[artist id="1162"]Wyclef Jean[/artist] has been active in raising money and delivering aid to his home country of Haiti after last month’s devastating earthquake. So, when he got the call that Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie would be remaking the 1985 charity single “We Are the World,” to benefit Haiti , he knew he had to get onboard.
“I’m gonna go put some Haitian-influence sounds on it,” Jean told reporters on Monday, when more than 80 artists gathered to record the song. The former Fugees leader said he was excited about working with Jones and Richie. “Being a Haitian, growing up in America, getting the chance to experience the American dream … I follow after the blueprint of Quincy Jones. And Lionel Richie, the first time I heard ‘All Night Long,’ I was working at Burger King, barely spoke English, but I knew [it]. So, what’s going on inside is I feel like a kid in a candy store.”
‘Clef continued that despite the risks of remaking an iconic song like “We Are the World,” he knows that fans will be pleased with the artists involved and the cause it will benefit. “I know when you have a classic, you don’t want to touch it,” he said. “You want to stay away from it, but being that we grew up with that record, and we love it so much, it’s incredible to just see every kid, every genre just walking in and singing that song.”
“Heroes” star and Haiti native Jimmy Jean-Louis said he was honored to be a part of the track but is still saddened by the event behind its re-recording. “I was in Haiti to visit my parents and my friends and family, and what I saw there was just devastating, so I’m happy the world is coming together so we can rebuild Haiti,” he said.
“And of course I was around 25 years ago, and I never thought I’d be able to be a part of such a group. I always said to myself, ‘One day I might be able to be on one of those songs,’ but I never thought it would be this one,” Jean-Louis continued. “So, I’m very happy to be here, but very sad deep inside, because my country is completely gone. And hopefully, this is a great start to rebuild my nation.”