In the endless quest to tell you about talents emerging out of Haiti, Kreyolicious is interviewing Port-au-Prince-based songstress Rutshelle Guillaume. Let’s get acquainted with her and her music, and of course, her debut album Emotions.
I started singing at five at my father’s church. At 13, I started singing with Ephesien Louis, Roosevelt Jean-Noel. I studied at Ecole Normale Superieur. I used to teach grammar, philosophy and literature. I have a three-year old daughter Ruth Warlly.
Kreyolicious: How did you determine which songs to include on your record?
Well, that wasn’t really my job. A team was responsible for that. The band leader whose name is Dieuvenson Bon…and my manager.
Kreyolicious: Is there one in particular that you’re especially attached to?
Well, I’m attached to all of them. To ask me this question would be the same as if I were a mother of 10 children, and you asked me which one I love the most. Each track on the Emotions album have their own vibe. I’m pretty comfortable in all of them, starting with “Je Suis” and ending with “Kenbe Liv Ou”.
Kreyolicious: How is the musical scene in Haiti?
It really varies. Sometimes, it’s pretty calm. And then there are times when there’s no time for breaks.
Kreyolicious: In almost every society, women singers sometimes air their feelings about being perceived and treated differently from their male counterparts.What has been your experience?
It’s not that different [for the two sexes] when it comes to a first album. I’ve known a lot of rough moments. You have to have a lot of determination, and lots of patience.
Kreyolicious: How would you define beauty…what meaning do you give to the word?
Beauty, to me is something from the inside. It’s who we are on the inside.
Kreyolicious: To elaborate on another dimension of that question, do you think that the way female singers present themselves can have an effect on whether they are eventually successful or not? In terms of dress, persona, and image?
To me, it’s a whole package. While you’re managing your look and styling, presentation counts for a lot, because that’s what’s going to speak to the fans for you. And that’s what’s going to keep people from treating you any kind of way.
Kreyolicious: Are the female singers in Haiti close-knit, and do they cultivate a sort of friendship?
To stay true with you, I’m just going to simply say, “yes” [to the first question], and “no” [to the second].
Kreyolicious: What’s it like being a celebrity in Haiti?
Normal. Sometimes there’s a lot of pressure, but not much more than that. And a lot of requirements.
Kreyolicious: What do you hope to accomplish over the course of your career?
Everything that’s possible and positive.
[Photos: Jean- Robert Duprat; Clothes: Maguy Durce; Makeup: Azor]
Come on Kreyolicious cheries, get your Haitian music on. | CLICK HERE to Purchase Rutshelle’s album on CD Baby| Show Her Some Love on Her Facebook Page| Follow Her on Twitter