SADDLE BROOK, N.J. -- Happy birthday to singer, musician and songwriter Wyclef Jean -- perhaps best known as one third of the band the Fugees -- who was once a Saddle River resident.
He turns 48 on Tuesday.
Jean, who's also known as simply Wyclef or Clef, was born on Oct.17, 1969, in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti.
Jean's family moved to Brooklyn when he was 9 and Newark when he was a teen.
American rap helped him learn English, a Biography.com profile notes, he focused on jazz in high school, but then he, his cousin Prakazrel Michel and their friend Lauryn Hill started to focus on hip-hop.
He was offered a recording contract while still a teen, but his father, a preacher nixed the deal. The trio did later ink a deal, and the Fugees released "Blunted on Reality" in 1993, including the single "Nappy Heads."
While the group's inaugural album did moderately well, the Fugees' breakout album was 1995's "The Score," which featured a distinctive cover of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly." Both the album and song won Grammys.
The band members each went their own ways, however, and each found a measure of success. Jean has released several solo albums, but his next major acclaim came in 2006, from his collaboration with Shakira in her song "Hips Don't Lie." He's collaborated with a number of artists, including T.I., will.i.am and Ludacris.
Jean had a very short-lived political career, as well. He announced his candidacy for the president of Haiti in August 2010 and filed the papers to do so. But later that month he was declared ineligible, not having lived in Haiti for the five years preceding the election.
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