Why Jay Sean has nothing to prove
He was a breath of fresh air. A young and talented singer who managed to get Bipasha Basu on Top of the Pops (well in video format at least!!!). After a short hiatus in which he parted ways with his record company and ditched his legendary spikey hair, Jay Sean is back. His new single ‘Ride It’ is out later this month, and with an album to follow before the end of the year, it’s all go for the young star. Here Jay reveals his hopes for his soon-to-be released album and how his split from Virgin Relentless wasn’t as bad as we all made out…
New look, new single, new album, welcome back Jay! How does it feel?
It’s great to be back! I’ve spent a long time touring internationally and away from home so it’s a great feeling to be back in the UK with a brand new album!!
Your new single ‘Ride It’ is coming out very soon, are you excited about its release?
Of course! It’s funny how quickly time flies, I remember when I was writing the song as if it was just yesterday, and now the videos already being played and the song is on air…it’s very exciting.
The single’s been available to listen to on the web, have you had any response to it from your fans?
The song Ride It has had over half a million listens on YouTube alone, before the video even came out…and that all started when some clever hacker (!!!) ripped a 1 minute sample from my myspace and looped it and put it on the net! Since then the song seems to have grown like crazy and became a massive internet record. So it just made sense to
release it first, as all the fans were asking for it. It’s a people’s choice record.
There’s also the new album ‘My Own Way’ to look forward to. An interesting title, why ‘My Own Way’?
Everything about the album is ‘My Own Way’, it has been my own little baby project that I took on with a desire and a need to be ‘hands on’ in all dimensions. From picking the producers, to finalising the tracklisting, to picking the single, the video treatment, album shoot, the photographers, the mixer..I wanted artistic control over this album, as I realised it needs to reflect me in a pure and honest way. The album is also being released on my own record label, “Jayded Records”, a joint venture between myself and 2point9.
Tell us a bit about the album and the songs that made the final cut
I wanted to write an album which I could be proud of in years to come, with songs that could hopefully stand the test of time, and still sound great 10years from now. Hence it is a less production-driven album, focussing more on songwriting, melody and lyrics. It reflects me in this day, the experiences, emotions and journey that I’ve been on over that last 3 years.
Your debut album ‘Me against Myself’ was a huge success for you with two fantastic top 10 singles. How do you think your new album will compare?
I hope just as well if not better! I wrote an album for me and for my fanbase, for the people that have supported me since day one, not for the charts. If I wanted to write an album just for great chart positions I should’ve picked up a guitar and done Indie rock music and sung in a strong British accent, because that’s all that seems to be selling like mad in the UK at the moment! I can only do what I know best and love, and that’s R’n’B with the Jay Shizzle twist!!!
Did you feel any pressure when working on ‘My Own Way’, knowing that your previous album was such a huge success?
I purposely took myself out of that mindset. I kept myself away from everyone and put myself in a place where I could just focus on doing what I love, being creative and writing songs that I love. So I did just that. I went into hiding and didn’t let anyone’s opinions affect me. That’s the only way I could make music for the right reasons.
One of the big turning points in your career was your split from Virgin Relentless in early 2006. How did this affect you at the time?
Of course it was a very difficult time. The perception is worse than the truth. People associate a major record label with success, hence the loss of that suggests things aren’t going well. Once I dealt with the fact that people would make up their own stories and their own minds I was ok to go on and do what I felt at the time was the right thing. To walk away and do things on my own. To write music that I can be proud of and not sell my soul for charts or the latest music trend at the time. This is my life, and it’s all I know. It’s like leaving a relationship, when you know things aren’t going the way they should be, but you’ll both be happier in the end, even though it may hurt for a little while in the interim.
Do you ever look back on your early career and wish you had done things differently?
I try never to live life with regrets and thankfully I don’t have any to date.
During your time with ‘Me Against Myself’, there seemed to be a heavy influx of the ‘Asian’ sound in mainstream British music. It all seems to have gone quiet though in the past year.
I think unfortunately that sound got killed to death because of a heavy over-rinse. If everyone starts doing it, and there’s nothing fresh in the marketplace, people will get sick of hearing it. That’s’ what happens unfortunately with ‘trends’.
Do you think artists like yourself, Juggy, Rishi and Raghav were unfairly labelled as ‘Asian artists’ rather than ‘music artists’?
Labels are funny things. People feel the need to label you in order to digest you properly. The fact is I’m an Asian doing R’nB music, but in the media’s eyes I’m an “Asian RnB artist”. Though they never seem to call Eminem a White Hip Hop artist. Thing is, times and mentalities need to change, and that will take time, we can’t rush that. I guess it’s still
new. We can only try our best and do what we do, as long as my music is being heard, you can label me whatever you like, labels don’t affect me anymore!!
Looking to the next 12 months, what have you got lined up?
A lot of touring and promotional work! I will be up and down the UK as well as touring the USA and various other parts of the world.
Finally, any message for your UK fans?
Just want to thank each and everyone for your continued support. It’s what keeps me here! And be sure to write to me on www.myspace.com/jayseanbeats. Log onto www.jaysean.com for all info. Thanks again. One love
‘Ride It’ is out on 14 January 2008