STORY BY: WIKIMIZIK • NOV 15TH, 2014
His grandfather, Languichatte, is a national treasure and his parents lead the internationally renown and Grammy-nominated Boukman Eksperyans. Now, Paul Beaubrun and his band, Zing Experience, are stepping into the spotlight. We chatted with Paul to discuss his music, influences and more. And we're excited to witness the next chapter in the rich Beaubrun legacy.
Who is Paul Beaubrun?
Paul Beaubrun is a Zing, a spiritual man, the son of Theodore Beaubrun Jr and Mimerose P. Beaubrun, a brother, a proud father, singer/songwriter, percussionist, producer and DJ.
You're from a lineage of great writers. Your grandfather, Theodore "Languichatte" Beaubrun, wrote the hit series, Languichatte, and your father, Theodore "Lolo" Beaubrun Jr, wrote several hit songs. How does that influence your songwriting? Does it add any pressure on you as an artist/songwriter?
My grandfather and father are my heroes and I look up to them every day for inspiration and guidance. I definitely feel pressure because their standards are so high.
Describe to us where the name Zing Experience originated from?
In some parts of Haiti, deep inside the mountains, the people there call dreads "Zing". It is a mixture of African and Native Indian cultures. The concept of Zing is deeply rooted in our Haitian culture. The word Experience comes from my parents' band Boukman Eksperyans and also, Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Take us through your songwriting process.
I usually come up with the melody to the song first. I am more comfortable when I have my acoustic guitar, my pen and paper. I will usually write a couple of verses and then let it breath a bit, and come back to it later.
Tell us about the very first song you wrote.
I was 14 and it was a song that I wrote about my first love "Sakpasew la". "Sakpasew la, ou genle konprann map baw manti." That's all I remember from it. It was an interesting song with a Syto Cave influence in it and I used to sing it every day in the house after school.
Do you compose the melodies before writing lyrics?
Usually I have the melody first and the lyrics come after.
After you write a song, how do you know if it will connect with your audience? Who do you get feedback from before you finalize a song?
I always have goosebumps when I finish and sing a song, this is how I know it will have an impact on my audience. For feedback, I always play my new songs to my mom or my close friends.
You were raised in Haiti, live in New York and recorded Project Haiti in Norway. How did you channel all these environments into the songs?
It's a perfect mixture of Haiti, which has the natural laid back and Caribbean vibe. Then New York that has the in your face style of energy and Norway for the electronic, feel good music. Project Haiti combined all these elements perfectly.
You mentioned Syto Cave and Jimmy Hendrix as influences, what other artists have influenced your work?
I like Fela Kuti for being bold and for being an inspiration to the African people and the rest of the world. Obviously Bob Marley for being the voice of redemption. Lenny Kravitz for his style and music. Sade for her smooth and chill music. Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy are one of my favorite guitar players. I really like Ti Coca a great Haitian Troubadour band and their leader is a true entertainer. Boukman Eksperyans, Eddy Francois, Mizik Mizik and Manno Charlemagne.
Kreyol is naturally poetic. Rich in metaphors and hidden meanings, it makes "Pwens" easier to deliver. How do you translate those feelings into English?
When I write in English, I have a different mindset. It's natural to translate my feelings into English because I think in terms of music not in terms of language.
Language itself shouldn't be, and is not, a barrier for me or the people listening. I think true and honest Sentiments come through no matter the language.
How do you determine if a song will be in English or Kreyol? Is it a conscious decision?
It comes to me naturally, I never force it. I think the music always tells me if it's English or Kreyol.
Project Haiti sounds sparse and airy. It feels like the melodies and lyrics are driving the songs instead of the rhythm. Tell us why you chose this sound.
Project Haiti was an experience album. I enjoy all the songs in it because it's new and it's something I had never done before. I had a Norwegian producer work with me on the sound to make it more global and fresh.
What is the most personal song you've written?
"Love Comes First" which was about someone that I used to see every day.
What is the meaning behind Zing Nati Zing that you mentioned at the beginning of "Se Poko Dread Sa"?
Zing Nati Zing is like saying Dread Nati Dread. I'm Haitian so I use Zing to keep it local and it is one of my saying's and also one of my Instagram's hashtags. I like the history behind it and the message it carries. I use it often.
What projects can we look forward to from Zing Experience?
I am currently working on an acoustic EP and Zing Experience's second album. Out soon, keep posted!
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