Guestlist

Issue 36 - Feb 2012

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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34 HIP HOP / R&B JAY SEAN First UK urban artist and first South Asian to reach number one in the US Billboard's Top 100, this pioneer is multi-platinum, poised to release his third album, he is more than big. Mr Wondah mrwondah@guestlist.net We're here with Jay Sean, one of the biggest artists of his generation. Wow! Thank you, brother. You did all the hard work. Respect. You're representing three continents. Do you feel added pressure? I don't feel pressure. Maybe I should. I'm just enjoying it. I think the moment you start to feel pressure you stop enjoying it. I don't like the idea of that. It's good to see you take things in your stride. That's to your credit really. I work hard. I have faith in myself. I have faith in my fans. I think that's all you really need 'cause you can start over-thinking things too much, man. Then it gets messy. I mean you just want to enjoy it. Alright… Okay, well you're signed to Cash Money, you've got another album coming out. The tings kinda hot right now. But let's rewind a bit. What were your early inspirations? What made you decide that it was music you wanted to do? I grew up loving music. I don't know how or why it happened. I just grew up having a massive love for music from a very young age. Around the age of eleven I started getting into hip- hop. It started with MTV Raps. I became obsessed. From hip- hop I got into beat boxing. From beat boxing I got into rhyming. Then I started writing lyrics. Then I somehow discovered I had a voice. I started writing and singing songs. Then it just became a hobby of mine. But even though I was studying, I couldn't give up the music. I was just obsessed with it. Wow. You had albums out already – Me Against Myself, My Own Way – but it was the single 'Ride It' that really broke you. That was when things really took off to another level. I understand that was what got you signed to Cash Money. It did. 'Ride It' was actually the first song on I did on my own label. I left Virgin Records because I saw my music moving in a different direction, and with Virgin it was heading in a direction I didn't want it to. I was like 'I didn't leave medicine for no reason, just to do this kind of music that you're trying to make me do.' I was like 'I know what I want to do.' And the moment I did it the streets took to it. It was the street's decision, not mine. I didn't even have a video for the track until I realised that the song had been leaked onto YouTube and there were millions of views. I was like 'Wow, I've got to shoot a video for this'. We shot the video. That got 20 million hits and then radio wanted it. Then it got to number 11 in the charts… all on my own label. Then that song got discovered by America and by Cash Money. They kept calling me Mr Rider. They were like 'Who's this Mr Rider, man?' (laugh). 'We need to meet this Mr Rider.' So that's how they met me. From there they took me on. People might not realise that you're a very talented songwriter as well as a performer. You've won the BMI songwriter's award. What really inspires you to write? And how do you write all of your songs and still keep them fresh? What I've noticed in music game is that the people who last the longest are those who change with the times. MJ… he changed with the times. Moving with the times. That's what he did. Madonna. She changed with the times too. These are the people that last in the game. I was like 'I write my songs. It's always gonna be a Jay Sean song'. The same with Ne-Yo. It's always Ne-Yo's melodies, Ne-Yo's lyrics, but the music is always very different. That's what it takes to stay ahead of the game. When you got onto Cash Money you released 'Down'. Obviously that's where you made history. The first person of South Asian descent to hit number 1 in the billboard 100. What's the story behind that tune? Well, Down came at a point where we weren't looking at the charts, looking at music to see where it was at. We just did something different. At the time, when I came over to America, I was a fresh voice on radio. Chris was on a break. Usher was on a break. The lane was clear. Then of course things started popping off. But then everyone came back and I was like 'Aww shit' (laugh). For me it was a great time in history. Since your success, how have you grown as an artist performance wise? It's a very different show now. I've done what feels like thousands and thousands of shows. One thing that always remains consistent is that if I don't give them me, I might as well be a CD. I need to give them something extra. I need to let my personality shine through. That's the only way you can connect with the audience. That's the only way they'll go home thinking 'I learnt a little bit about Jay Sean today.' These people are paying money to see you live. They want to be entertained. You need to give them yourself. That's a good show. In the UK I always try to give the crowd something a bit extra. You know, songs that I've never performed before… that sort of thing. The band I've got are sick. They're so tight. The whole thing is ridiculous. You've collaborated with quite a few people: Lil Wayne, Drake. What's it like collaborating with this calibre of artist? There's a reason why collaborations are interesting to me. If you have an artist like Monet and another like Picasso, they're both great individually, but it's like 'I wonder what would happen if we put them together. What would they come up with?' That's why I love collaborations. What can we expect from the new album? The reason I put out The Mistress mixtape was to highlight the r&b flavour people should expect from the new album. I know my fans love my r&b music. But people also know I like my up-tempo feel goods, so they know I'm gonna give them some of that too. I wanna give my fans a bit of everything on this album. Issue 36 / FEBRUARY 2012 'I grew up loving music. I don't know how or why it happened.' For the latest on Jay Sean and his music visit www.jaysean.com/

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