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Wyclef Jean

'Preach' To The Choir

WyclefAfter three solo albums and sales of more than 3 million units, Wyclef Jean decided it was time for a musical change in direction and a new label to take that shift home. Jean, whose first three albums were released on Columbia, inked an imprint deal with Clive Davis' J Records in 2000 for his Clef Records. Out this week is "The Preacher's Son," his debut for Clef/J.

Jean's track record with Davis is impressive. The two first worked together on "Maria, Maria," the second single from Santana's "Supernatural," which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Davis and Jean later re-teamed for the title track to Whitney Houston's 1998 album, "My Love Is Your Love," which peaked at No. 4 on the same chart.

Once Jean signed with the label, it didn't take him long to craft songs for "The Preacher's Son."

"Three or four weeks after I signed, I went to Clive and told him I had the album done and ready to play for him," he says. "I had 50 joints; he just had to pick. After that, we got into the creative aspect of what I was trying to say on one record and how we could make another record more of an event. My cousin [producer] Jerry Wonder and I worked on the record, and Clive played a serious role in helping us facilitate a more focused direction, so it wasn't all over the place."