Jean-Michel Daudier

Dateline: 12/04/98

Jean-Michel Daudier is a Haitian singer/songwriter, who performs in French, English, Spanish and Creole. He currently has two CDs available in the Haitian market, and is looking to expand is audience to the rest of the world.

Now residing in Florida, where he performs every weekend in a French restaurant, Daudier has also played in Montreal, and his work reviewed by the New York Times. Below, Daudier talks about who he is, what kind of music he creates, and where his goals lie.
I came to stay in USA in August of 1987, but I used to come here to play in concert and see my mother and other menbers of my family. I was the only one to stay in Haiti; I had my two sisters and my brother who were in New York at that time, I chose to stay in Haiti because I thought there would be a change after the Duvalier's left the country.

From 1986 to 1987 people could go out at night. I remember I used to play one weekend when the army who controled the streets asked every car with pasengers to step down, and looked for weapons. I was not safe because everyone recognized me, and it was my mother who aske me to travel and applied for my green card because she was ready to retire and return back to Haiti. It took me six months to get it, by which time things were getting very bad. The only way I would be able to stay was to get involved in politics and I don't like politics. If I know my song will put me in that position I will never sing it, but it was my destiny. Thank God nothing ever happened. I used to make friends everywhere with my guitar, even those who worked for the government.

The fact I was born in Haiti made it difficult to never sing about change in our society, that is why in most of my songs I try to pass a message. Since I'm not there any more I can only get the news; I can't see what's going on. Sometimes it's better when you can see and touch, that's what makes you more creative.

After ten years in the US, I went back to Haiti in 1991, to the palace for the Aristide inauguration and sang one more time front of thousands of people. I went to stay for a couple days -- I didn't like the smell, so I returned to New York after three days. Also my life changed a lot but I still think about Haiti in my music, even though I also sing about love. I never knew before if I had a love life; it's only now I recognize it.

I don't know if you can put a title to me, but the only thing I know is that I have a really open mind with my music; I sing about everything now in different styles, and I sing in four languages.

They play my music every day in Haiti. I opened a door for the new generation. It is impossible to hear your music on a radio if you don't have a name in the society. I don't produce for the Haitien market anymore because they are not organized, but people still buy my last CD in record stores every where they have Haitien. There are other big markets -- the Carribbean market, the French market, and the African market -- all you need is a distributor.

Now I'm working on new product where I'm going to sing in French, Spanish, English and Creole. All I need is a major label to produce my music.

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