His voice can make a married couple ready sign a divorce decree, call off the divorce. His voice can cause an insomniac to go into deep sleep. It can even make those feeling jaded about love believe in relationships again. But who is this man? Who? The man in question is none other than singer Alan Cave, the king of Haitian pop music. Can a man’s voice be this powerful? Well, yes. It’s melodious, it’s lush, and all those other adjectives a music pundits apply to great singers, and great music. His latest album is the two-volume Timeless, available, ahem on Amazon and CD Baby!
When most Haitian-Americans are tying the knot, and they want to put a Haitian song on the playlist, it’s usually full of Alan Cave hits. Sometimes the groom and the bride’s first dance is an Alan Cave song.
Even rapper are admirers. “He is one of my favorite Haitian singers,” says MC Ogun, “and also one of the voices who inspired me to sing.” Even choosing a favorite Alan Cave song poses a challenge for the rapper. “To pick a fave song from him would be kind of hard because I like so many…like “Se pa Pou Dat” “Nan nan nan”, “Ou se”, “All I Want”—just to name a few.
Kreyolicious: What are your earliest music-related memories?
My earliest musical memories? Well, it was the first time that I received an album called Credor, and it was from my dad. It was my dad’s work. It was a mixture…a musical play I would say. There was different types of music and styles. It was pretty different. It was a mix of acting monologues, poems, and all that.
Kreyolicious: Do you think that it influenced your work later on?
Definitely. That particular album had an effect on me. That’s how I started thinking. Later down the road, I met Tantan from Lakol, the Toussaint Brothers. We had a little band on the block.
Kreyolicious: How did that band Zin start?
There was a guy name Wiguens Joseph. He was part of another group . The name of that band was Papash. My younger brother was part of Papash. Syto, Jr. He was part of that band, and his friend was Wiguens. Wiguens brought me to Alex Abellard’s house, the bandleader and founder of Zin.
Kreyolicious: So, the band existed before you came along?
So they say. [Laughter] It was basically a project that the band leader [had started]. Apparently, Alex had already heard of me, and when Wiguens brought me there…I have to tell you, I heard the band, but I wasn’t too interested. I was into jazz, bossa nova type of bands…the more you know….jazzy stuff. I loved Michael Jackson. I liked the funky stuff. I liked Zekle, Skandal, the new stuff that was coming out of Haiti. We got the first module…and Fabrice Rouzier…who came out with the new sound. When I heard that song..I was like, “that’s interesting”. That’s really how my interest grew in working with them. So they wanted me to part of the new band. I said I’d think about it. When I heard their first song, the second one, I was like, “Wait a minute, let me give them a condition. I’ll sing this album, but the next album will be mine”. [laughter] They were like, “Okay”. Then Zin exploded. We did a second album. The rest is history. The first album—the Lage’m album—with the hands of the girls on my jacket…that came out as my first solo album, but it was considered as a Zin album.
This concludes PART I of the interview with singer Alan Cave. Stay tuned for PART II.