Famed Musician Wyclef Jean Visits UMass Lowell for Master Class
On March 1, UMass Lowell welcomed three-time Grammy Award winner Wyclef Jean to Durgin Hall, home of its music department for a master class.
Three groups of students performed for the pop superstar, receiving feedback after each performance. “I see university music programs as an untapped source of raw talent and potential,” Wyclef noted during the proceedings.
Wyclef achieved fame both as a solo artist and as a founding member of the Fugees. His 2012 memoir, “Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story,” tells the story of how he moved to the United States from Haiti at the age of 9 before going on to achieve worldwide success in the 90s. He is a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, producer and actor.
The event occurred before the release of Wyclef’s new mixtape, fittingly titled, “Wyclef Goes Back to School.” Wyclef Jean has been looking for up-and-coming musicians to be featured on his newest recording. He brought his search for vocalists and instrumentalists to UMass Lowell after hiring one of their recent music business graduates, Rachel Driscoll.
At one point, Wyclef borrowed a student’s guitar and invited a group of students to perform onstage with him. After the spontaneous jam session, Wyclef addressed the students who were critiqued by him earlier and encouraged them to send him instrumental and vocal tracks for his mixtape. “Even if you don’t get selected, you will still be able to record your own material that we will release online,” he said.
The students were left with these words from Wyclef, “This space [Durgin Hall], is a place where people come to feel something with music — a feeling or emotion. That’s what this is all about.”