip-hop trio The Fugees. He went on to have a successful solo career and has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry.
Wyclef Jean was born in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, the son of a Nazarene pastor, at age nine Wyclef moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, before moving again to northern New Jersey.
Wyclef’s musical breakthrough was as part of The Refugee Camp (The Fugees), a three-member group that included Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel “Pras” MichelThe Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records, which released the group’s debut album, Blunted on Reality. It sold fairly well, peaking at #49 on the U.S. Hot 100 and selling over 2 million copies worldwide. The follow-up album – The Score – sold over 18 million copies worldwide, eventually becoming a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning album.
Wyclef announced plans to begin a solo career with 1997’s Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars (generally called The Carnival). The album’s guests included Lauryn Hill and Pras along with Wyclef’s siblings’ group Melky Sedeck; the I Threes (back-up vocals for Bob Marley); The Neville Brothers and Celia Cruz. The album was a hit.
In 2005, Wyclef established the Yéle Haiti Foundation. In its first year of operation, the foundation, with funding by Comcel, provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaïves, Haiti, after the devastation by Hurricane Jeanne. In its second year of operation, the foundation aimed to provide 6,800 scholarships to children in Port-au-Prince, Gonaïves, Les Cayes, Port-de-Paix, and Cap-Haïtien.
Wyclef described Yéle as a non-political organization intended to empower the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to rebuild their nation, saying, “The objective of Yéle Haiti is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and strength that is part of our heritage”.
After the earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti, Wyclef called on others to donate to his foundation’s Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund, imploring “We must act now.”
Wyclef is particarly suited to a variety of music, entertainment and endorsement appearences.