Brun on verge of 'breakout' year

Jan Garrison

After 10 years in music business


May 13, 2022

Michael Brun ’10 will be kicking off his Bayo tour in Boston on Friday, May 20. The next night, he will be in New York and then Miami on the 22nd. The D.J. and producer is taking 25 artists with him, most of them from his native Haiti or of Haitian descent, to expose more people to the music coming from the island.

The show is based on the spontaneous parties that happen throughout the streets of Haiti, opening spaces for people to set up speakers, dance and enjoy themselves.

“These are a variety of artists,” Brun said. “Music is an international business. Some of the biggest Haitian superstars of today are going to be there. And I am bringing some surprise guests, but I haven’t announced who yet. It’s a surprise.”

Brun has been working with some of the biggest names in the business, including Ed Sheeran, J. Balvin, and fellow Haitian J. Perry. He has also talked with Haitian music legend Wyclef Jean. Jean paid Brun some high praise on Twitter, saying he was proud “to pass the torch to the next generation, my brother Michael Brun.”

“It was such an honor,” Brun said. “I’m grateful and I take it as a responsibility to try and create as much good with my career as I can.”

People are saying Brun is experiencing his breakout year. But his professional career now spans 11 years.

“I think it just happens to be that this is the year where a lot of big moments are happening close together,” he explained. “I think there’s always this saying about breakout years or overnight successes. My overnight success has taken 10 years.”

Michael (right) and his brother, Pascal '12, visited campus on Diversity Day in 2016. Pascal, a West Point graduate, addressed students during an all-school meeting and Michael performed at "Lakestock" that evening (top photo). Camilo Morales photos

“That’s what it feels like is happening,” Brun added. “But if you’ve been following me, you know I’ve working on stuff for a very long time and it just happens to be connecting with the general public now.

His career can be traced back to Culver Academies, where he played several dances, including the Beason Halloween party. He attend Davidson College to pursue a medical degree. But he asked to leave after a year so he could pursue his passion in music. The college agreed, saying it would hold an open spot for him.

“Now they list me as a notable alum,” he laughed.

There are many successes to acknowledge in his career. Highlights include playing the Coachella and Ultra music festivals. He released “Wherever I Go” with The Audio Institute in 2016 and “BAYO” with J. Perry, Strong G., and Baky in 2018. His first collaboration with Balvin, the single “Positivo,” became the theme song for the 2018 FIFA World Cup broadcasts. And, in 2019, he released his first album, “Lokal.”

When Balvin released his album “Colores,” Brun produced three of the songs. The album won a Latin Grammy Award. The song “Azul” went five-times platinum and the other two, “Gris” and “Arcoíris,” each went double platinum, giving Brun a total nine platinum records. “Which is kind of crazy to me,” he said.

And Brun co-produced “Forever My Love,” the track with Sheeran and Balvin. That song rocketed to the top of the Billboard charts when it was released on March 24. “That was my first U.S. No. 1.”

While everything appears to be hitting at once, Brun has been working on these projects for some time. When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, he was already in the process of working on 14 to 15 new projects. One of those was the song with Sheeran and Balvin.

Michael and Pacal came back for the graduation of their sister, Hannah (Gabby), in May.

What people are seeing now are the fruits of that labor, he said. He was able to continue working by exchanging digital files with the various artists. “Surprisingly, I spent a lot of time working in person with people in the second half of the pandemic.”

Many of the songs people are hearing now were made about a year ago, he said. They started working on the Sheeran/Balvin collaboration late last year. “We’ve been working on it for months,” he said. “But that’s how I’ve been able to do as much as I do. It was not an instant thing.”

He has traveled to every continent except Australia during this time. Even with all the travel restrictions imposed by COVID, Brun has still crisscrossed the United States, gone over the boarder to Canada, and worked with artists in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. “And I have a Haitian passport on top of that.”

He and brother Pascal ’12 did find time to come back to Culver last year to attend the graduation of their sister, Hannah ’21. They were representing the family while their mother, Sharon, was battling cancer. “She’s cancer-free now,” Brun added. “I am so grateful.”

For the past nine months, he has been working on the Bayo tour. The artists are in rehearsals in New York since Brun is based out of Brooklyn. More than 10,000 people will attend the three shows, he said. “It’s really important because it’s about creating as much focus on Haitian culture as possible.”

The Bayo tour, though, will just be the start of a busy summer. He has been working on a new album “for a few years” that is almost ready for release, and there will be a tour to support that. Then he also has work with other artists that is nearing completion.

“You’re going to be seeing my name a lot,” Brun said. “It is going to pop up a lot.”

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