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The comeback Kid!

Written by Makak
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Mickael Guirand kept us in suspense for 2 years, but little did we know
that he was building up his highly anticipated comeback, which came in the form of a new band that has taken the HMI by storm. 
 
Mickael Guirand is back, better than ever: wiser, stronger and more resilient.  We’ve witnessed the 44-year-old grow into a mature artist and a business owner in creating his own band after many years with top HMI band now defunct, Carimi. Mickael  has surprised a lot of people, making and breaking his own rules, right before our eyes. Many people have doubted that he had it in him to create what is now one of the top bands in the Haitian Music Industry. Through fame’s unforgiving lessons to disappointing moments while with his old band Carimi, Mickael, born Paul Guirand, December 18 1976 in Haiti, has held his own, exemplifying what grace under pressure really looks like. 
 
HB sat down with Mike (HMI’s Teddy Bear) to take us through his journey:
 
 HB- What were you doing during your music hiatus?
MG: took some time to reflect, reevaluate my options, recommit to my family, refresh mentally and physically. which is why I am having the time of my life now with Vayb.
 
 HB- How is family life, knowing you went through a lot?
MG: Pretty good. Great thing about family is that they will take you with your ups and  downs. I have been through a lot, but I came back stronger and I feel that my backbone got even stronger. Relationships with my close ones got a lot better. I am not perfect but I’m working on it and I think that’s the mindset to move in the right direction.
 
 HB- What was the hardest lesson you had to learn?
MG: It’s very easy to lose something that you spend your whole life putting together. It’s in the rough times that you get to know the true nature of your surroundings and the biggest lesson is to always put god first and take the good and the bad as they both are shaping you for what’s next on your path.
 
 HB- How would you describe your state of mind right now?
MG: Positive. No matter what.
 
 HB- So.  in Vayb you wear many hats tell us a little bit about the different roles you play?
 MG: With all the experiences I acquired in Carimi and also in my personal life with my professional background in business and accounting, I decided to take the sole role of taking care of the band meaning management, booking, logistics and even creative director for the band. But with time I quickly realized that the team I had assembled rose to the challenge therefore taking away from a lot of the duties I thought I was going to play full time on top of being the front-man. So Ralph Jeudy is with me for the booking and management, Shedly and Jean Max are pretty much lead when it comes to Music production, Ti Ben Mando,  Jude,  Scooby,  Noldy and Ziggy all work together when we have a big show coming up and Ti ben works with Ronald on the sound and live setups.  So it’s a pretty well-oiled machine where everybody has their role and we work as a unit and a family.
 
HB- You used to run Carimi’s social media pages, so is that one of the reasons you never developed your Mickael brand online? Was that a mistake? Do you think while running the pages you should’ve always had your own personal pages as well? If so why? 
 MG: When I used to be in Carimi, everything I did was for Carimi. It was never about individual glory and more for the team. So,  it’s hard for me to say if I would do it the same again. You can say it was a mistake only because you have to always have a personal relationship with the public. There is the band where you can find all band related info but there has to be that personal side. Fans love that personal connection.
 
HB- Fast forward till today how has the online world received you as an individual brand today?
MG: Fans recognize me on a personal level a lot today. I kinda have an unfiltered approach where I always keep it real and make sure to keep the private side private.  I am also grateful because the love I have received from the fans has been amazing. I have been able to reconnect with my fans and I feel now they value me as much as what I represent with the band.
 
 HB- What do you like to do for fun outside of music?
MG; I love movies, I spend as much time as I can with my family. I am a very down to earth person who will choose a chill night at home instead of a night out partying. Big fan of FIFA video game, I have been forbidden to play because I get crazy and I just lose focus on everything else
 
HB- Do you think Vayb will ever feature Kai on a record or Vice versa?
MG: This is a page I turned. Never say never. Just like I was all Carimi at one point in time, today it’s all about Vayb. I will leave the Kai business to the fans, that’s the fun part for the fan. I'm worried about the business side and making sure the Vayb fans are satisfied.
 
HB- What’s your favorite haitian dish?
MG: So many… But Kabrit boukanen w diri a k djondjon, banan peze w pikliz… sigh…
 
HB- Can you cook? If so, what is your specialty meal that your family loves when you cook? 
MG: One of my biggest regrets… I know nothing about cooking men nou konn manje.. lol
 
 HB- If you were not an artist what do you think would be your career path?
MG: An auditor or an accountant. Would have followed my dad's footsteps. Graduated SJU with a BS in Accounting. I went to work for Deloitte and Touche but after 911, I made the choice to go to Carimi full time.
 
 HB- What makes this album different from your previous works?
MG: I think it’s the approach. I was working with a whole new team and I was opened to everything. New sound, old sound. I guess I was trying to find my sound. Songs like “A mwatie,” “Ou panan plas mwen,” “One night stand,” different directions. I was willing to try and learn.
 
 HB- In one word, how would you describe 2019 for Vayb?
MG: Amazing. Even looking back at the whole year it’s hard to put it into words. Just Amazing!
 
HB- The song “Ou pa lan plas mwen”, even though you did not write the lyrics, Wanito penned it, nevertheless it appears to be telling your story, can you explain the musical process of this song?
MG: It’s really a nice story that started with Jean max sending me a song that had a chorus that struck a chord with me. “ou pa nan plas mwen” Then,  Shedly sat down one day with Arly that dropped by the studio and he just sang the melody of the verse, just singing “da da da da”… very sensual and emotional. Shedly and I kinda sat down and did a nice structure with the bridge, and the final piece came when Wanito came to sing the song “Se wè ya wè” that he featured on the album. I just explained to Wanito what I wanted the song to be about, the direction I wanted the story to take and I guess it struck a chord with him on a  personal level because, the next morning we had all the lyrics including the “eksperyans mwen avè’w” chorus after the bridge. The lyrics were so powerful that everyone who  listened to the song would just start crying. We were like wow… even Arly was moved by the song... One of the best on the album.
 
  HB- The difference in musical style between Vayb and Carimi?
MG: Carimi was pretty straightforward. We wanted to stay hype and young. No “ti granmoun” stuff, no “kompa direk'' and try to cater to the international market as much as possible. With Vayb, I’m open to anything that works with  me, I will sing opera if it makes sense.. I think that you will also feel the maturity of a guy like Jean Max Valcourt in the arrangements and I truly love working with  Shedly. Jude is also a crazy asset in the production.
 
HB- One thing you missed about Carimi? 
MG: Nothing really! It was like a time in my life and it fit the lifestyle. I am pretty grateful that I had the opportunity to share the stage with amazing talents and great friends. All amazing tales have a beginning and an end… now on to the next.
 
HB- How long more do the fans have to wait for a Carimi reunion?
MG: It will happen when it will happen. I’m not stressing. If it’s gonna be a “rabaché” I’d rather not do it.
 
HB- Many observers while watching how you are leading the band business wise, always make a connection between you and Fito, did you take some of those skills from Fito as manager of Carimi?
MG: I had the opportunity to work under Carl Henry Desmornes in my K-dans days and Fito with Carimi. I must say that I have learned a lot but I always had my own style but was too young too young to impose. But I will definitely say that my success w Vayb has a lot to do with having been under these two guys.
 

Mike vayb 1170x780

 
 
HB- People only know you as an artist, what are you like as a person, a father, a husband, a friend?
MG: Goofy. I love to laugh. I crack jokes all the time. I am the opposite of what I am on stage, I’m more quiet and I don't like going out to crowded places. 
 
HB- Describe your typical day, from the time you wake up, until it’s time to go to perform?
MG: Bon 6 am… coffee… bathroom ... Make sure kids are ready. Open laptop… “Nou lage yon ti post sou rezo yo… nou blast sou whatsapp” everybody leaves the house.. than I either hit the shower to go out or go back to bed… unless we have to hit the road with the band… “sa pa gen schedule… Since we travel a lot, if I’m home, I usually stay home as much as possible…. “paske le nou pati pa gen chita menm.”
 
HB- Tell us one thing that no one knows about you?
 MG- After 25 years of being in the HMI, being on stage, one thing that I can say, I’m enjoying it now because of the things that I do off the stage. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy being on stage and performing for my fans, however, I really enjoy the behind the scenes responsibility, like booking, managing the band, getting to know the musicians off the stage. All the hardships that we go through and the public can’t see, I enjoy them because they make us stronger. Maybe I’m preparing for the future, it might come a time where I’m getting old and may not be able to perform on the stage anymore, I think I can carry what I learn off the stage to the next chapter of my life.  
 
What's your prediction for the HMI overall for 2020?
I look forward to 2020 positively. If you can remember with the break up of Carimi, came 2 bands. Today Djakout gave us EKIP. We can also be excited that Zafem will officially make its debut this year. As for Vayb, I’m super excited, this is the year to hit back the studio, to create new vibes, to decide which direction we will take with our next project. Even though it might be a tough year for Haiti, with people dying on a daily basis, people are depressed. It is our job as musicians to bring some type of joy and relief to the people. Every time there is a new band, it motivates us to work harder. Hopefully we all have a good 2020, 2020 is a nice number, it doesn’t come often.
 
HB- Thank you Mickael for your time.
 
MG- Thank you Haitianbeatz for choosing me for your first web-magazine cover, it's an honor.
 
 
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