For more than 20 years, Emeline Michel, the Queen of Creole music has shared her gift with audiences across Europe and the Americas. Michel is internationally acclaimed for fusing pop, jazz, blues, and traditional Haitian rhythms to create deeply moving and joyful music, delivered with a charismatic live show. Hailed by the New York Times as a “diplomat of music” and “the dancing ambassador with a voice serene and warm like the breeze,” Her appearances include New York’s Carnegie Hall, The United Nations, Ontario’s Lumina to Festival, Montreal International Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Tasmania’s Ten Days On The Island, Zimbabwe’s Harare International Arts Festival, and on MTV’s Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief fundraiser.
As a storyteller, what inspires you to tell stories?
I am an observer and a good listener. I love to memorize expressions, smell colors, and taste which help me capture every detail of a story. Whether I am in solitude, in transit or witnessing a couple in love, I absorb all the details and let the story take its course. Sometimes it comes as an emergency, other times it takes days or months.
Haiti and the world call you “The Queen of Creole Music” Thank you for singing about Haiti’s beauty and pain with honor and respect- Can you share with us a defining moment in your career?
Music has healing power. I have transcended adversity and regained my strength with music. I have used music to share stories, to encourage and uplift.
Many artists often struggle to find their voice/authenticity- When did you find yours and what was that moment like?
I was fortunate enough at 12 years old to understand that “ we are zillion of voices and faces on this planet making music. But we ARE different from each other ”I first started with interpretation from Martha Jean Claude, Ginette Renaud, to Sarah Vaughan. Although I adored these powerful female figures and vocalists, I came to realize that I cannot be them, because they were already doing and contributing what they were born to do. I had to be Someone entirely different ” ME” It was and STILL remain today the best discovery and remedy for insecurity…very liberating!
Motherhood and career- many women struggle to find a balance, what is that experience like for you?
It is a continuous balancing act. I had to be creative (laughs) and keep readjusting. My son Julian always come first-we travel and spend quality time and I manage to not miss parents-teacher conferences. It will be hard for me to be considered a good singer and a terrible mother.
Any advice for upcoming women artists who strive for a successful career and longevity in music?
Be yourself, keep learning and perfecting your craft … and know from the start you did not sign up for an easy ride
“Do not be afraid of change and don’t be afraid to change”