The life and legacy of Mikaben, the Haitian artist who tragically died from heart attack onstage

James Fleuriot January 02, 2023
Mikaben. Photo credit: Mikaben

Michaël Benjamin, son of the famous singer Lionel Benjamin, was born on June 27th, 1981. The last of three children, he spent his entire adolescence under the influence of music. His father, Lionel Benjamin, certainly passed on to him the 4th art of the world, one even said. At the age of 16, Michaël chose to pursue a career in music. He preferred to follow in the footsteps of his father, who recently celebrated 50 years in the music business.

As a child, I didn’t have to think about making music. It came to me automatically, thanks to my father, who influenced me a lot. In fact, of the three children in the family, I was the most curious about music, without thinking about a career. Until the age of 16, when I composed “Forever Mine”, which is on my first album. Encouraged by my family, who were very surprised at the time, followed “Ou pati” and “Nwèl tristès”. It was at that moment that I finally understood that I had the talent and that I had to continue to explore it. That’s when I started to project myself into the future. I could already see myself in 10 or 20 years as a superstar,” he confided in an interview with the newspaper Le Nouvelliste.

After twenty-two years of a successful career, the artist passed away on October 15 last year after a terrible heart attack, at the Accor Arena in Paris.

In the early 2000s, the whole generation of the time witnessed the emergence of this young musical prodigy. And still today, it is said, his works continue to animate the hearts of people: children, young people, adults, and old.

Let’s go back to 1999: the great beginnings

In 1999, he participated in a singing contest, usually organized during the Christmas period by a local television station: Télémax. Appearing on stage for the first time, the young singer-songwriter was immediately loved by his audience. With the title “Nwèl tritès”, which always reminds the fundamental values of our society, he charmed his public. He knew how to capture the attention of his audience and find his true reason for living: music. It didn’t take him long to prove to everyone that he belonged.

20 years of career: legacy

This year, the former singer of the group compas, Krezi Mizik, celebrated his 22 years of a music career. During this period, he has produced four solo projects, including three albums and an EP, not to mention his album with Krezi Mizik and his various collaborations with other artists. Among his most famous musical projects are: “Vwayaj” released in 2000, “Mika” released in 2004, “Atis lokal yo pap janm lage” released in 2010 and “MKBN” in 2018. With Krezi Mizik, Mikaben has only produced the album entitled “Ayiti san manti” released in 2006.

Among all the works of the artist, here are some of the best hits that crowned the success of his career.

– Nwèl tristès

Although he has had great moments throughout his career, his real starting point was with his first album entitled “Vwayaj” in the 2000s. But the artist became known to the general public thanks to his Christmas hit entitled “Nwèl tristès” released in 1999 with his sister Mélodie. More than 20 years later, this song can be considered a classic since it keeps its freshness today.

– Ou pati

Ou pati“, is also a hit that appeared on his first solo album. This song remains one of Mikaben’s most popular songs. It is also the real hit of this album, especially, the one that propelled his solo career.

– Loving my life

Loving my life” is a production of the beatmaker Power Surge released in 2008. Once again, this song confirmed Mikaben’s versatility as a leading artist. Sung entirely in English, this song proved to the general public that Mika could perform in almost any musical genre. It was one of the reasons he left the musical group Krezi Mizik in 2009 to continue exploring other musical styles.

I will continue to write songs. Besides, “Fè lapli” is that I can still offer good work to the public. In a few days, this song became popular everywhere. This year, I celebrate my 20 years of career and 40 years of existence, and I intend to release many personal projects, but also produce new artists via my label “Kon’Beat” that I created in 2010, ” he explained in the newspaper.

– N’ap kite l pou yo

Mikaben abandons Krezi Mizik in 2009, and offers to the general public a new hit with rap tendencies entitled “N’ap kite l pou yo“. The latter has fueled much debate in the Haitian music community. Some even believed that through this song, Mikaben wanted to say that he had left the compas to devote himself to rap.

If we were to list all of Mikaben’s successes and contribution to music, we would not finish. Over the course of his career, he has written more than 150 musical hits, both for his projects and for other artists. Mikaben has also collaborated with several Haitian artists and musical groups. The artist’s imprint can be found throughout many of the works of the most popular musical groups and artists in the Haitian music industry.

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: January 1, 2023


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