Haitian DJ and record producer Michael Brun is performing under the brightest lights of his young career. Along with Nigerian Afrobeat artist Mr. Eazi, he’s supporting superstar Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin’s Vibras Tour, which includes a stop at Miami’s American Airlines Arena this Sunday, October 28.
Speaking with New Times from New York, Brun says he’s played in front of some big audiences at music festivals, but doing it every night is a new and exciting challenge.
“It’s the first proper support tour I’ve ever done,” he says. “More than anything, you start to refine what you’re performing. You’re working in a set time frame. I have dancers that come on, and then I’ll perform with Mr. Eazi and then do some solo tracks. But it’s been about refining the show and getting it perfect…
“You also start seeing that even though you’re in a different city, there are certain things that people respond to — some songs are universal,” he continues. “That’s been really cool to see, and it’s really helped me to pick up on that energy and put it back in my music. I’ve been producing like crazy on this tour, making so much stuff based on what I’ve been seeing at the shows.”
The 25-year-old recently produced J Balvin’s Telemundo World Cup anthem, “Positivo,” and has official remixes for Alicia Keys, Maxwell, Calvin Harris, and Tiësto under his belt.
He’s also pioneering an innovative performance style he calls “Bayo,” blending the sound and energy of a Haitian street party with modern EDM. He headlined a sold-out, five-date tour of Bayo Block Parties earlier this summer, including a stop in Miami’s Little Haiti.
With his growing reach and influence, Brun is emerging as a musical ambassador for his home country.
“A long-term goal of mine is to make a career that is authentically Haitian but at the same time be received in the U.S.,” he says. “When people hear something new, they want to learn about it.”
The universality of dance music certainly helps Brun spread the word about Haitian culture. No matter the language of the lyrics, pretty much everyone responds to rhythm and bass. “Even if people don’t understand what’s being said, they understand the energy and melodies,” he says. “I think that’s really inspiring, because it’s making the world a lot more open.”
During his performances, Brun mans the decks while Mr. Eazi handles the mike, and they’re accompanied by a real-life rara band playing traditional Haitian instruments such as the vaccine, a cylindrical bamboo trumpet, as well as percussion such as maracas and güiros. Combined with the sheer spectacle of J Belvin’s cutting-edge stage production, Brun’s sets make the Vibras Tour a truly multicultural celebration.
“One of the things that drew us all together was how art can really transcend any border,” Brun says. “It also acts as a strength for our respective cultures. Speaking for Balvin and Eazi, representing Colombia and Nigeria, they have such similar visions of spreading the sounds of their culture. We all enjoy each other’s music and collaborate, and that’s a testament to the fact that we’re living in a connected world now.”
Vibras Tour. With J Balvin, Mr. Eazi, and Michael Brun. 8 p.m. Sunday, October 28, at American Airlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 786-777-1000, aaarena.com. Tickets cost $45.95 to $496 via ticketmaster.com.