In the past year, Haitian producer Michael Brun has gone above and beyond to give back to his community and empower other Haitian artists to express themselves via art the way he has. He landed on our list of artists who gave back to their community in 2016 and for good reason, too. We've hd the pleasure of catching up with Brun in an interview for his latest release below.
At the beginning of last year, he shared a song called "Wherever I Go" in which all proceeds went to a non-profit organization called Artists for Peace and Justice that raised money for the arts in Haiti. Following the viral success of that release, he put on a massive beach party in his home country to fund scholarships for the Artists Institute, a college for art and technology that looks to art and tech.
Brun's latest song, "Gaya" (which means "Healing"), is a collaboration with the Haitian artist collective Lakou Mizik and singer J. Perry. The release has been paired with a music video that was shot by a Haitian crew in Jalousie, Haiti. Similar to "Wherever I Go", all proceeds are going to the Artists Institute (the umbrella institution). "Gaya" is the first of three songs that spotlights Haitian culture and its music.
When listening to the song, you'll immediately notice the distinct percussion and soon be humming along to the chanting throughout the track. The video features vibrant buildings, people of all ages dancing, playing unique instruments and simply having a good time. Watch the video for "Gaya" below, in addition to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage for the music video shoot. The director was Ricardo Constant with Babas Denis as DP and Luke Versalko as the behind the scenes director.
Read our interview with Michael Brun below and enjoy!
What does Haiti mean to you?
I was born and raised there so it means home to me. It’s also where I draw a lot of inspiration from.
What has been the most inspiring part, as well as the most surprising part, of this philanthropic movement you've started?
I think the fact that so many incredible things happened out of pure spontaneity and gut instinct. The core of the Wherever I Go project was that community is the key to change, and people really connected with that. Since January last year we have had millions of plays on the song, created the Wherever I Go Beach Fest in Haiti that funded 33 scholarships for the Artists Institute, started the Haitian Heat playlist together with Spotify, and collaborated with so many amazingly talented artists. Now with Gaya, and the rest of the songs coming this year, the goal is to document the process and show everyone what the next generation of Haitian culture is made of.
What goals are you looking to achieve?
I want to create the best possible art and music by using everything I learned while being an electronic music producer, and combining that with the rich history and sounds of my home.
What is the concept and message behind “Gaya”?
Gaya means healing and the song is asking the different parts of the country to come together in order to heal and move forward. I think it’s a message that not only applies to Haiti but so many places around the world right now. Change comes through community and understanding each other. It was also really that both the song and video were produced and created in Haiti.
What was your experience like working with this group of artists on “Gaya”?
It was some of the most fun times I’ve ever had making music. I had the honor of not only working with Lakou Mizik and J. Perry who I think are some of the most innovative artists coming out of Haiti right now, but also incorporating guitar and bass from two legends in the Haitian music scene, Keke Belizaire and Dadi Beaubrun. It was a mixture of old and new and everything felt natural. It came together perfectly.
What is your mission as an artist?
To create positive change and to show that my country and its culture have value and worth.
How has music been a platform for this movement?
Music connects people in a way that I don’t think any other medium can. A great melody can get stuck in your head for years and I think that simplicity is the key to getting people to understand the same message and relate to each other. I’m so thankful for everything that was created last year and I can’t wait to continue this journey.
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