BélO at the crossroads: 18 years of music and commitment
BélO, celebrates in 2023, eighteen years of his musical career. For the son of Croix-des-Bouquets, this coming of age marks a significant step in his career as an artist. Eighteen years have passed since her voice first resonated on the Haitian music scene, and her journey has been as rich as it is varied. Jean Bélony Murat has not only left his mark on the music industry through his originality, but also through his social commitment and his unique career.
By Belkis Delcarmen Gaspar
November 22, 2023
Revealed to the general public with his track “Jasmine” and by the Soleil System Sounds contest, BélO quickly conquered hearts. His success at the RFI Discoveries Prize and his opus “Lakou Trankil” subsequently propelled his career.
Always close to his audience and loyal to his guitar, Jean Bélony Murat, better known as BélO, has been creating ever since. Eighteen years later, he is on his fifth album. In this long journey, he has a lot to tell. With an open heart and a serene mind, BélO opens up to us at the end of his 18th birthday. He describes his musical journey as an interesting journey, marked by an atypical itinerary and many risks. He knew how to combine social and commercial music, using his art as a means to convey messages.
As a self-taught musician, he recognizes his success in the Haitian music scene, particularly in composition and writing. His fame, comparable to that of eminent musicians, amply validates his eighteen-year career.
In the face of criticism and disappointment, BélO takes a philosophical approach, acknowledging the existence of constructive and destructive criticism. “I accept them all, staying true to my personal vision, without trying to please everyone, because that would be impossible. This posture may seem to make me insensitive to my surroundings, but I remain focused on my mission and my goals,” he says, admitting, however, that a criticism pushed him to learn to play an instrument, which marked a turning point in his career. A friend and mentor made him aware of the monotony of his music, prompting him to explore tonality and diversify his musical skills. Learning to play the guitar turned a weakness into a strength, teaching him that well-received criticism can lead to positive development and significant improvements.
BélO compares the evolution of his career to a jigsaw puzzle. “Quite often others don’t understand some of my choices, but maybe at the end of my career, the whole thing will make sense of those decisions,” he dares to hope, determined to follow his own path and make decisions aligned with his artistic goals.
Among the elements that have forged his career, BélO admits that collaborations have played a significant role in the evolution of his musical style. The artist emphasizes the importance of each artistic encounter. “My musical style is a real cocktail,” he insists. For him, music is a collaborative art, and the input of other artists has been crucial in developing his style.
“I had the essence in me, but the contribution of Fabrice Rouzier, Kéké Bélizaire, Eric Charles, and the meeting with Andy Barreau gave shape to my musical style. I only mention these names, but people like Guichard Bonat have also influenced my work and evolved my musical style,” he says.
In this way, Bélo expresses his gratitude to all those who have contributed to his evolution. The band Soleil Sound is the first team he wants to thank, as well as his friends from Mega Boys, with whom he started. “I am grateful because I am aware of the role that all these people have played in the success of BélO. The list is long, with people at different levels who have been important in my career, such as Fabrice Rouzier, Kéké Bélizaire, Jean Marc Apollon, Ticket, who have really helped the project come to fruition. Going back to the beginning, I have to mention Mega Boys, as well as my students at school who encouraged me, Sanon Lamour, Steeve K., Vladimir from the group So Cute, Wendy Barreau, not to mention my management team, my brother Charlot Murat, Harry Luc, Cynthia Kahara, Karl Léger, my family and the press for their unconditional support, and the fans and friends thanks to whom, After 18 years, we still exist.
Also, key moments punctuate these eighteen years, such as the RFI Discoveries prize, the launch of the album “Lakou Trankil”, his concert in Cameroon at the Mbappe Leppe stadium, and his tour in South America. In particular, his performance in Argentina at the Del Bosque festival in front of 65,000 people and also his appearance on the show “Vive Dimanche” in Paris remain etched in his memory, testifying to the impact of his music and his ability to reach an international audience. “My time on Vive Dimanche was like a tornado coming at me; I flew from New York to Paris to go straight to a television set and I had no idea what it was until it invaded the French-speaking world,” he recalls.
As far as his discography is concerned, he finds it difficult to choose among his titles those that have particularly marked him. “I have a special connection with every sound I’ve produced, each one tells a story, and it’s always a pleasure to share that with my audience,” he says.
As the saying goes, there are no roses without thorns, there has been no shortage of challenges in her career. BélO does not hide the challenges he faced, evoking difficult periods after his marriage and during the Covid-19 pandemic, hardships that hardened him. “After I got married, I went through a very difficult time because, although it was a personal decision, it still affected my career. And then there was Covid-19. These obstacles have made me wiser, as they always say, anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
After eighteen years, BélO continues to innovate, explore new musical horizons and commit to positive change through his music. His journey is a testament to the life of a contemporary artist, combining talent, vision and commitment to his community and his art. His vision of the future is thoughtful: for him, life is so dynamic that it often holds great changes that have not yet been noticed. His words reflect a philosophy of life that embraces change and the unexpected, an approach that is vital in the ever-changing world of music. To young artists, he advises them to remain authentic and not be afraid to assert themselves as they are. Just like he did back then. Instead of conforming to established standards, he chose to embrace his own voice, a quality that became his distinct strength for a career that continues to this day.