RnB star Jay Sean, who just launched his new album Neon, talks baby-making tunes.
What are some of the essential elements of baby-making music?
The reason I got into music is because I was so into Soul and RnB—and all that is based around sex. I’m talking early R. Kelly and Jodeci and Blackstreet. But there are ways of doing it that are sexy without being crass. I tried to do that on my single “Mars.” The lyrics are a bit ambiguous, in that they’re about being intoxicated and being in another place and another time, but they’re really sexual if you sit back and think about it. Then again, if you smoke weed and you’re high, it might mean something else to you.
What was your first failure?
Failure has a negative connotation but my mind doesn’t even go there—I always look at it as a learning curve. One of the biggest things I learnt early is not to let someone change who I am as an artiste in the name of sales. That will always backfire on you. Once you lose integrity as an artiste, it becomes clear to everybody what’s going on. And it happens all the time. With my second album, Virgin Records wanted me to change everything about myself. I was like, “Look, I didn’t quit Medicine just so I could be a pop star and be famous for something I’m not proud of.”
And your first success?
I don’t think I ever allow myself to acknowledge that I’ve “made it.” Sure, it’s important to pat yourself on the back occasionally, but I consistently try and get better. I feel like that’s the only way progress is made. For me, breaking into US was the first big achievement. It’s the Holy Grail when it comes to entertainment.
Have you got plans to branch out into movies?
Comedy is a massive part of my life. People probably don’t know that, since you can’t really give off that vibe with the type of music I do. Pop/RnB is actually the antithesis of comedy because your image is to be super cool and to wear sunglasses at all times and pretty much be faultless. But I see humour in that, too. We take ourselves way too seriously as celebrities.
We have to ask: What’s it like to have more than 5,000,000 likes on Facebook?
That’s weird, isn’t it? I never fully understand it. Try to picture that many people in one area—it’s bonkers. I haven’t ever actually been able to fully comprehend it, but I’m not sure that I want to, either. You know, like, “Yes! That’s right! I have five million fans on Facebook!” I just try and keep the fans happy, as opposed to keeping count of them.
Let’ say you go into a nightclub, and it’s playing a song that’s by you. That’s surreal, right?
It happens all the time and it’s the funniest shit. I’ll be in a car and the guy who’s picking me up will want to play my music in the car, as if I’ve never heard my own album. People want to show love and support, which is great, so they’re like, “Jay Sean is coming, so let’s put his album on to show that we’re into him.” So I’ll land at the airport and the first thing I hear when I get in the car is my music. Then I get to the hotel and my music will be playing in my room. I went to get a massage at a hotel in the Philippines recently and, instead of relaxing spa music, they put my album on! Back to your question: If you’re in a club and the DJ knows you’re there, they’ll play your song as a sign of respect. But it’s awkward, because how the fuck are you supposed to react? Do you dance to your own song? Do you sit there while everyone else in the club is watching you? It’s very odd but also very funny.
The single “Mars” is still blowing up. Do you really think there’s life on Mars?
I think there probably is. Whether it’s actual aliens I’m not so sure, and I don’t think our image of aliens—green, with big eyes—is very accurate, but I do believe there is some type of life form out there. We’re frickin’ smart as human beings, yes, but we don’t know everything.
If you ever did make it out to Mars, do you think they’ll have your album, Neon, playing out there too?
That would totally happen if I landed on Mars, wouldn’t it? Funnily enough, there’s something I can’t really talk about that I’m doing with a company that’s going to the Moon. We’re working on something crazy.