Irvington resident Jean Louis looks to shine at MPAC show

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington resident Jean Louis is set to perform as a finalist at the 16th annual Morristown Onstage performance at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on March 1. Louis sat down for an interview on Saturday, Jan. 7, to discuss all the things that inspire him, why he sings and what he’s looking to share with the world through his upcoming performance.

“I just love music, period. Music makes you feel things; it can excite you or calm you down,” Louis told the Irvington Herald.

Louis grew up going to church and joined his local choir when he was 9 years old. An avid lover of music, he would regularly sing gospel, R&B and love songs, since he grew up listening to those genres at home. When Louis came to the United States from Mexico when he was 23 years old, he carried that love of music with him, joining a band called Bou-Ken-Djay. They would create songs and upload them to YouTube. Afterward, when Louis got married and had children, he decided to focus on finding a stable job and put his passion for music aside.

“I wanted to continue to pursue (music), but I had to handle my responsibilities when my kids were born,” Louis said.

Now, at the age of 51, Louis is reigniting his passion for music through his performance at the MPAC show. Louis’ performance will be one of 14 acts in the show.

“My goal is to make old become new. I want to perform songs that the new generation may not know about but can connect with, and bring people together,” Louis said.

Louis draws his inspiration for music from his culture and musical legends he grew up listening to, such as Neil Diamond and Gladys Knight.

“I love music that inspires, music saves lives and is from God,” Louis said. “I want to sing songs that are romantic and remind me of my childhood.”

Louis also has passions and interests outside of music.

“On top of music, I do photography, I love filmmaking,” Louis said. “I upload covers of songs to YouTube and explore music and recording.”

Louis takes inspiration from the places he has been and music he has listened to from all parts of the globe.

“I’m from Haiti; I grew up speaking Creole and French. I love Haitian music. I also grew up in Mexico and love Spanish music and want to better learn Spanish to sing it one day,” Louis said. “For this performance, I will be performing in French to celebrate my culture and background.”

Louis’ inspiration comes primarily from his childhood.

“Growing up in a Christian family largely shaped the type of music I listen to and love,” Louis said. “Living in Irvington, it was a busy town; my mother worked there for 20 years. It helped to inspire me, but my motivation and love for music comes from my background and from within.”

In terms of the future, Louis sees himself living a happy and contented life with his wife and children, doing the things about which he is passionate.

“I see myself living with my kids — they are currently in Georgia,” Louis said. “I also see myself continuing to upload and record myself covering and creating music. I have friends in the music industry, and I always say that I will record an album; one day I will.”

Louis is looking to showcase his enduring passion for music through his March 1 performance. Tickets to attend Morristown Onstage can be purchased at

Photos by Javon Ross