World famous singer Jay Sean presents ‘Tears in the Ocean’
Jay Sean has enjoyed global fame as one of the most successful British Asian singers to come out of the UK. Since his early days as one third of the Rishi Rich Project to being the first British Asian to top the Billboard Hot 100, the London born artist has left a trail blaze in the music industry. After a surprising decision to leave American label Cash Money Records, Jay is going back to his RnB roots with his new mix tape ‘Mistress II’. Featuring the slow, love ballad ‘Tears in the Ocean’ Jay talks to The Asian Today about fatherhood, his new musical style and why leaving Cash Money Records was the right decision for him.
Congratulations on the new single! What can we expect to see from Mistress II in terms of musical style, will we hear rapping as well as singing?
It’s all going to be RnB, it’s very smooth, sultry and sexual. Obviously it has a very grown up theme so it’s fairly explicit. I am a man now and I have been doing music for 12 years, so I went from that spiky haired boy into a grown man so it has more of a grown up theme. In terms of the style of singing there are times where I have written a lot of the songs like a rap, I’m introducing a new style of singing in parts of the songs where I have a rap flow but I sing.
‘Tears in the Ocean’ is a romantic ballad, you have done a lot of songs that have a romantic theme. In the new mix tape will you be singing about other topics?
Yes, the reason why I called it ‘The Mistress’ is because I wanted to write an album that was cohesive, it doesn’t sound like you’ve jumped from one song to another where one song is sad and one song is up tempo. For me that sometimes ruins the experience of listening to something all the way through. So I wrote it like a film, in my head I wrote a film about a man who has this crazy and insane affair. It starts off with a bit of fun but then there’s the guilt, shame and the apologies. So it allows me to write across the board.
You mentioned not wanting to stray too much into pop which is why you left CMR. Are you happy with this decision considering that producing that kind of music would have probably equalled more mainstream success?
I have already had so much mainstream success and I am very blessed that I have had that, which I guess allows me to make this move without any fear. People ask me what more do you want to do? This is what I want to do. I have had the commercial success, the giant pop records and have broken America. I don’t want to neglect what deep inside of me is my true love for music. I do enjoy pop and writing pop music, but I love RnB music, so for me if I have to be independent to do that I don’t mind. I have been independent before, I left Virgin Records and set up my own record label and set out my own way. That album was a fan favourite and that’s no surprise because I’m doing the music I want to do and that’s why I think Mistress II is going to be a fan favourite.
This is the second time you have gone independent, although it was a successful move last time (leaving Virgin Records) is it ever scary leaving an official label and going it alone?
Not really, because I know the independent world. My video for ‘Tears in the Ocean’ has now been serviced to more TV networks than the last three videos I made with Cash Money Records, because I am in charge of it now so I know where I want it to be. I might be at the gym and say, “why isn’t my song at the gym?” So I will speak to my manager and make a few phone calls and get my song playing at all the gym networks for example. These are places where people see things and I can have the power to make those things happen, whereas if you’re with a label it’s their control. That’s the beauty of being independent.
How does it feel to be one of the few British Asian artists to attain global success?
It’s the most amazing feeling in the world and success of any type is a great thing, it doesn’t matter what field you’re in. When you take an exam and you get good grades it feels good doesn’t it? It’s the same thing with my career, every time I write a song and its well received that’s an amazing feeling. To this day I don’t get over that feeling or take it for granted, when I put out ‘Tears in the Ocean’ and see the response from fans and the media, it’s an amazing feeling because it’s special to me and special to other people. Globally I’ve got people hitting me up from Australia, Hong Kong or Malaysia telling me they love ‘Tears in the Ocean’ and I think wow!
You recently visited Latymer Upper School to speak to students, what advice would you give to the next generation of singers?
I would say you have to enjoy the journey and the process because even though it sounds like a cliché it is so true. It is important to have an end goal and aim high, I aim so outrageously high to the point that people think I’m crazy. But I end up on a path that takes me there because in my head I need to get there. When you’re on that path every little step you make and every little achievement is a notch in the belt so you have to enjoy that moment. Every new fan, follower and radio ad, these are all counted.
The Bollywood movie ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum’ featured your music and you even made an appearance on the film! Would you ever consider working on films again or even acting?
I have and still do receive a lot of scripts from Hollywood and Bollywood, but I’m very picky in terms of what roles I play. There have been cliché roles where they want me to “talk like this” (uses Punjabi accent) and play a computer scientist and I thought no! Im not going to push my race and people backwards, why don’t we move the scene forward? I don’t take those roles on purpose because I don’t want to portray my people in a bad light, I’m trying to integrate Asian culture into the mainstream so that people understand we’re just the same. I’m really more drawn to comedy, I would make a terrible action hero, I wouldn’t be able to fall on the floor gracefully!
Even with your abs?
That’s what people always joke about! They say you’ve got the body for it so why not? I don’t think I could pull it off! I laugh too much and am a silly person so I’d like to do a comedy.
You had a beautiful daughter, Ayva, last December, what has fatherhood been like one year on?
Amazing! Honestly my favourite thing I have ever done in my whole life is to be a dad. It means more than the accolades, trophies and all of it. When I get home after all of this it’s not about me anymore, it’s all about her. She is my life and she is my joy. She doesn’t care what dad does! I could be a plumber or an astronaut, she doesn’t care! I’m just dad to her. That’s the most amazing thing, I love being a dad.
Finally, do you have any future projects you can tell us about?
I have my own Entertainment Company, Camouflage, and I also co-manage a band called Janoskians. I am about to bring forward a new act, I finally found an Indian guy with the skills, looks, charm and exactly what it takes to be a star. Trust me I have been looking! People always ask me why hasn’t someone new come after you? I have been waiting for that guy who can come in and I can say, “Yes! Im going to tell you everything I know.” His name is Rajiv Dhall who’s from America and he is an amazing talent so I am looking forward to bringing him through.
What genre of music does he play?
He is more of pop, almost pop-country in a way like a male Taylor Swift! He loves that music, it’s what he does best and that’s why he is a singer-songwriter. I think he will have great success, I just feel like the scene needs more of us otherwise it can’t move forward, it’s very hard on my own to carry it all on my back. There are tonnes of talented Asian artists who are doing great things, I want to see them come through so that there can be a whole gang of us!
When will the new mix tape be released?
Mistress II is free and is easy to get hold of, you go to themistresstapes.com and on the 18th of November you can download the whole album for free. You can also see the second music video on the same day on that website.
Rapid Fire questions!
Hounslow or Los Angeles?
LA a million times over! Its home for me and Hounslow is no LA, who would want to go on vacation to Hounslow? Let’s be honest!
Bipasha Basu or Nicki Minaj?
Bipasha, I am still in contact with her.
Clean shaven or full beard?
Changing nappies or waking up in the middle of the night?
They are both hard! I don’t mind waking up in the middle of the night, I know it sounds silly but I get to see Ayva and hold her again. She goes to sleep at 8:00pm in the evening and I come home late, plus I only get a few hours with her in the morning. So sometimes I hope she wakes up so I can play with her a bit.
Fish and chips or curry?
I don’t eat either, but if I was to have a cheap meal it would be fish and chips.
Big night out or quiet night in?
Nowadays a big night out because now that I’m a dad with a kid, I look forward to my evenings off.
Jay Shizzle or Jay Sheezy?
Its Jay Schnitzel! Jay Shizzle didn’t actually become an immediate social media name, but it did become my instagram page name. Now it’s Jay Sean again though, Jay Sean was actually taken by some Chinese guy who swore that was his real name!
Live for tomorrow or live for today?
Today, every moment counts.