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Wyclef speaks: Musician booked for Island Music Conference, drops business gems for youth


RENOWNED Haitian singer Wyclef Jean is anticipating his presentation at the annual Island Music Conference in Kingston come February 23, 2024.



Jean will be addressing the importance of music licensing for musicians.

"I agreed to be part of the conference because I really care about the youth. I can identify to them because I was the first millionaire in my family at barely 20 years old, and I understand the psyche of when you're getting a lot of money. So, sometimes, you don't like to hear anybody because you're getting money. But, I'm 54, and I'm still getting a lot of money, but this money that I'm getting is licensing money, and it's all based on the work that I created. So I can [now] literally chill at home with my daughter," he told the Jamaica Observer during an interview on Saturday.

The artiste harked back to some sound advice he was given years ago.

"Someone was telling me, 'You gotta make sure you own these songs, own the publishing.' This is the kind of information I wanna pass over to the youth," he shared.


The second staging of the Island Music Conference will run from February 21-25, 2024.


The initiative was founded by Grammy Award-winning singer Shaggy, along with entertainment industry professionals Sharon Burke and Judith Bodley.


Meanwhile, Jean noted that, on many occasions, entertainers are short-changed where earnings from their talents are concerned because of ignorance. He hopes to shift that reality after his presentation.


"We, as artistes, are creative people... So, the average entertainer is not that business savvy. Now we're starting to be more business savvy, so our job is to make sure the youth get the information because it's all about getting money. When you're young, you're not thinking about that. I think that we think more about the creative side [of music] and we need to start thinking more about the business side," he said.

The three-time Grammy-winning Jean is a former member of hip hop group The Fugees, alongside Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel.


The entertainer, who has visited the island on many occasions, says Jamaica is the gift that keeps on giving.


"My favourite thing about Jamaica is the culture. You go very few places in the world where you feel culture. In Jamaica, you feel the culture all over; you feel it, smell it, you taste it - and you're inside of the culture," he told the Observer.


The singer also extended a word of encouragement to the up-and-coming Jamaican acts.


"The first advice that I would give is: I got a chance to be in the studio with Michael Jackson, and I think he's one of the most famous artistes in the entire universe. What I got out of Michael Jackson was the humility of simplicity. We always have to maintain being humble, even though we know we're the best. Things aren't gonna always go the way that we want, [but] make sure you have more friends than enemies in the industry 'cause what goes up can come down, and when it comes down you want people to be there for you," he said.

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