Rockstar Health & Fitness: Wyclef Jean
My favorite memories of working with Wyclef Jean involve numerous occasions of him stopping by my office for a visit that began as a business meeting and then became a dance party. At the time, he had just released his solo album, The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. It included some of my favorite songs: “Perfect Gentleman,” “The Red Light District,” and “911” (with Mary J Blige). In those days, I shared a large office with my good friend Andrea Kline at the Sony Music headquarters at 550 Madison Avenue in NYC. Wyclef Jean would stop by looking for updates on how his songs were doing on the radio, and before you knew it, he would be putting on a private concert for us. If you have ever seen Clef perform, you would understand why he would immediately have us on our feet dancing and singing.
Wyclef’s life has been an interesting journey. He was born in Haiti and moved to Brooklyn at the age of nine. When living in the projects, his mom noticed his talent for music, and at a young age bought him a guitar. She wanted to encourage him to follow his passion and stay out of trouble. Boy did that pay off!! Funny side note: the first song he learned to play was Steve Martin’s “King Tut.”
When he was a teenager, his family moved to Newark, New Jersey, where he went to high school. It was there that he teamed up with his cousin Pras and friend Lauryn Hill, and created the iconic music group, The Fugees. Their biggest singles were “Ready or Not” and their remake of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.” The band went on to sell over 15 million albums worldwide and their notoriety launched successful solo careers for all three artists.
Wyclef is also a featured performer in several hit songs including: Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and Santana’s “Maria Maria”. He just released an incredible song with Avicii called “Divine Sorrow;” definitely put it on your workout playlist. His new album, Clefication, will be released in the upcoming Fall of 2015.
In addition to being a legendary rapper, musician, and producer, he is also politically active. In 2010, Wyclef ran for the President of Haiti, but shortly after his campaign began, he was disqualified since he had not lived in Haiti the previous five years. Nonetheless, he remains active to this day in a number of charitable causes supporting his country.
I always love spending time with Wyclef. On his most recent visit to LA, he took me through his workout. I admit it: he kicked my butt! What makes his workouts fun is he feels that the best place to exercise is anywhere you find yourself. Since we were at my friend’s house, we moved the furniture out of the room for a workout that included everything from acro yoga, gymnastics, push ups, tricep dips off the couch, relay races across the living room, and sit ups to Wyclef lifting me up onto his shoulders while doing squats! He even taught me how to walk on my hands, which is something he always did when we traveled together. I like to tell people that working out should be enjoyable. Find something you like doing and get your body moving rather than making it a dreaded chore on your to do list. Get out and have fun! And, as Wyclef taught me, you can exercise anywhere!
As far as food, Wyclef continues the habits he learned from his mother while growing up in Haiti — eat from the earth and choose organic. This includes staying away from processed and manufactured foods. To stay healthy on the road, he travels with his own juicer, and I had the pleasure of learning his technique. As I was rushing to chop the fruit, he taught me to slow down and enjoy the process. Even the washing and chipping of the fruit is part of the experience, so slow down and enjoy. He turned our juicing session into a dance party, just as he did with our business meetings. He danced, moved his hips, and even sang “Hips Don’t Life.” I took his advice and enjoyed the experience. Oh, and the juice (pineapple, mango, apple, and orange): It was delicious.
Lori Rischer is a music business executive in promotion and marketing, the KIIS-FM health and fitness spokesperson, and a yoga instructor. Rockstar Health & Fitness shares the healthy secrets of your favorite celebrities. Check out more interviews at LoriRischer.com or her KIIS-FM blog keyword Rockstar.