It’s hard for a Montreal artist to be downhearted when his dreams lead him to discover magical corners of the globe – such as the North African nation of Morocco. Indeed, his years spent working there went a long way towards letting B.U realize his crazy childhood dreams of rap stardom.
This Quebec-Haitian singer-songwriter, whose name stands for “Be Yourself”, has been at the music game for a while. Known primarily as a rapper, he also delves into multiple other musical traditions. The “big band” aspect of his stage show adds spice and variety to his rap stylings.
First and foremost, B.U knows what it takes to make a good song. From the outset of his career he’s worked with major radio stations as well as with film and TV soundtrack producers to create catchy, relatable compositions. He’s rocked the mike on a number of major stages – exceptional for an artist who’s never put out an album. Among his biggest concert successes: appearances at the Montreal International Jazz Festival; the Festival national des arts populaires de Marrakech, Morocco, where he performed 70 concerts in 2 years; and the Festival XXL in Bobigny, a suburb of Paris.
B.U is one of the rare Quebec rap stars who has landed contracts for TV and radio work. Don’t get the wrong impression: musical success hasn’t come easy. He’s had to overcome plenty of adversity in his life. He’s taken on great personal financial risk in producing his own material. He’s spent many a winter night without hot water and electricity, dreaming of better days ahead.
His big break came when he traveled to Morocco, where he got his first taste of success. All the sacrifice, the suffering, the debts, had been worth it. The road to victory is paved with sweat and tears. In Morocco, he found himself in perfect sync with the universe; he found his place.
All the peaks in B.U’s career have been separated by long valleys of financial hardship. “It’s as if the good Lord taps you on the back so you know he’s looking out for you,” he says. He recalls being flat broke when he collaborated on a project with Akon, Freeman from the group 1 Am and Elephant Man. His pockets were also empty when he worked on the soundtrack of a tribute to Muhammad Ali, and when he worked on Guillaume Blanchet’s short film Bounce, which won a prize at Cannes.
Thanks to his past, his lyrics explore themes of hope and perseverance. He inspires his fans to overcome any obstacle. His message: the biggest falls can lead to buried treasure.
Today B.U finds himself a respected, established artist both at home and abroad. Nonetheless, he’s always finding new publics to entice and enchant. He has plans to help improve some of the harsher realities of Quebec’s urban music scene. His ambition is to give local talent a chance, a real window on the world, be it in hip-hop, reggae, soul or house.
Lucky for us that B.U’s musical route includes monthly stops at the Bistro Le Ste-Cath, where he performs an acoustic show.