Soundtrack Of My Life: Wyclef Jean

Rapper, former Fugee

The first song I remember hearing

Pink Floyd – ‘Wish You Were Here’

“As a young guitar player I loved the fact that that was one of the earliest guitar tutorials that I got – I learned to play by ear first. I’m an audio guy so sonically when I was doing ‘Ready Or Not’ I was trying to copy the frequencies of ‘Wish You Were Here’ – the way the guitar starts off on one side almost like it’s coming from a walkie-talkie.”

The first song I fell in love with

Bob Marley – ‘I Don’t Want to Wait in Vain’

“The girl I was kicking it with kept playing it. I was like: ‘Oh this the man right here, Bob Marley, going to get me some teenage nookie.’”

The first album I bought

Bob Marley – ‘Exodus’

“There was a little vinyl store in Brooklyn, just the idea of vinyl shopping the first time was really cool. The experience too of actually going with her and saying: ‘Oh, here’s the record!’ – that was cool.”

The first gig I went to

Kool & The Gang

“I was probably 17, 18, and it was at the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in New Jersey. I was really obsessed by that band at that time. I went with my cousins – we were excited, you’re going to the amusement park and in the process Kool & The Gang’s performing. You can’t beat that.”

The song that made me want to make music

Miles Davis – ‘Bitches Brew’

“I think I was like 16 years old, and I listened to this piece of art. Discovering jazz at 16 just made me know that I wanted to do music. The capacity of what I wanted to do yet I didn’t know, but I just knew this was really cool, I wanted to do music like this. Music that moves.”

The song I do at karaoke

The Police – ‘Roxanne’

“That’s one of my favourite bands of all time. I think I should have been a member of The Police, but I wasn’t born. I would have been the drummer for sure. I love singing that high “Rooox-anne” part.”

The song I can’t get out of my head right now

Kendrick Lamar – ‘Humble’

“I’m a hip-hop junkie and I just love cadence – the way he comes in with the cadence, I find that remarkable, kind of incredible.”

The song that reminds me of home

Otis Redding – ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay’

“I just remember being in my room, digging through the crates and for me that was like ‘Gone till November’, it was just one of those records that took you to another place.

The song that changed my life

Bob Marley – ‘Redemption Song’

“Just listening to the lyrics, it makes you understand that there’s more to life than the state of vanity, and what’s bigger than the state of vanity is the space of spirituality. If you can be comfortable in that space everything will balance itself out.”

The song I want played at my funeral

Jimmy Cliff – ‘Many Rivers To Cross’

I just love that song. And I love the movie The Harder They Come. That soundtrack is one of the best soundtracks to life.” 

The song I wish I’d written

Coldplay – ‘Viva la Vida’

The most insane… I just studied that song from beginning to end. You heard my song ‘Borrowed Time’? You hear the lyrics, the pattern, the way I’m talking about like “last call for alcohol, Cinderella’s ball” – the whole writing is just a form of abstract. I would say listening to that Coldplay joint over and over again, it made me push my pen further.”

The Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee is out now