Ahlan! Chats to Ghetto Superstar Pras Michel
When we heard the rather exciting news that Ghetto Superstar sensation Pras Michel had touched down in the UAE, we wasted no time in getting all the latest goss from him. Having just landed from Lebanon and straight into his gig sound check, the Grammy award-winner was pretty exhausted when we sat down with him for a chat, but he put on his best 'I'm not tired look' and gave us an insight into his superstar lifestyle.
Welcome to Dubai, Pras. What you been up to here?
First of all, enjoying the hot weather. Although I'm surprised, as it's not as hot as compared to what it usually is in summer time.
So you've been to the UAE before?
Yes, I always come under the radar just to relax and chill. I have friends here who live in Abu Dhabi, I love that place. Much quieter and more relaxed than Dubai!
You’re better known for being one third of hip hop trio The Fugees, along with Lauryn Hill and your cousin Wyclef Jean. There were rumors of a reunion and a new album, which never materialised. Will this ever happen? Will you reunite?
I don’t know.
Do you want the band to reform? I know as fans we certainly do!
I don’t know
You don’t know? Come on, Pras, you must know! So many Nineties bands' reuniting is in vogue recently... New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys... I could go on.
Yeah, I do wanna reunite The Fugees, but I don't know how. Only the man in the sky knows when it will happen.
There were rumors of a rift between you and former band mate Lauryn Hill. Is that still the case or have you kissed and made up?
Lauryn Hill, ah, that wasn't a rift. I don’t have a rift with anyone. The comment I made back then was taken out of context, I was referring to the possibility of the group coming back together. Lauryn was in a place where myself and Wyclef couldn't have gone back into the studio with her.
As part of The Fugees, did you anticipate how big you would become? In 2007, MTV ranked you as the ninth greatest hip-hop band of all time. Now that is some achievement!
I mean you always dream about being successful, but you just never know how it's going to work out.
Ghetto Superstar is obviously your biggest single to date, you re-worked the chorus of Islands in the Stream, written by The Bee Gees. Were you a massive fan of The Bee Gees? Is that why you chose it?
Yeah, too right I was a massive fan of The Bee Gees! I actually loved them, they were one of my favorite bands of all time. There was just something about them when I was growing up, my mum's favourite song was Islands in the Stream'. So it seemed perfect you know, it made sense.
Did you anticipate how big that song would become? Did it put you on the map as a solo artist?
You just never know man, you just do something that feels good and you know when it feels good and you just hope that it will connect with the people.
Are you planning to release any other further material?
Yeah, I’m working on a project. It's coming out this fall, look out for it. I can’t say the name of it, I can’t say what it is…
Come on, give us a little little hint. Are you going to be collaborating with other artists?Maybe
Any names? Can’t you give me a little hint?
I’ll say one thing, something is dropping next month so look out for it.
Obviously you’ve been quite successful in your music career and now you’ve made the transition to a movie producer. How did that happen?
A friend of mine actually brought me to a meeting and so it's just something that I wanted to wanted to do, it was the next natural step and I really like it. Actually I've got a film project coming out this fall, I liked it a lot.
Are they going to move into producing motion pictures? I notice you’ve been working on more documentaries.
Yes I am, I’m working on a film I got coming out soon and that is actually my last documentary.
Is that Paper Dreams?
No, Paper Dreams is going straight to DVD, it's another one called Sweet Micky for President and and highlights how I helped to mobilise a presidential campaign for Michel Martelly in my home country of Haiti against my cousin Wyclef and it includes appearances from Ben Stiller, Sean Penn and Danny Glover. It's deep.
So what happened with you and Wyclef over the film?
You will have to watch it to find out! It's all on tape.
When will be out was all your fans to watch?
The Fall, I don’t know when, October I think, it’s a time for Oscar season.
Would you ever consider a political career like Wyclef?
No, it's of no interest!
While making the documentary Paper Dreams in Somalia, you were held captive by pirates. Was that one of the scariest moments of your life?
They didn't do anything to me, but then we got held captive for a couple of weeks and got let out. I actually thought it was a good experience. It’s being real. You don't just read about it in the press, you are in it and man it's dangerous! It makes you appreciate things more.