From London to New York to Mumbai, and every place you can think of in between, British Pop sensation, Jay Sean has made a home for himself in the hearts of millions of people across the world. Not only is he a well-renowned and well-respected singer, he’s also a role model and style icon to hundreds of thousands people from the young Desi generation.
Jay Sean has become the first male South Asian artist to land a deal with a major mainstream label - Cash Money Records, founded in 1991 by brothers Bryan "Birdman" Williams and Ronald "Slim" Williams. Cash Money, who has brought you remarkable artists such as Birdman, Bow Wow, Drake, Lil Wayne, and Kevin Rudolf, to name a few, recently dropped Jay’s first single in the U.S., “Down,” featuring Cash Money’s very own Lil Wayne.
No pun intended, ‘Down’ didn’t fall short of anything on the charts - it rocked iTunes, reaching the #2 spot and even hit the #6 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Irony or sarcasm - call it what you may, but for an artist like Jay Sean to surpass some of the more ‘popular’ artists in America, is just the very beginning of his takeover.
Sugar Tuesday is proud to present to you, an exclusive and inside look at the life and style of singing sensation Jay Sean.
When looking back at yourself as a singer, what is one of the very first memories you have of you singing?
It would probably be when my family used to make me sing in the middle of the room as their post-dinner entertainment. And I used to get so embarrassed that I'd sing from behind the sofa.
You’ve released two albums so far and a third is in progress. What is the biggest way you feel your music has evolved over the years and into this new album?
I believe that the songs and my vocals have matured and improved a lot, as a result of my constant desire to better myself and my craft. I put absolutely everything into what I do.
How do you approach songwriting? Is it collaborative, or does it depend on the song?
It depends…some songs I have written with just me and the producer, others I might write with my boy Jared Cotter. Depends on the vibe!
Tell us a little bit about your new album, “All Or Nothing.” What are your favorite tracks on the new album? What ‘sound’ are you trying to get across?
There is no "sound". I believe that "sounds" get old and tired and eventually dated so they won't stand the test of time. A great SONG is a great SONG forever. That's what I tried to do on this album.
What do you hope your fans take from listening to the new album once it’s out?
I hope this can be an album they can bump from start to finish without having to skip a track. Every song is special to me and I hope it is to them too.
What or who would you define as your biggest influences, both lyrically and musically, when working on this new album?
I went back and listened to my favorite artists from back in the days when I fell in love with music: Jodeci, Blackstreet, Boyz 2 Men, Ne-yo, Michael Jackson.
One of the most anticipated songs from the new album is undoubtedly, “Down,” featuring your label-mate Lil Wayne. Tell us all about it, from recording to the video!
Well it started off as a fun session of just messing around in the studio. It came easily which was a good sign…and was written and recorded within 2 hours. Wayne heard it and loved it and put his verse on it and within a couple weeks we were shooting the video. Half done in the UK and the rest in Miami. It was amazing.
Before “Down” was released, you were featured on Birdman’s track, “Written on Her.” Tell us how this collaboration came about.
Birdman sent me the song and said put a hook down, we think this is a smash. I couldn't agree more! It’s a big record!
Now there are rumors about possibly collaborating with Drake on your next single. Can you shed some light onto this!
Waaaaait and seeeeeee!!! Let some things be a surprise!
Speaking about collaborations, who else would you like to work with that you already haven’t?
Beyonce, Rihanna, Ne-yo, Justin Timberlake , Jay-Z, Eminem…The list is endless.
This past summer, you were in NYC for the 63rd annual India Day Parade. You were seen on the float, singing and signing autographs for fans, and your posters were all over the place. Tell us how this experience has been for you.
It was unbelievable, the fans were so die hard and loyal – they partied with my float from start to finish, shouting screaming and nearly getting run over by the truck! NYPD had to be there. That was pretty nuts.
Jay, you and I both know this - you’re adored by the ladies. I’ll admit it too, I love you to death! You’re beyond amazing when it comes to your vocal skills, but it’s those drop-dead looks which grab the girls more than anything. What has been one of the craziest experiences that you’ve faced with a female fan?
Haha! Thank you that's very flattering - check's in the mail! The girls always bring life and "nuttiness" at the shows, which creates the vibe for me. Some girls go nutso. I've had bras chucked on stage, girls jump on my back during performances, chase my car and jump on the roof of it and had girls sleep in the hallways of the hotel to find me when I check out. Yeah they can be pretty crazy sometimes!
What about the ones that just start crying when they see you?! How do you calm them down or react to that?
I just hug them real tight and give them a little extra love. That always touches me. To think you can have that kind of impact on someone to make them cry by meeting you is a blessing and a privilege and very humbling to me. I try to always give them back as much.
Well, I’ll skip out on the one question people want to know…but, I won’t skip out on this! Are you the romantic type? Are you the one to always spoil a girl? What makes Jay Sean the best boyfriend?
I am romantic. And I don't care about looking like a chump in front my guy friends if they catch me being "sappy" with my girl. I am who I am all the time. I don't want to be someone different in front of my girl. I'm silly and like to joke around a lot, I really am not the serious type. I act [like] a fool a lot. I love to laugh and I love my girl to laugh. We'll have fun. That's what life is about isn't it? To be happy? So yeah, I spoil her, I don't care. Live life. That's what I like to do. But I'm no idiot, I can tell in a second if she's 'using' me…I ain’t into that.
Now onto the guy fans! I don’t expect anything crazy on this topic, but the guys do look up to you, not only as a role model, but also a style icon. What is your definition of ‘style’?
To be "you". Do you. Do what makes you feel good and wear what makes you feel confident. Even if people think you look a fool…if you feel good, that's what matters.
What is your individual style?
I like to have a slick, sharp, suited look for stage…bespoke suits and shirts etc. But casual I rock more of a relaxed, jeans and tee look.
If you could be styled by any celebrity designer, who would it be and why?
D&G dress me a lot at the moment and I love their clothes. The range, the fit, the style is so on point with what I like and wear.
You're an artist who has broken the norms of being a 'South Asian artist.' You've accomplished so much at a young age. Do you think that you've reached success?
I think I have definitely had a lot of success up to date, but I have a long, long way to go. And even then I will never rest on my laurels. Michael Jackson didn't stop until it was his time to go. I never want to stop trying to better my success.
What advice do you have for those who want to make a career in the music industry?
Dream big, work hard and if you get knocked down, get back up and fight again. Have faith.
Taking a look at your past, do you ever wonder if you would be singing today had you continued with medical school?
I would probably be singing as a pastime and a passion, but no way is it possible to do both careers at the same time! They are obviously both 24 hour jobs.
With shows such as American Idol looking for the next 'big thing,' do you think they are truly showcasing people's talents, or are these shows merely popular because of their drama and intensity?
A mixture of both. True talent has been found on these shows that have lasted, like Jordin Sparks and Leona Lewis. But I do believe we like to watch them because of the drama and of course the outtakes of the truly horrendous auditions.
Do you have any final words for the readers of Sugar Tuesday and your fans?
Thank you, thank you and thank you for all your support, without my fans I am nothing, so I appreciate all your love and support! Watch out for album coming Nov 24th. And follow me on www.twitter.com/jaysean. It’s really me!!
Jay Sean was photographed for Sugar Tuesday in New York City by Photographer Matt Salacuse, and styled by Valissa Yoe. Jay is wearing a Moschino jacket, Gucci sunglasses, Love Brigade jeans and sneakers.
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