Today we’re excited to have Haitian producer Michael Brun back on the site with the premiere of his latest single, “Easy On My Love” featuring Janelle Kroll. Brun has continuously impressed us here at TSIS, both with energetic, Hatian-inspired tracks and with his philanthropic work. In addition to being featured on our “8 Artists Who Gave Back To Their Community” roundup for 2016, all of the proceeds from his single “Gaya” went to the Artists Institute, a non-profit that gives back to Haiti’s youth.
“Easy On My Love” is yet another example of the lighthearted signature sound we’ve come to love from Brun. The fluttering percussion, dreamy synth melodies and overall Caribbean-influenced vibe of the song flow seamlessly beneath Kroll’s carefree tone, making for a smooth release that will no doubt have you moving. Check it out below and enjoy!
Michael Brun - Easy On My Love Feat. Janelle Kroll
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!
Michael Brun X Lakou Mizik - Gaya (ft. J. Perry) | Purchase
"Gaya" Behind The Scenes
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.
'Tis the season to celebrate, and give back to those around you. While it's been exciting watching so many of the artists we love blossom over the years, it's been even more exciting see these artists use the platforms for a greater good. From starting a non-profit, to raising money to build schools and much more, these artists have all truly given back.
There's a lot of artists that have given back over the years, but we wanted to highlight 8 of the artists we noticed gave back in very big ways in 2016.
Chance The Rapper
Chance The Rapper has always given back to his community. This past winter he lead the Warmest Winter initiative which raised over $100k to distribute coats to the homeless in Chicago. A couple years ago he was named Chicago's Outstanding Youth Award. This year he set the stage for his charitable efforts to continue for years to come by launching a Nonprofit organization "Social Works". Not only does Chance give out all his music for free, but he hosted a free concert called "parade to the polls" in which he led a small army of concertgoers to the voting booths in Chicago. Additionally, when Chance noticed there were many overpriced scalper tickets for sale to his Magnificent Coloring Day Festival, he took matters into his own hands. Chance bought back over 2,000 scalper tickets and resold them to fans at face value.
For the past two years, Detroit producer GRiZ and his record label All Good Records have been running an incredible, annual campaign called 12 Days of Grizmas that gives back to his hometown. From delivering food to the homeless, to donating clothes, to hosting a major hometown show, GRiZ makes sure that his city feels the love. This year, he has once again partnered up with Little Kids Rock which is an amazing organization aimed at ensuring music programs are available for the youth in America. Over the course of the 12 days, he delivered food to the homeless, visited dog shelters, donated coats and raised over $30k.
Live electronic group Big Gigantic started doing events called A Big Gigantic Difference (ABGD) a few years back in hopes of creating positive change for others. Now they've taken the next step by officially starting a nonprofit called A Big Gigantic Difference Foundation as a place to raise & distribute funds to charitable organizations for years to come. They've packed toys, collected clothes and food, raised money for education and done many other deeds to help better the community. Alongside the release of their newalbum, Dom and Jeremy decided to donate a percentage of every ticket sold on their Brighter Future Tour to a local charity and will continue to do so on every show the band plays from here on out. They're even hosting their first ever 'Brighter Future Holiday' DJ set for Charity in Denver encouraging their fans to give back. Big Gigantic has already raised over $50k since starting their foundation this year.
Las Vegas DJ/producer 3LAU has been on a mission to give back since day one of his music career. Several years ago, he teamed up with Pencils Of Promise which is a non-profit organization that funds school construction in developing countries. By April 2016, 3LAU had raised nearly $100k through donations, ticket sales, etc. He took his commitment to the next level by launching Blume which is described as the "first not-for-profit dance music label and philanthropic movement." Since the label's launch (April 2016), he has raised an additional $100k for Pencils Of Promise.
Kendrick Lamar takes great pride in his hometown and is always giving back to the community that raised him. He's continued these efforts by making donations to after school programs for high schoolers in Compton. His efforts lead Compton's mayor to present Kendrick with the key to the city early this year and did so much last year that the California State Senate honored him with the 35th Senate District’s Generational Icon Award. When Kendrick was nominated for 11 GRAMMYs this past year, he brought a group of Compton high schoolers with him to the iconic event instead of packing his guestlist full of industry friends. Additionally he utilized the platform to deliver a powerful message on racism and mass incarceration during his GRAMMY performance. Kendrick's tendency to be a role model even caught President Obama's attention. He was asked to meet with Obama to help with his "Brothers Keeper" mentor program that helps make a difference in young people's lives.
Earlier this year, deadmau5 partnered up with Urban Fitness 911, a non-profit aimed to "address the disparity of health, fitness, and academic skills among teenagers in low income communities." In May, CrowdRise teamed up with them to put together a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for deadmau5 fans. Anyone who donated or fundraised for Urban Fitness 911 were entered into a major giveaway in which a few lucky fans would receive a VIP trip to Firefly Music Festival. Last month, deadmau5 purchased a shopping cart full of toys for a town's 17th annual Toys for Tots Holiday Campaign.
A few years ago, Bassnectar launched the Dollar Per Bass Head project in which $1 from every ticket sale of his is donated to organizations that are "doing great things in the world in support of health, libery, compassion, and equality." In 2014 he raised over $75k to charities including Headcount, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Khan Academy, Center for Rights. He hasn't published results for the past couple years, but he's been touring as strong as ever. Fans also get to decide how the funds are distributed via a simple voting system. The organization with the most support receives $25k. Bassnectar's fan base is one of the loyal fan bases in music and year after year, they're doing good together.
East of the Dominican Republic is a small country called Haiti, a place Michael Brun is proud to call home. At the tip of 2016, Brun released a single called "Wherever I Go", in which all proceeds go to non-profit Artists for Peace and Justice to raise money for the arts in Haiti. The song's purpose and message resonated with hundreds of thousands of people on social media. In light of the track's success, Brun took his commitment a step further by planning a 'Wherever I Go' beach party to fund scholarships for the Audio Institute's 2017 class in Jacmel, Haiti.
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