8 min read
Wyclef Jean likes to feel comfortable. This much is evident from the shag pillows piled atop the white sofa in his New Jersey home, where he’s hanging out for our Zoom chat on a recent Thursday afternoon. In a custom Soíremaín hoodie, he lounges deeper into said sofa throughout our conversation, occasionally springing forward mid-thought for emphasis.
Jean’s penchant for getting comfy and talking things through isn’t news to fans who’ve been listening to or watching the former Fugee’s pandemic-era podcast Run That Back, which will be dropping new episodes through the end of October. The show features the multi-platinum solo artist and producer’s musings on life and art, plus virtual conversations and low-key peformance sidebars with everyone from Clive Davis to Lena Waithe. It’s essentially the world’s most chill variety series.
Run That Back, like similar celebrity livestreams since lockdown, was borne of creative restlesness and entreprenurial necessity (see: a weekly segment sponsored by Bacardi). And it’s just one element of Jean’s current projects outside his recording career, which saw its latest installment in last year’s Wyclef Goes Back to School Vol. 1. He’s also venturing into the cannabiz. That’s in addition to investing in and advising for his business partner Madeline Nelson’s women-driven label/management firm, Heads Music.
Over the course of a spirited half-hour back-and-forth, Jean elaborated on a number of topics, including why female-driven projects function better and what he’s learned from Run That Back about compassion and creativity.
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At what point did the light bulb go off that you could stay engaged with fans while in lockdown?
When this happened, I was in the middle of scoring my Netflix movie and in the process of building my app [Sodo