Haitian-born, U.S.-based music superstar and FaceList Award awardee Wyclef Jean has announced the forthcoming release of his 7th studio album, entitled “The Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee.”
The album will be the singer’s first full-length album in eight years, and according to the Rolling Stone, the 12-song album is set for release on September 15th via Legacy Recordings, which will coincide with the 20th anniversary of his debut album, “The Carnival.”
Ahead of the official album release, Jean dropped a single, entitled “Fela Kuti,” in memory of the legendary Afrobeat creator.
On why he chose to name the song after Kuti, the former Fugees member said he believes he shares many similarities with the influential Nigerian singer who died 20 years ago.
“I decided to name it Fela Kuti because for me, I feel like we are thinking of Bob Marley, we give a lot of people from our past props, so when the kids hear Fela Kuti, I really want them to Google it,” Jean said.
“Fela Kuti studied jazz in England. Wyclef studied jazz at Vailsburg High School. Fela Kuti then went back to his country and tried to help his country by running for president. Wyclef, you know, did the same thing.
“Then, Fela — through all his obstacles and all that — his music is what pillared him right back to the top. He understood that the strongest way to help politically was to make sure the music was banging.
“So for me, the same way kids can have songs called ‘Wyclef Jean’ that are influenced by me, I want kids to know who Fela is and what he means.”
Fela Kuti’s Legacy
The legendary Kuti was a singer, political activist, and multi-instrumentalist. He is credited with creating Afrobeat, a genre of music that combines jazz, highlife, funk, and traditional West African chants and rhythms.
His music and lifestyle has influenced a whole new generation of music stars, including his son and heir Femi Kuti, Jay-Z, K’naan, Beyoncé, and Wizkid.
Speaking about his forthcoming album, Jean says it will be a fusion of different genres of music.
“My Carnival albums have always been about celebrating music culture from all parts of the world and Carnival III is no different.
“It’s outside the box. There’s genre-bending. There’s new talent on there. Carnival III is more than just an album. It’s a celebration of what I love about music: discovery, diversity, and artistry for art’s sake….
“It’s about putting music together that will outlive me and live on for generations to come that is full of emotion, vibration, and fun. Get ready.”
The 12-song “Carnival III” album will feature contributions from artists, such as Emeli Sandé, Lunch Money Lewis, and Supah Mario who produced the track “Fela Kuti.”