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Sean Paul Talks Movado and Estelle

Sean Paul is one of the most commercial artists to emerge from Jamaica in the past decade, writes Dionne Grant.

Bursting onto the scene with club banger Gimme The Light from his 2002 album Dutty Rock, he went on to score two consecutive number one hits and achieved similar success with his follow up album, Trinity.

Then he went quiet.

Three and a half years later, Sean returns with his fourth studio album, Imperial Blaze.

Here, the 36-year-old MC talks about getting hot and steamy with Estelle; reveals how a stolen iPod delayed his new album; and explains why Mavado isn’t a great lyricist.

It’s been a good while since we last heard from you – where have you been?

It’s been three and a half years and I’ve been on a bit of a journey. About a year and a half after the single Temperature was released I thought I was ready to come out with an album again, but my car got broken into. They took my iPod with three months of work on it so I was forced to go back to the drawing board.

Talk me through the material on your new album

I decided to get more intricate with my songwriting. There are jump-up songs for the clubs and love ballads for more intimate moments. There is one love ballad in particular that is like Come Over, which I did with Estelle. A pop diva heard it and said she wanted to feature on it, but I’m not gonna tell you her name. What I can tell you is that she is the only big star collaboration I have on the album. Other than that, it’s just me, myself and I.

How did you find working with UK rapstress Estelle on Come Over?

Amazing! She has a crazy voice. I haven’t heard anybody who sings so sweet. I’d heard the first single she did (1980) and because her management team knew mine, they hollered at me. I heard Come Over and thought it was amazing so I got involved. Although I didn’t get to meet her until the video shoot, I knew her from TV and radio. I didn’t know she could sing how she does though.

Ok, so let’s talk about the video shoot with Estelle. It’s a very steamy two and a half minutes between the two of you, wouldn’t you say?

The song brought us together [laughs]. It got nice and warm in there.

Yeah, I witnessed that! It’s not very often we see artist on artist action. Don’t you guys usually cast models to play love interests?

[Laughs] It was a fun shoot. The director Little X was the main instigator, but we got into it. It was a comfortable shoot and Estelle is a very relaxing person to be around. At first she was like, (in an English accent) ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, what are you doing? I’m too young for this’. We just had fun.

What do you think of dancehall’s latest rising star, Movado?

I’m a fan of music and I enjoy Mavado’s songs. But there are some people in the business who make songs that you can’t play on the radio because the lyrics are about killing people or are very vulgar. I’m not saying him in particular, but there are other people following in his footsteps. That’s one problem with Jamaica; everyone is looking for a way out. When they see someone succeed they attempt to copy the formula, so everyone is going to make gangster music right now. If you’re going to sing gangster music that’s fine, but it’s not my sort of thing. I wish that kids would stop aspiring to become that type of artist because I’m like, ‘You’ve just come out of school! What are you talking about? Which gang have you been in? Which people have you ordered to be killed? What gun are you carrying’? They ain’t no gangster man, so why emulate that?


Do you think Mavado’s success is justified?

I love his voice, although his lyrics are questionable at times. I don’t think he’s that great a lyricist, although he has a great voice and is a great melody finder. To me, melody and voice go a lot further than lyrics do.

In a previous interview with Overground, you spoke about your problems with Atlantic Records and their lack of support. What’s the relationship like now?

This time I’m a lot happier. When I walked into the studio with my album before no one cared and I was like, ‘Yo! How can someone sell six million records and no one make a big deal about it? I’ve made a lot for you, over 30 million dollars, and I only got a small fingernail fraction for it! When I walk into the building treat me like the f**king boss’! I’m not a boastful person but I mean, show me some form of appreciation and take an interest in what I’m doing. I cussed them out and now they’re a lot more receptive.

When will we see you in the UK?

I’m coming to the UK in the summer. I’m just sorting out a few things and then I’ll be with you guys.

Visit Sean Paul’s website

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Tags Sean Paul, Estelle, dionne grant, Come Over, Movado
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