Famously known for rich folklore traditions and the first nation in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery, the Republic of Haiti is a Caribbean country filled with marvels.
It’s also known for producing stunning musicians. Many renowned Haitian artists have been in the music scene since the 1990s. They’ve made their presence felt in pop, R&B, and hip-hop, among other genres.
To honor those singers, we’ve created this. Thus read on to discover the 10 of the greatest and most famous Haitian singers making headlines with their vast achievements to date.
1. Wyclef Jean
It is only fitting to start this list with Nel Ust Wyclef Jean, a famous Haitian singer, songwriter, actor, and rapper living in the United States.
Although born in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, Jean migrated to the US at nine years old with his family. He first achieved stardom by playing with the known hip-hop group the Fugees together with Pras Michel and Lauryn Hills.
The year 1997 saw Jean breaking from the group and starting a solo career. “Gone Till November” became one of his hit songs from his first studio album, Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival, released in 1997.
Jean is has collaborated with other singers, like Shakira in “Hips Don’t Lie,” and went on to become a Grammy award winner. He continues to make musical waves and represent Haiti the best way he can.
Probably known for her two-toned braids and impeccable vocals, the fantastic TeaMarrr can quickly spellbind the audience.
Born in Boston and living in Los Angeles, this Haitian American songstress emerged in 2017 to shake the musical industry. Known for her sultry voice and impeccable fashion sense, there is no doubt that TeaMarrr is representing her heritage well.
Her single, “One Job,” amassed over two million views on YouTube, particularly after featuring in the HBO TV series Insecure. She has also collaborated with other notable musicians, such as Inglewood’s talented artist D Smoke on “Kinda Love.”
TeaMarrr may have only a few musical achievements (having only one major studio album, Before I Spill Myself, released in 2020), but she is making a name for herself in the industry.
3. J. Perry
Jonathan Perry, known simply as J. Perry, is a musician, composer, and songwriter from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His interest in music started at the young age of six and has since grown.
Perry began making a name for himself in the Haitian music industry after releasing his first studio album, One Life to Live, in 2011, which bore his famous single, “Dekole.”
After getting much recognition soon after its release, Perry’s “Dekole” was hit song of the year for the inspiration it brought to his people of Haiti. It was even used as the theme song for the annual Haitian Carnival.
4. Emeline Michel
Known as the Joni Mitchel of Haiti and Queen of Haitian Song, we have up next Emeline Michel, singer-songwriter of azz, pop, samba, and bossa nova rhythm.
Michel was born in Gonaives, Haiti, and has strived to make music that feeds the soul. Her sound is a combination of native Haitian compass and rara music, making them unique from other artists.
Some of her popular hits are “Timoun,” “Pran men m,” and “Gen Jou Konsa.” The singer has also covered Jimmy Cliff’S “Many Rivers to Cross” at the Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake relief.
Michel is often a voice of reason for her people in Haiti and has continued making a name for herself as a versatile vocalist, songwriter, producer, and dancer.
Michael Benjamin, known best as Mikaben, was a Haitian musician, lyricist, and composer. Mikaben was also the son of the famous Haitian musician Lionel Benjamin.
He rose to fame after participating in a Christmas competition in 1999 known as Konkou Chante Nwel, which is hosted annually every December. He won first place, allowing him to focus on his music.
Before he died on October 15, 2022, from a cardiac arrest, Mikaben was popularly known for his songs that focused on Caribbean genres such as soca, reggae, konpa, and twoubadou. His best known song, “Marry Me,” has amassed over a million views on YouTube.
6. Beethova Obas
Born in Haiti in 1964, Beethova Obas is a self-taught singer and instrumentalist. He learned to play the guitar and accordion and brings his instrumentalist skills to his songs.
Obas first single, “Nwel Anme,” was a famous song written and composed by Haitian folk singer-songwriter Manno Charlemagne. The song earned him a Best Young Singer award in 1988.
To date, Obas has released 10 studio albums, with the latest being Zanmi Nou in 2020. That year, he also released a compilation album titled The Very Best of Beethova Obas.
7. Mélissa Laveaux
Born in 1985, Mélissa Laveaux is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist of Haitian descent. Currently based in Paris, she has been in the music scene since 2008.
With her soulful singing and competence in playing the guitar, Melissa brings out the elements of blues, folk, and roots in her music. Her talent can be enjoyed by listening to some of her notable albums: Dying Is Wild Night, released in 2013, and Radyo Siwel, in 2018, which was listed for the Polaris Music prize.
Laveaux continues to make her Haitian heritage proud to this day, touring and creating music with a blend of roots, blues, and folk.
Prakazrel Samuel Michel, best known as Pras, is a Haitian actor, rapper, producer, and songwriter. Like Wyclef Jean, he was with the Fugees, and with them, he rose to fame.
And like Jean, Pras also ventured into a solo career, furthering his success and popularly. He earned himself Grammy nominations and a World Music Award for his first hit song in 1999, “Ghetto Supastar (That is What You Are),” featuring Mya and OI’ Dirty Bastard.
Over the years, Pras also collaborated with other artists and featured in their songs, like Swedish singer DeDe’s “Turn You On.” Music aside, Pras has dabbled in filmmaking and acting, appearing in several films, including Higher ED, Go for Broke, and The Mutant Chronicles.
9. Saskya Sky
The year 1990 in Haiti saw the birth of Saska Sky. In 2003, she and her family migrated to the United States. After this, she used music as a way to improve her English.
Her passion grew from listening to music to singing, taking influence from America’s greatest singers like Celine Dion and Michael Jackson. Soon Sky was releasing her own single.
“Touch Me,” is her most well-known and accorded her the first place on Black Planet’s One Minute Shine Contest in 2010. Other songs she’s notable for are “Hideaway” and “Everything about you.”
10. Misty Jean
Lastly, we have another brilliant songstress by the name of Misty Jean, who is, incidentally, the former Miss West Indies.
From modeling and fashion, she soon went into music. Jean’s career kicked off when she released her album Plus Pres De Toi in 2004. It contained her hit songs “Maladie D’ amour,” “Patizan,” and “Ce Ou Mwen Vle.”
With a fusion of reggae fusion, soul, and R&B, Jean continues to sing but has not released any albums since 2016 after Just Like That. Other than English, Jean also sings in Creole and French.
Summing Up Our List Of Haitian Singers
Music has come a long way over the decades by providing a fantastic platform for amazing musicians living in Haiti and other parts of the world.
In Haiti, music is continuously growing and expanding beyond its borders through singers of its land’s heritage. Blending with music from other countries, they’ve created a unique sound like no other.
So if you are a music lover and would love to listen to incredible Haitian singers, consider listening to these famous singers and enjoy their music.