We caught up with Grammy-winning reggae and dancehall artist Sean Paul following his performance at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The international superstar and Jamaica native spilled on everything from working with Sia to new music.
Sean Paul on the red carpet.
2016 was such a big year for you. What should we expect in 2017? SEAN PAUL: More of the same! (laughs). I have two singles out right now: “No Lie” featuring Dua Lipa and “Tek We Yuh Heart” with Canadian rapper Tory Lanez. I have so much music right now that it’s hard to decide what to drop next, but I have a single with Shakira and David Guetta that I'm pretty excited about and also a song with Major Lazer.
Let’s talk about working with Sia on the global number one hit, “Cheap Thrills.” It must have been a really unique experience. SP: She is a genius; her hooks and her words are so original and so instantly catchy. It’s undeniable when you hear it. Her voice—I mean, wow! It was actually my mom who brought her to my attention at first; “Chandelier” just blew our minds, so when the opportunity came to work with her I had to stamp it and give it my best.
You've collaborated with everyone from Beyoncé to Snoop Dogg to Clean Bandit. Who is one artist you would like to work with on a song? SP: I say it all the time and I hope she's reading this—maybe you can send it to her—Alicia Keys! She has a pure approach to music and seems to really love Jamaica and our musical history; it seems like a natural collab to me. I also have a song put aside for Katy Perry.
Sean Paul in concert.
You recently signed a new recording deal with Island Records. What are your thoughts on the ever-changing music industry and the routes musicians take to make it big? SP: Nothing can replace sweat. That’s the bottom line to me—talent is a great start but you have to put in the work. Island is a great label, I mean Bob Marley was signed there, so what better place for me to be at this point in my career?
Where is your favorite place to create music? SP: I like writing outside, under the mango tree at my home in Kingston. That is my favorite spot to write; seeing the moon and stars reminds me what I'm aiming for. In the States, I've worked at a lot of places and made hits in NYC, LA, and Miami so those three have a tie as favorites.
Where is one place in Jamaica everyone must go? SP: There are so many great spots to hit. I mean, it depends what your interests are and what city you're in but everyone should eat ackee and saltfish for breakfast, at least once. Here in Ocho Rios, as cliché as it is, go to Dunn’s River Falls—it’s a natural wonder to experience and tubing on the White River is pretty awesome as well.