- Raised by his aunt and uncle in Haiti from ages 2 to 9 after his parents immigrated to the U.S. in pursuit of a better life.
- Moved to Brooklyn with his parents when he was 9.
- Father was pastor at Newark's Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene.
- Played bass for his high-school swing choir.
- Formed the Tranzlator Crew, a rap group, with his cousin Prakazrel ("Pras") Michel and Lauryn Hill in the late '80s; they eventually renamed themselves the Fugees.
- Released his first solo album, the triple-platinum Carnival, in 1997.
- Wrote and produced hits for Destiny's Child, Whitney Houston, Carlos Santana and Shakira.
- Bought his parents their dream home with his first major paycheck.
- Began taking classes at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2009.
- Founded the Yéle Haiti charity to benefit the people of his native Haiti.
- Counts Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin and Yes among his favorite musical acts.