Life has been a wild ride for Wanito.
One day, he's just another talented musician in Jérémie, Haiti. And the next day, he wins a talent show to record an album for Peace Tones, a global music initiative funded by Kickstarter.
Now he's touring the world, closing in on 100,000 Facebook likes, and winning new fans daily. South Floridians will get to see him play for free at tomorrow evening's Big Night in Little Haiti. Here's what Wanito had to say about life, his music, and how to speak Kreyol.
Crossfade: What is twoubadou music and how does it influence you?
Wanito: Greetings to all! Twoubadou is a style of music developed in Haiti, kind of like Konpa music. I'm not influenced by Twoubadou music, but I do love and respect it. My style of music is soul, acoustic, reggae, hip-hop wrapped into Haitian roots
Where did you get your first guitar?
My first guitar was given to me by my mother. She purchased it in Haiti
How did you learn to play it?
I'm left-handed learning. So it was very challenging for me. I turned the guitar around and played it upside down. I am self taught. I coached myself with a couple of music books and my older brother played, so I watched him a lot too.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
I admire all the artists that came before me for paving the way. To name a few, I would have to say Freedom Christopher Laroche, Bob Marley, R. Kelly, Akon, Wyclef to name a few.
What subjects do you enjoy writing and singing about?
I enjoy writing about real life experiences. I'm very truthful in my music, so all types of people can identify. Real music is about real life, and that's what i enjoy sharing. If i can change the life of just one person, I did my job.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
The first concert I attended was at my school when I was younger. The students performed. It wasn't too big, but it was my first and I really enjoyed it
How long have you been a musician?
I've been a musician at heart all my life. But I started at the age of 14.
What has been your favorite performance of your career so far?
Well, let me see... I love and enjoyed all of them. It's always a great moment between me and my fans. It's really hard to pick a favorite. But the first one to come to mind would be a show I did in Haiti at Parc Historique de la Canne à Sucre with Corneille ... Great vibe.
Which artist would you most like to work with?
Wow, so many great artists out there. Let me see ... I would love to work with Akon, Bruno Mars, R. Kelly, Justin Timberlake, DJ Khaled, etc.
What do you think about big American companies abusing the Haitian factory worker system?
We are all equal. The Negative System needs to change. People need to be treated fairly
Who is your favorite guitar player?
I don't have a favorite guitar player. But I do like Dener Ceide.
What is your favorite thing about Miami?
The people and the weather ... South Beach and all the beautiful beaches
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SHOW ME HOW
Teach us Kreyol. How do you say "I love music. I want to dance and have fun all night until the morning."
Mwen Renmen Mizik Mwen anvi danse epi pran plezim tout nwit lan pou jis li jou.
Wanito. As part of Big Night in Little Haiti, presented by Rhythm Foundation. Opening set by the children's choir of Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church and Deblozay. Friday, December 20. Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212-260 NE 59th Terr., Miami. The show begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 10. Admission is free. Visit rhythmfoundation.com.