JAY SEAN ARTISTS
“The day we stop belly-laughing, being stupid and having fun in the studio is the day I don’t want to do this anymore.” 29-year-old pop/R&B singer Jay Sean is sitting in a Manhattan studio in Times Square, putting the finishing touches on Freeze Time, his sophomore album for Cash Money Records and fourth international studio album. “If I, or one of my writing partners, is in a bad mood,” he says, “Then it’s obvious we’re not writing anything that day. Period.” Recently, there hasn’t been much cause for bad moods— Multi-platinum albums around the world; Only male artist in the past 10 years to have two simultaneous Top 10 tracks; Numerous awards and monstrous singles, including the platinum-selling, Top 10 hit “Do You Remember”; And, of course, “Down,” the Lil Wayne-assisted song off 2009′s All or Nothing that became a worldwide hit. The track was embraced by hip-hop, pop and R&B fans in equal measure and made Jay Sean both the first UK urban act and first artist of South Asian descent to reach number one on the Hot 100 (as well as racking up nearly 70 million views on YouTube.) I’m curious if he feels increased pressure after writing a hit song and the answer comes out before I finish the question. That’s how I like to live my life and I like to project that with my music.” “Sex 101″—you can guess what that one’s about—recalls vintage R. Kelly R&B, while the chugging, train-like rhythm and hook of “Break Ya Back” looks squarely at the club. On the latter, Jay Sean channels the hip-hop side of his musical background. “That’s a complete swagger record,” says the singer. “I’ve never done anything like that before. A lot of the intricate flows come from my hip-hop background when I used to write raps.” Growing up in London, Jay was obsessed with hip-hop before discovering R&B artists like Brian McKnight, Joe and Jodeci (he can still out-beatbox you upon demand). “I used to listen to Boys II Men religiously and try to copy the way they used to sing,” admits Jay Sean. “I’m a very studious person. When I love something, I want to learn everything there is about it.” This extends past music. While pursuing a degree in medicine at the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, the singer was simultaneously building a large and loyal street following with a fusion of hip-hop, pop, R&B and South Asian sounds.