With her head shaved, Haiti-singer Rutshelle Guillaume defies beauty standards and mane-growing expectations. Listen, she’s not conventional by the thesaurus definition of the word. Last year when she released her debut album, she wore a robe with symmetrical designs for a music video for “Kite’m Kriye”, one of the songs on her album. Her full lips, painted with fuschia lipstick, mouthed the empowering lyrics, while she stared boldly at her reflection in the mirror.
So, without further ado, here is singer Rutshelle Guillaume discussing music, Haiti’s music scene, and dating Roody Roodboy, an artist who’s also based in Haiti. Read on…
K. St. Fort: The last time we did an interview, you had just released your album. What’s up with the album?
My first album—which is calledEmotions—has been really working. I have a great connection with my fans, especially when I play live. It is always almost a shock when they started signing every word of my song which is a great feeling. I cannot complain [about] how my album is working out here. I am grateful.
K. St. Fort: Do you already have another album on the horizon?
I am still pushing my first album, but I am now working on my next one. I am working with some great people so I can deliver a great product.
K. St. Fort: You had said that you didn’t participate in the writing and composing of the Emotions album. Will things be different the next time around?
No. I did participate greatly in my first album. Text arrangements, lyrics, melody etc…of course with the help of people like BIC and Poppy Duverne ect… As for the next album, so far, I have a song that I wrote called “Pa kite mounn yo” [Don’t Let Those Folks]. I cannot wait to share it with my fans. I will be more present in the next project so my fans can have the best of me.
K. St. Fort: Are you happy pretty much with the way your career is going?
I am very happy with career and where I am in life. I have encountered some obstacles but I will never allow the mosquito kill the elephant. I try to take any negative and turn it into a positive outcome in order to move forward.
K. St. Fort: How’s the entertainment scene in Haiti right now?
We have high and low seasons in this business. One has to find a way during slow season to stay relevant as an artist…making videos, having a collaboration in order to avoid getting hit by the slow season.
Right: The singer in top form. [Photo Credit: Jumenes Mike Coreus/Dezobri]
K. St. Fort: If you were to make a list of five people who’ve helped you advance in your career, who would figure on the list?
Oh, I have more than just five…and they all know who they are and what they did for me. They do know how grateful I am too.
K. St. Fort: You had said in your last interview that you didn’t feel a particular camaderie with the other female singers? What about now, do you still feel that way?
Well, I work with a lot of young artists like myself. It is hard to have all of them as friends. But I can count on one hand the very few I can call “friends”. The very few ones I can actually call “friend”, I would not trade them for anything.
K. St. Fort: When someone examines your presence on the internet, they can observe that you share a great deal of your personal life. From what you can see and have observed, what are the plus and minuses of doing so?
I never wanted to make my private life public. It just happened. As an artist, you might try the best you can to be private,[but] a part of your life will be exposed…somehow.
K. St. Fort: Out of all the relationships you’ve had in your life, which has been the best and which has hurt you the most?
My best relationship is obviously the one I am in right now [with Roody Roodboy]. If I am not longer with an ex, it’s because things didn’t work out. I don’t dwell on anything. Everything that happens in my life is a lesson–not a regret.
K. St. Fort: Have you ever been in an abusive relationship, whether physically or mentally?
Fortunately, no. I have not been exposed to anything [like that].
K. St. Fort: In the life of any entertainer, there’s difficult moments. What’s the most trying moment you’ve had to endure?
Not that I haven’t had trials and tribulations…luckily, I always get up and keep fighting. I’ve never had a catastrophe happen for it to mark me. I let go and let God [handle it].
K. St. Fort: What would you say to someone who’s new to the scene, on how to handle being an artist?
It’s a tough world out there. People will try to block you out [of] fear. They will come at you. Don’t let them take you down. Keep your focus. Remember why you entered this business. Always remember your purpose. It will keep you going.
K. St. Fort: What would the Rutshelle of today tell the Rutshelle of yesterday in terms of being a celebrity?
They’ll say good things about you. They’ll say bad things about you. What matters is that they’re talking about you. People will talk, let them. Don’t lose focus.
Above: The singer dons a pose. [Photo Credit: Jumenes Mike Coreus/Dezobri]
K. St. Fort: God forbid, but if you were to die tonight, what would you feel the proudest about…what would you feel is your ultimate legacy?
Being a great mother…That is really my proudest achievement. My daughter has allowed me to be such a better human, a better woman, just better.
K. St. Fort: What are some of the things you’re hoping to accomplish in your career and in your life overall in the next five years?
Work on my second album. I would like for my music to go further and for me to be able to tour internationally.