Jay Sean is the comeback king.
I’ve known him for years, from way back when he started as a rapper in a duo called ‘’Compulsive Disorder’ in Southall- yes really- to his MTV solo R&B singer days, to his UK signing at a label, to his UK departure from his label, to his American international big signing, to that departure, but like a phoenix that roses from the flames you can never hold passion and ambition down.
This fortnight he flew back home to the UK with his gorgeous wife (who’s a power player in the fitness game herself!), and their young daughter, to see his family and reconnect with the UK’s media. For a whole week he was everywhere from Radio 1, Capital, TV, radio, print press, blogs, vlogs and more. This guy’s team has his media game tight.
His single MAKE MY LOVE GO , that’s all over the radio and online currently is a duet with Sean Paul, a cover of the old Maxi Priest classic ‘’close to you’’. We caught up with Jay to get the lowdown on new music.
‘’Make My Love Go is a song that I wrote probably about 8 months ago now and it was a song that came about because that day I happened to be listening to… I was just having a little party in my car on the way to the studio, I happened to listen to a lot of old bashment, reggae, dance hall records from here and I just felt some type of wave when I got into the studio: I was like man that music was so sick like, I would love to use like a little vibe like that in one of my songs so I went into the studio and I said: guys we’re doing a dancehall record today. They were like dance – ok. I was like: no lets make it sexy and lets make people move. So of course by the time it was finished, we were like oh man I should totally give this to Sean right now. So I called up Sean Paul and I was like: Sean, I think we got another one bro, I really got a good feeling about this one. And that’s it, he loved it, he hopped straight onto it and next thing you know its my next single!’’.
Of course over the last couple of years, I haven’t just been at home twiddeling my thumbs, I’ve been in the studio like a mad man, but just silently getting on with it. Just creating different vibes, different feelings, I’m trying to create songs that can be timeless so they are not based on something that is hot right now. And that’s really a hard thing to do so I’ve been writing songs like that and I have a tonne of stuff like that, so you can expect a lot more music from me.
Regards Jay’s upcoming new album he didn’t give much away ‘’You know I’m a fan of collaborations and so definitely some really cool names and maybe some unexpected names in there too and nothing sadly that I can tell you about now’’.
WITH ZAYN MALIK AND NAUGHTY BOY CONTINUEING TO FLY THE FLAG FOR ASIAN ACTS IN THE MAINSTREAM WORLDWIDE, HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
I’m so proud every time I see a brown faced do something in music right now and not because I’m trying to like, not on a racial thing, but more for a case of how hard it was for me to try and break down a few stereotypes and all those things that held me back from being an artist. We are in a day and age now where I think people look past a lot of that. Everybody knows what Asians are like, we know that Asians do more than just studying hard and we know Asians can go out on dates without having to get married to them. We know all of these things, we know Asians can be funny, we know Russel B. all these people, Aziz and Sari, we’ve seen a lot of people come forward and we know that Asians can see and produce music, they’ve seen me do it, they’ve seen Zayne Malik do it, they’ve seen Naughty Boy do it, Richie Rich, we all have had a lot of commercial success so every time I see them doing it, it just makes me proud, it makes me happy. The same way that Asians feel proud of me when I came up, is the same pride I feel for people like Zayn.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE ASIAN LADIES…?
I’ve been asked so many times why aren’t there more asian female artists in the music industry, in the mainstream music industry and I don’t think there is any one answer, you can’t say because their not good looking enough, that’s not true, Sonna Rele is gorgeous; it’s not because they can’t sing, she can sing her arse off more than anybody else can but she’s pretty much the only person I can name, that I know who’s off my radar and that’s because A I know her personally and B she got signed to Neyo but I don’t know why there’s not more. I don’t know why, I know that there’s girls out there who can sing amazingly, like I said, they look great, they can dance, they can do all of that, maybe it just really comes down to the song, honestly I’ve just said it comes down to the song. The reason why I’m back is because people like my new song, I could come back with a song that they don’t like that much and they’ll be like: oh I don’t know.
But I think you just have to connect.
ONE BIG MUSIC GENRE THAT’S BLOWN UP IN THE UK SINCE YOU’VE BEEN LIVING IN THE USA IS AFROBEATS…..
Afrobeats doesn’t exist in New York, Afrobeats doesn’t exist in America, it exists in certain parts of LA and certain parts of New York. The cool hipster places they know what’s up, just like they also know about the grime scene but on a mainstream level, it doesn’t. What I’m always trying to do to be honest with you is to push that forward. I have songs that if they pop off in America that will put England on the map on a whole other way and that’s what I’m trying to do, is moving a scene forward. That would be the biggest achievement for me if I could do that
RECENTLY THERES BEEN TALK OF MANY MUSIC ACTS OR CELEBRITIES CULTURALLY APPROPRIATING…..FOR EXAMPLE BEYONCE WEARING INDIAN COSTUME IN COLDPLAYS VIDEO, MILEY CYRUS SUPPOSEDLY INVENTING TWERKING AND THE KARDASHIANS INVENTING ‘’BOXER BRAIDS’’….IS IT CULTURAL APPROPRIATION OR CELEBRATING CULTURES?
I am all for anything that is entertaining, because at the end of the day the world that we live in right now is all about entertainment, it really is. And it used to be about talent first in this industry but it’s not that so much now because like I said if we have a got a 100 great singers, what sets them all apart? If there is some odd particular reason because he or she is quirky or they’ve got a good fashion sense or because they do this and they bring this culture into their thing, great I’m all for it. I’m all for expression, that’s it. Whatever, if you can pull that off and that’s really you, good luck to you.
SO MANY INTERNATIONAL MUSIC ACTS SEEM TO BE LOOKING TO THE UK FOR MUSICAL INSPIRATION THESE DAYS, HOW MUCH RESPECT DO YOU THINK BRITISH HIPHOP AND R&B GETS ABROAD?
Hip Hop and RnB scene grow and blossom. I can’t even tell you, when I started off in the music industry, I started off as a rapper when I was 14/15 years old, I started off as a rapper and people were like there is no scene man as a rapper. There was Black Twang, there was BB1, there was Funky DL, there weren’t hardly any acts, it didn’t exist and now all of the sudden we’ve got a whole scene it’s amazing, it’s incredible. And the thing about that scene, they’re not trying to be like Drake, they’re not trying to be like Future, they might listen to all of that. They do their own thing, that’s why it exists and that’s why it’s working because they stay true to themselves and that’s it. And that’s that is what I love about it.
ONE THING THAT WE ARE LAUGHING ABOUT NOW IS LYRICAL CONTENT AND UNDERSTANDING. WITH ACTS LIKE YG, FUTURE AND RIHANNA’S LATEST HIT ‘’WORK’’ ALL BEING CATCHY YET BARELY COMPREHENSIABLE IS IT ALL ABOUT THE HOOK AND MELODY- DO WE CARE ABOUT SONG WORDS ANY MORE?
I can tell you Michael Jackson is the perfect example, can anybody tell me what he says in: don’t stop till you get enough. Nobody knows. They don’t know but he’s just a vibe, he’s just singing, it’s a vibe. Nobody knows what he’s saying. Nobody knows what Future is saying ever! Nobody knows what Young Doug is saying ever! And until I covered work, none of my friends knew what Rihanna was saying either, but I heard work and immediately I was like that’s a smash, and I knew it because it’s a vibe and also it depends on the kind of song, all of those songs, what are they? They’re not ballads, they’re not songs you want to pay attention to and listen to the lyrics, they are tunes that you can dance to. So when you’re in a club and you’re drunk and the music coming on, you’re moving, you aint going like: oh my god, what a beautiful sentiment. You don’t go like: Oh did you hear what he said. You’re not thinking like that! You’re like aaeh yeah let’s go boom boom boom and that’s it, its just fun and you’re going with the vibe, so in those kind of songs, I don’t think lyrics matter. I’ve written songs with the most generic lyrics in the world but I did that intentionally because I knew that song didn’t need a deep sentiment, it just meant that people want to sing something and have fun, then I write other songs that are deep sentiments and ballads that will make you cry if you listen to the lyrics, that’s when its important.
Jay Sean is a big champion of his London hometown, so to end, we hit him with some quick faire London love questions.
WHERE IS THE FIRST PLACE YOU GO TO WHEN YOU FLY BACK TO LONDON?
First place I have to go back to when I land in London, standard is my mum and dad’s house, there is no way on earth I could land here and not go and see my mum and dad first. Because A I’m Indian and B that means (SLAP) around the face: How are you going to come to England and not see your mum?
So of course I have to go and see my mum and she will give me some nice Indian tea and make me a nice little omelette and do everything else I need to get done. Any clothes that I need. It’s beautiful. I miss them man, they are my only family.
TELL US ABOUT GROWING UP IN LONDON.
I was born in Hillingdon and I grew up in Southhall and then moved to Hounslow but I went to school in Hammersmith, Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, so it was very important that was being able to growing up in that area where it is very Asian in terms of its demographic but then going to school with non-Asians so that way, look you’re growing up with all walks of life that is very very important to me, to be able to get on with different people that it’s important.
THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE LONDON EATERIES?
Favourite restaurant or best meal, depends, I love going out, eating out in Knightsbridge, Kensington places like that, I’m actually going to Nobu tonight, so I do really like Nobu, Hakkassan, is also a big favourite of mine, Maroush, any Maroush restaurant I like.
FAVE LONDON SPOT TO RELAX IN WITH PALS?
In London definitely again I probably go down to Edgware Road, have some shisha, get a little drink and wine out over there.
IF YOU COULD LIVE IN ANY LONDON BUILDING WHICH WOULD IT BE?
Really now it would be number one Hyde park, you can’t get any better than that.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE MAYOR FOR THE DAY?
If I was Mayor of London for the day, I know I would let everybody ride around on quad bikes and I think imagine how fun that would be with one of those quad bikes or go-karts. I’d get all the cars of the road and everybody can go round in go karts, that would be amazing, that’s been a dream of mine to be able to do that to be honest.
WHY IS LONDON THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD?
The reason why I think London is so special and no one can really mess with it like that, is that we definitely have our own little vibe that only Londoners understand. Even when it comes down to London sense of humour or fashion or anything like that, it’s just us, it’s very typically a London English thing, it’s very unique.