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Wyclef Jean - Host With The Most

Author: Carlise Rogers
Sunday, 20 April 2008
Carlisle Rogers gets the fever with living legend Wyclef Jean, who’s taking his irrepressible charisma to the stage as the ‘baddest host’ of the MTV Australia Awards 2008.

The 2008 MTV Australia Awards show, screening Saturday 26 April on Fox, Austar and Optus, features a slew of imported talent guaranteed to create a mess at the after-party. Wyclef Jean, of the Fugees, has just been announced as one of the hosts, alongside 50 Cent, Juliette Lewis, Eve and Lyndsey Rodrigues.

Jean says there’s no telling what will happen with him on the stage for the awards. “I hosted the MTV Music Awards a few years ago,” he says, “and I’m the baddest host in the world. I know about Australia and it’s one of my favourite places. I came to Australia with the Fugees and it was one of my first trips overseas. The vibe is priceless. So when they asked me host the Australian MTV Awards, there was no hesitation. I haven’t been here in seven or eight years so it should be fun. It’s basically just you being yourself, being charismatic. I naturally got the fever, baby.”
The categories up for grabs this year are both serious and frivolous: Music Video of the Year, Australian Artist, New Zealand Artist, MTV Live Performer, Television Moment, MTV Good Karma, MTV Bad Karma and Remake. Nominees include Fergie, Delta, 50 Cent, Sneaky Sound System, Silverchair, Scribe, P!nk, The Chaser, Bliss n Eso, Kevin Andrews (Bad Karma) and Chris Crocker for his ‘leave Britney alone’ screed.

“For me it’s basically carte blanche,” Wyclef laughs, “It’s not like I’m trying to get award gigs. When they said Australia, they didn’t need to tell me much more than that. I love Australia. I’m going to come and just chill and have a great time. I’m probably going to perform. I’m going to come down with the band, jump onstage and do something, but we haven’t figured out exactly which song yet. We are going to make it very unique and very different. It’s my original band. It’s a seven-piece and it’s very efficient. I sing, my sister sings and my other cousin sings, so the collaborations are still there, but live they sound totally different. We sound crazier live than the music you hear on the CD.”    

Wyclef says this trip won’t be taking in a whole tour of Australia for his new full-length, Carnival Vol.II: Memoirs of an Immigrant.  “Right now we’re trying to do the Carnival House Tour so we are getting ready for that. That should be launched later this summer and we will definitely come to Australia.”

The new album is, ostensibly, both a sequel to Vol.I, and a journey taking in more world music and collaborations. It features collaborations from Paul Simon, Norah Jones, Shakira, Mary J Blige and Akon. “Every song is its own world and that’s why it’s called Carnival. If you have a copy of Carnival Vol.I, it’s really a sequel to that. It ranges from rock to reggae to RNB, to hip hop. The undertone is all hip hop mixed with world music.”
Wyclef says that Paul Simon proved the biggest challenge to hook up. “Paul Simon was the last one and the only one who was hard to get because he’s from a different generation. Everybody else was all good and all love.”

WHO: Wyclef Jean
WHEN Saturday 26 April