Clinton Benoit Jean was born in Jacmel, a harborage city on the south sea coast of Haiti. After graduating from school, he moved to the United States in 2000 to pursue his professional career. Since growing up in Haiti, music has been a powerful medium for Clinton. Having a father who was musically driven, Clinton was able to absorb all the musical orientations accessible. With his father guiding him at every step of the road, Clinton became a prominent force in the world of Haitian music. He grew up as a big fan of Zéklè, Magnum Band, Caribbean Sextet, Tabou Combo, Kassav, and Skan’dal and religiously listened to radio metropole, a radio station that was famous for its plural and exotic exploration of all kinds of music. In addition to having a prominent musical career, Clinton holds a master’s degree in Social Work and criminal justice from Temple University. He is also a Therapist and a Police Officer.
The Starting Point – “Fresh Band”
In his native of Jacmel, Clinton started his journey during his summer vacation. He formed the group “Fresh Band” with some of his childhood friends, with which he gave a glimpse of his timbre while echoing. Clinton was more inclined toward performing live shows until being exposed to the bass and piano by two Haitian musical legends, Boulo Valcourt and Dadou Pasquet. Ultimately, he opted for his vocal to be his primary instrument. He started his salsa band in Petion-Ville, Haiti, named “Trak,” with his first album salsa creole, “Anacaona.” It was the first live salsa band in Haitian music history, a massive success in Haiti, mostly during carnival seasons, also referred to as Mardi-gras in Haiti.
In 1999, Clinton joined one of the top Haitian bands in Petion – Ville, Haiti, named Mizik – Mizik, where he collaborated in their 1999 album “Blackout” with his salsa song “Sonia,” sharing the stage with the late famous Haitian singer Eric Charles. Clinton parted ways from the band in New York City during their 2000 tour. After establishing himself in New York City, Clinton signed with D’Zine, another famous Haitian band in Miami, Florida, after their original lead singer Gazman Couleur left the band. He had one album, “Zanmi ” with D’zine, where the song “Si Jamais” became a massive hit. Soon after the contract ended, Clinton returned to New York City on a new adventure.
Joining and Departure from “Phantoms”
On his return to New York City after D’zine, Clinton tied the knot with another famous New York City-based Haitian band, “Phantoms,” after their lead singer King Kino had exited the band. He spent a couple of years successfully performing with Phantoms. After the return of King Kino into the group, Clinton decided to take a shift and proceed with school full-time, where he earned a double master’s degree at Temple University.
Finding “Funky Konpa”
During his time at Temple University, Clinton continued creating music which gave birth to his solo project “Funky Konpa.” It was his first album, released in 2010 and produced by Jeanmax Valcourt. On its success, Joe Damas of Radio Metropole ranked “Funky Konpa” the best innovation album in Haitian Music for the year of 2010. Being his debut solo album, Funky Konpa was Clinton’s innovation, epitomizing the eclectic blend deriving from Haitian music Compas Direct and Rock’ n’ Roll influences. The trend of Funky Konpa at that time received moderate success because it was considered way too electric for heavy Compas Direct fans. A few years later, Funky Konpa became more popular than when Clinton started it. Now it is a style of music that is being replicated.
Another call in New York
In 2014, Clinton was again called by a New York City Haitian band Dola Mizik to replace their lead singer Armstrong Jeune, who separated from the band. Clinton’s last album with the Dola was “New York Time.” After finishing graduate school, Clinton Benoit left the group to pursue his professional career in academia. Besides his career as a musician, Clinton has successfully graduated from various law enforcement agencies in the United States and has received awards of honor.
The Never-Ending Passion for Music
Clinton toured with Tabou Combo, one of the most famous Haitian bands of all time, after their famous lead singer Roger M. Eugene alias Shoubou got sick just two days before the tour started. Yves Joseph Fanfan, alias “Fanfan Ti Bot,” a legendary singer, composer, and manager of the band and their legendary conga player Reynald Valme contacted Clinton for the tour, which was a success despite the circumstances. Clinton has also performed with Magnum band, one of the most famous Haitian bands of all time, contacted by the legendary brothers of Magnum Tico Pasquet and Dadou Pasquet.
Clinton’s latest project is his Kreyol Alternative album and his collaboration with Romanti Montero, a well-known New York-based Dominican singer, piano player and producer on a new single, “La Vida No Es Complicada,” soon to be released.
Clinton was awarded the top 25 Artist Award from the “5 Continents Annual Academy Awards” in New York City for his Kreyol Alternative project Respect to Zekle and “Tante Nini” Respect to Caribbean Sextet, a homage to the late Boulot Valcourt. Besides all, he remains a part-time musician. According to him, it works better that way.
Awards & Recognition
In 1998, Clinton received “Best Haitian Carnival Innovation” of the Year for “SalsaNaval” by Television Nationale D’Haiti and by Ticket Magazine
In 1999, he received (MIA) Most Influential Artist of the year by the French Institute.
In 2010, he received Best Creativity Album of the year “Funky Konpa” by CE-Magazine
In 2014, he received an award for his contribution to the Haitian Music Industry by Albano Inc
In 2016, he received “Reliable Haitian Artist” BY the French Kompa Festival
In 2022, he received the top 25 Artist Award from “5 Continents Annual Academy Awards”
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