MONTCLAIR, NJ - International recording artist Wyclef Jean stopped through Montclair at the Historic Wellmont Theatre on Thursday where he'll be performing on November 3 at 8pm.
His new album Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee, is his first album in 8 years and is being released on the 20th anniversary of his debut album "The Carnival" (1997).
At nine-years-old, Jean emigrated to the United States with his family and settled there and first achieved fame as a member of the New Jersey-based hip hop group the Fugees. Jean went on to win three Grammy Awards for his musical works.
During the press conference held, Jean shared insight on music, politics and legacy.
Arriving in a very laid back manner, Jean was wearing jeans and a jacket dotted with a floral design reminiscent of the show" Laugh In," he walked over to each person before being seated.
"Its important for me to stop what I'm doing to come to talk to the press, New Jersey is very important. I still believe in the physicality of human beings," he said.
"It's imperative for me where the passion comes because I understand what it's like to struggle and what it's like coming up," Jean continued.
"So this concert, for me, is an obligation. I remember being younger and the reason I felt I can be on television is because I saw Queen Latifah on TV, I saw Naughty by Nature. So this concert is gonna touch the people. We gonna rap, we gonna love and have a good times."
In releasing his latest, Wyclef made mention of how the young can inspire older artists crossing generations through teaching, sharing, learning and exchanging and they in turn, inspire by working and connecting.
Carnival III includes contributions from Lunch Money Lewis, Emeli Sandé, The Knocks, and Supah Mario.
"I keep reinventing myself over and over again but its all through the kids," Jean added. "You can't reinvent yourself. It's the kids that basically re-invent you."
With the attention that Carnival III is drawing, Jean is concentrating a lot of his promotion towards focusing on college and high school students, making sure that affordable tickets are made available at all his upcoming concerts.
Reflecting back to his college days, Jean added, "I want to make sure that the kids in Jersey get the same experience to see the same show as in Europe. Coming from New Jersey, I hope that that the kids get inspired."
Jean also made mention of his involvement with VH1 "Save the Music Program this year, honoring fellow Jerseyan Queen Latifah (Dana Owens).
Jean recently was honored by the New Jersey Hall of Fame and he is now a member. He stated that he tells kids that the key to succeeding in school in music or anything, is to find the kids interest.
"Its Important that teachers are not institutionalized to one method of teaching anymore. When it comes to music, engage kids where they want to have a good time. We want the kids to spit bars, but to also pick up the drums add a saxophone."
Jean spoke of a teacher who influenced him. "I speak of Valerie Price because she was a teacher who cared about me and it looked like she did it more than just for a check. She wanted me to actually learn something."
Jean also took the opportunity to share that he worked with NASA and Apple Music in incorporating sounds sent back from a shuttle traveling to Jupiter using current technology.
In closing, Jean reflected back 20 years ago and stated that many of those 12 year olds that listened to 'The Carnival' are now the ones making the moves and music.
"I just wanted dope music."
To follow Wyclef Jean, go to Wyclef.com
For tickets, visit https://www.livenation.com/events/711540-nov-3-2017-wyclef-jean