New York-born Catherine Desmarattes launched Ayiti Biyografi, a well-run, one-woman show, turning it into one of the leading, and most-referred-to Haitian music websites on the digital space. The Ayiti Biyografi is strong, as if Desmarattes were running things for more than a meager five years.
Her marketing skills, her love of and obsession for Haitian music, as well as her abilities as a videographer and photographer have made her platform gain respect and traffic. Her 120,000+ combined followers sleep soundly when there’s a popular Haitian musical event happening, because they know the next day (or in many cases, that same day), Desmarattes will deliver photos of their event with video footage and reporting.
In addition to running Ayiti Biyografi, Desmarattes is the host and producer of Biyografi Lari A, a Haitian music and industry show.
In PART I of the interview with the digital entrepreneur, we discussed how she came to launch her thriving brand. This time, I will delve more into her love of music, and we of course will discuss Haiti.
Kreyolicious: You must have a lot of favorite artists and bands. Those you not only enjoy listening to, but whose growth…whether artistically-speaking or audience reach speaking, you are especially proud of. Would you mind pin-pointing….say five artists or bands who fall in that category?
Catherine Desmarattes: I’ve always been a Harmonik fan. I am happy to see them benefiting from their hard work. Many did not expect Nu-Look to survive after the departure of Gazzman. Arly Lariviere stepped up and is handling himself very well. Both Rutshelle and Roody made the best out of their tragic breakup and both can be considered as success stories. Before Kai, many saw Richard Cave as timid like Arly, he has proven otherwise.
Kreyolicious: Speaking of artists…My readers vary. They are into Haitian music at different levels and some not at all. Now…what if you had to give an introduction to Haitian music to those in the latter category? Which artists and albums and songs would you include in a formulated playlist to them. You can give ten to start…
Catherine Desmarattes: As an introduction to Haitian music, I would recommend Carimi’s Bang Bang, TVice Kite’m Viv, Enposib Chay because they have a modern sound. Harmonik Degaje, Nu-Look “Abò”, and Klass “Fè’l Vini Avan” are also great options.
Kreyolicious: Do you go to Haiti often?
Catherine Desmarattes: I go to Haiti at least twice a year. I go in the beginning of the year for carnival and during the summer around my birthday in July.
Kreyolicious: Do you check out the music scene and see what’s it like?
Catherine Desmarattes: The music scene in Haiti is excellent. Despite the economic difficulties, the events in Haiti are better planned than those in the United States. The lighting, the stage, the décor are phenomenal, but that’s because they are not restricted by fire department rules. They have more room to play with things.
Kreyolicious: If you could pin-point 5 books that have changed your life, what books would make the grade?
Catherine Desmarattes: Who Moved My Cheese? is one. I’m more into mystery novels. My favorite author is Michael Connelly and Lisa Jackson.
Kreyolicious: What advice would you give to those out there who are wanting to start a site targeting the Haitian community?
Catherine Desmarattes: Anyone interested in working in this industry has to know the right people. It is difficult to open “powerful” doors if you don’t know which ones to knock.
Kreyolicious: Where do you see Ayiti Biyografi going?
Catherine Desmarattes: I am working on a few things. I am updating the website. My radio showed aired on KreyolJam on December 2nd. It will be on every Friday from 8 to 10 PM. We air the show live on Facebook on the Ayiti Biyografi Fan Page. I want my platform to move with technology. I want to remain relevant and reliable. At this moment, when Ayiti Biyografi is at an event, my audience is confident that they have a front seat at the event and they are not going to miss a thing. I like seeing the expression an artist face when they see me in the media pit. I hope to be in business for many years.
This concludes the interview with Ayiti Biyografi founder Catherine Desmarattes. If you missed PART I, go here. Meanwhile check her out her work on these platforms: