Sean Kingston Interview
|Next Project:||Untitled Soph Album (TBD)|
|Twitter:||Sean Kingston on Twitter|
|Website:||Sean Kingston's Website|
When Sean Kingston stepped foot inside our DJBooth nearly one year ago, a then 17-year-old artist had just begun his rise to fame. Since that interview Kingston has enjoyed the success of his #1 hit single, “Beautiful Girls,” which helped the teen sensation achieve a gold-certified debut and garner over ten million digital downloads.
A year older and a little more experienced, Kingston is currently pushing his fourth single, a remix to “There’s Nothin’.” While there are no immediate plans to release a sophomore album this year, Kingston has been busy with the creation of his own record label imprint, Time Is Money Ent., and guest feature work with the likes of Bun B (“That’s Gangsta”) and Hot Dollar (“On The Block”).
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Sean steps inside the booth to talk about “Bollywood Girls,” the possibility of working with a producer other than Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem, the popularity of Jamaican music in the U.S., and making music that “brings in the paycheck.”
Listen to the Interview
Sean Kingston Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a man who bravely confessed to the world that Beautiful Girls make him suicidal. But have no fear; he’s fine and he’s here. Please welcome, for the second time, Sean Kingston – how you doin’?
Sean Kingston: I’m doin’ good, brother. How are you, man?
DJ Booth: I am wonderful. You and I have both been extremely busy. I’m so glad that you were able to join me inside the DJ Booth today.
Sean Kingston: No problem, man – I’m happy to be in the DJ Booth. Let’s get it crackin’.
DJ Booth: Last year, we spoke several months prior to the release of your debut. What would you say has changed the most in your life, from then to now?
Sean Kingston: I was just tryin’ to paint the picture. Now the picture’s already painted, know what I’m sayin’? I’ve been around the world, and I’m only eighteen – I was seventeen then – so now I’m legal, I got my own label, there’s so many things.
DJ Booth: Well, speaking of changes, the hit single that made you a household name, Beautiful Girls, you recently rerecorded. It’s now Bollywood Girls - explain how this one came about.
Sean Kingston: I basically did it to do something for Bollywood, for their culture over there, and I redid Beautiful Girls, changed it to Bollywood Girls, and they got a little something going on over there for the record. But I didn’t really change the record.
DJ Booth: What do you know about the Bollywood culture?
Sean Kingston: Not that much! [laughter] I just know that they wanted me to do it, man, and I’m doin’ anything [to] better my career, just to do a song. I [went] to the studio ASAP, my own studio, I got one in my house, and I just knocked it out.
DJ Booth: Sean, if you become a Bollywood icon because of this rerecorded song, do you plan on going over and contributing to their music and film industry that’s so huge?
Sean Kingston: Definitely. I don’t mind goin’ over there and doin’ a show – why not?
DJ Booth: Sean, with three very popular and charted singles, and a fourth currently at radio right now, are you at all disappointed that the album has not sold more units than it has to date? Were your expectations met?
Sean Kingston: No, no, I’m good, man. You know, ten million ring tones, digital downloads, album passed certified gold, and I’m good. [It’s something] to get close to gold, in this day and age, and ten million digital – I’m good. I’m not gonna say I’m blessed; I’m sayin’ I’m happy.
DJ Booth: Ten million digital sold – that is incredible. When you first arrived on the scene, I heard Colors 2007 and I thought, “Damn! Sean is gonna hit ‘em hard!” Then you released Beautiful Girls, and it couldn’t have been more of a polar opposite sound. So from this point forward, when you look at your career, which direction do you see yourself taking with future records – more of Colors 2007, or more of Beautiful Girls?
Sean Kingston: More of Beautiful Girls. You see, Colors 2007 don’t get you the check. It don’t get you a check, and it don’t get you the worldwide [fans]. That just gets you some dudes that are gonna get your stuff on mix tapes. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind doin’ stuff for the streets. I’m not a gangsta rapper or nothing, I never shot no gun, never did that, you know what I’m sayin’? I do music that I do for myself, feel-good music, and I be myself. So I wanna do what I wanna do, which is feel-good-type music, mixin’ the reggae with the pop and the R&B stuff, you know?
DJ Booth: Obviously you want to make music that you want to make, and a check is important, but taking money out of the equation, would you do more records like Colors 2007, more street-oriented material, regardless of payday?
Sean Kingston: Definitely, definitely.
DJ Booth: We have a new segment, it’s called “By Request.” We have allowed our readers to submit questions, and from a giant batch I have selected the top three. The first question comes from our member Jaffy: a lot of your success is due in part to the amazing production work of mentor J.R. Rotem. On future albums, do you plan on expanding your horizons and working with other producers?”
Sean Kingston: If I work with with other producers, man, it would just be for the sound. ‘Cause, you know, J.R. had a lot of sound, but just to go with them to see what type of different sound I can create. I’ll never leave J.R. J.R.‘s like my my brother from another mother. Like, he’s down-to-earth, he’s cool, energetic, he’s got a big personality, he’s talented, of course, so I like to make it happen [with him].
DJ Booth: Next question comes from our member Jordan Hung, and Jordan wants to know: Sean, do you have an idea of how you could successfully bring Jamaican music back into the mainstream here in the US?
Sean Kingston: That’s like the feel-good, catchy stuff, you know what I’m sayin’? People wanna hear catchy stuff, so [that’s] the type of stuff I wanna do.
DJ Booth: Next question comes from our member DJ Dwayne, and Dwayne wants to know: how do you feel about corporate Jamaica and their absence from sponsoring dancehall and reggae shows locally in your native country?
Sean Kingston: I feel like it’s good, man – they been doin’ a lot of great stuff for the community.
DJ Booth: They have been doing a lot of great stuff?
Sean Kingston: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
DJ Booth: All right. Moving forward, artists who experience success as teenagers, like yourself, sometimes have difficulties appealing to the right demographic audience as they get older and their sound changes. So, Sean, what do you plan on doing so that you remain a hot commodity through your twenties, through your thirties, and beyond?
Sean Kingston: Basically, man, I just wanna stay doin’ what I’m doin’, be myself, keep makin’ great music, and basically be original. It’s all about bein’ original, and just havin’ your own sound.
DJ Booth: So you think what you’re doin’ right now, that’ll work for you the rest of your career?
Sean Kingston: Definitely. This is only my first album. I’m gonna grow as an artist, so I definitely think I’m on a good roll.
DJ Booth: I was doin’ my homework online, and I read that fellow industry-mate Soulja Boy finished ahead of you by one spot on the Forbes Magazine’s “Hottest New Artists” list. So Sean, let’s pretend that the Forbes people are willing to retract that list and restructure it. I want you to make your case for the number one spot.
Sean Kingston: You know what, man? I’m good on at number two. That’ll be enough; I’m good at number two. Soulja Boy, he had a big record. That’s my homie, man. I can’t take it away from him. His record came out after mine, so it is what it is.
DJ Booth: Okay, I will accept the politically-correct answer. Sean, give everyone a website or a MySpace page, so they can find out more about what you have goin’ on.
Sean Kingston: For sure, man. Yo, all my fans out there, thanks for supporting your boy Sean Kingston. Y’all wanna check me out, make sure you hit me up at myspace.com/seankingston. For information, seankingston.com. And it’s goin’ down man. That’s about it – much love and God bless.
DJ Booth: Definitely, Sean. I thank you for takin’ the time to join me inside the DJ Booth today, and I wish you nothing but the best of luck movin’ forward with your career, my friend.
Sean Kingston: Thank you. I appreciate it, man.