Michael Benjamin aka Mikaben is an eclectic Haitian artist with a wide range of talents: singer, writer and producer. Accompanied by his guitar or with a full band, Mikaben is one of the few artists of his generation to excel in many different musical genres. Since the launch of his first song in 1999 entitled Nwèl Tristès,
Mikaben has shown a particular sensitivity for his country. He wants to paint, through his art, a beautiful yet real image of his country. He already has over 15 years of experience on the stage and has performed on several international stages, including the Olympia of Paris with Carimi, the Zenith, Joe's Pub in NY, the Cultural Center of Ivory Coast, the Hoogstraten Festival in Belgium, the Miami Compas Festival, and Dillon Stadium to name just a few.
Vocalstar: Who are you?
Mikaben: I’m a Haitian Born and raised artist who just happens to be passionate and especially about music. I’m a very nice and simple person and I always look to find the good in others. I’m a father of a 7 year old boy who is my reason for striving and I have huge dreams for my family, myself and my country.
Vocalstar: Do you think your upbringing has contributed to your style as an artist?
Mikaben: Oh yes totally. First I grew up under my dad’s influence watching him write songs and compose melodies, and I have inherited his “perfectionism” doing this (musically and literarily). Also my country is the biggest of my influences in terms of style. I mean I’m purely Haitian (lol), so my inspiration in writing and producing has a lot of Haitian influences in there, from Konpa to “Racines”. On the other end, I grew up listening to all kinds of music, all different genres, and I reproduce what I absorb, “I’m like a Sponge”, my sister told me one day lol.
Vocalstar: Describe the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome as an artist?
Mikaben: The biggest obstacle as an artist for me, was the fact that in Haiti, there is no structure to encourage artists to grow in their career, there is no copyrights and music itself is not even considered as a “career” or “profession”. This issue led on to many others that you can already imagine.
Vocalstar: What’s a typical day like for you artistically?
Mikaben: First I don’t have to wake up at 5am to go to “work”… That’s one very important part of my “typical days”. So I wake up when I wake up, eat my breakfast and drink coffee (I lovvve coffee). And mostly I do my work at home or sometimes at the gym, and then I go about my business, doing interviews and working in the studio (but I do not have the same schedule everyday). At the end I could say that I don’t have “a typical day” in my life lol. And I Love to read good books on self-development and Leadership, so I always do my best to save 30 minutes to an hour just for that.
Vocalstar: What inspires you musically?
Mikaben: Lol…. LIFE inspires me, anything inspires me, I can actually “order” the inspiration lol. I can literally just sit there and “summon” inspiration… But, really, what inspires me most is Love and People. AND of course that “Laaaaa”.
Vocalstar: When do your ideas come to you?
Mikaben: Ideas come to me at any time.
Vocalstar: What is your favorite song you have written / produced and why?
Mikaben: Honestly, I do not have a favorite song that I’ve produced in my entire life, but I can say that Recently, “Le Vrai Problème”, “Tubes” and “Pouki Se Li” are my top 3 favorites. Because of the emotions in there and the production.
Vocalstar: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Mikaben: My dad ( Lionel Benjamin), Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Sweet Micky, T-Vice, Carimi, Tabou Combo, System Band, Sean Paul, Admiral T, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Wyclef Jean, Konpa Kreyòl, Alan Cave, Beethova Obas, Fabrice Rouzier, Mizik Mizik, R Kelly, Biggy Smalls, Dr. Dre, Neptunes, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and the list goes on! Lol
Vocalstar: Which artist would you love to collaborate with and why?
Mikaben: Will I am, because I just Love the way he thinks musically, he’s edgy but also very “cultivated” and “conscious” in his lyrics.
Vocalstar: Where can we expect to see you in 5 years? What are your dreams/ aspirations?
Mikaben: In 5 years I will have implanted my Label as “the biggest Caribbean Label” and I will have the biggest most sophisticated studio in the islands.
Vocalstar: What do your fans mean to you?
Mikaben: They are the only ones to keep me relevant… I owe them a lot of my success today. They mean a lot to me, after my family, they’re all I’ve got.
Vocalstar: What’s your idea of success as an artist? When will you feel like you’ve made it?
Mikaben: I’m not sure an artist ever feels like “he’s made it”… but success to me, is how many artists I will have helped reach their own peek of success.
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