Sean Kingston Interview
|Next Project:||Musical Youth|
|Twitter:||Sean Kingston on Twitter|
|Website:||Sean Kingston's Website|
If you ask a parent or a rapper if persistence pays off, they will undoubtedly agree. The only difference in agreement is the wording; rappers prefer “hustlin” or “grindin.” The definition of such persistence though is what varies from one would-be-artist to another. In order to step it up to a higher level and pass the rest of the competition you need to stand out. Understood by very few, Jamaican-born artist Sean Kingston seems to get “it.” After having moved to Miami, the singer/rapper began to send up-in-coming producer J.R. Rotem three MySpace messages per day. Not before long, Rotem reached out to Kingston and flew the 17-year old out to Los Angeles. Not long after, Sean became Rotem’s first artist on the newly formed Beluga Heights (which is distributed by Epic.) In an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Kingston discusses the cultural differences between Jamaica, Miami and L.A., how he handled seeing his mother and sister get incarcerated when he was only fourteen, and who is his #1 most beautiful girl in the world.
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Sean Kingston Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth, is a 17 year old Jamaican born artist who can rap, chant reggae, and plans to soulfully harmonize his way to the top of the charts… before he even receives his High School diploma! Please welcome my man—Sean Kingston. How ya’ doin’?
Sean Kingston: Wow—aaaah—this is your boy, Sean Kingston, whats poppin’ “Z”!?
DJ Booth: Your name is really starting to grow. You signed a deal through A-list producer J.R. Rotem, and his label Beluga Heights. Then you got your distribution deal through Sony. Explain to everybody how you actually hooked up with J. R., because I’m sure it’s going to give a lot of aspiring young artists hope…
Sean Kingston: Yeah for sure man, it’s crazy. I met J.R. through MySpace. I had a page up with songs to catch J. R.’s attention. I kept sending him messages at all hours. I wasn’t goin’ to stop. I was just goin’ to keep hittin’ em up, three times a day, until I got ‘em. Then he called [me] back, and now you know the rest is history from there. He liked my style so much, he had me fly out to L.A.. I went to his brother, Tommy Rotem, first, and he started teaching me. He just roped me right in, with different parts of the industry. Then I did a show for [J.R.], and he just loved it, and we hit the deal man!
DJ Booth: So Jamaica to Miami, and now Miami to L.A.; how overwhelming has this transition been for you?
Sean Kingston: Crazy-crazy! I must say, they all different, like Jamaica is kind of similar to Miami, but to go from there to Miami, and then Miami to L.A., it’s crazy.
DJ Booth: A little less laid back huh?
Sean Kingston: Yeaaah…
DJ Booth: You mentioned your MySpace page earlier, and currently you feature two brand new singles: “Colors 2007,” and “Beautiful Girls”. The first is featuring Rick Ross and The Game and is your street single. The song focuses on the flags we all remain loyal to—So Sean, what colors mean the most to you, and why?
Sean Kingston: Jamaica—Jamaican colors of course. Black, yellow, and green. Because that’s where I come from. Jamaica is home. Kingston is the capital and I’m tryin’ to put it on the map. You know a lot of Jamaican people love my music right now. So that’s why I’d like to get them to go to Jamaica. It goes way deeper. There’s a lot more than just Reggae. There’s a lot of talent down there.
DJ Booth: Well they’re certainly going to be proud of all the success that you’re going to see. The official radio single is “Beautiful Girls.” J.R. said when you heard the beat you asked him what he could do he replied, “I’m going to make it happen.”
Sean Kingston: Yup!
DJ Booth: It was that simple? There was nothing else to it?
Sean Kingston: Yeah, man when I heard [the melody] on the radio, I said, ‘God this is crazy.’ J.R. came in and cooked it up in the studio and I said, ‘J. R. let me do my thing, just get out the room. I’m just lovin’ the track.’ He left the room and I started workin’ on the chorus. Man, this was a dope chorus. Everybody went crazy, including Mary J. Blige who was in the studio. Then I wrote the verses. Verse one came crazy. Verse two came crazy and verse three [the same]. Everybody was sayin’ this is a hit, so we just ran with it.
DJ Booth: Well when Mary J. Blige is in the studio, and she says that it’s dope, I don’t think you need any higher compliment, because Mary J. Blige, is the queen of Hip-Hop and R&B.
Sean Kingston: [Laughing]… Agreed.
DJ Booth: The chorus, like you said, is going to catch a lot of attention from people. It discusses how you have girls chasing after you that make you go suicidal. Was this a song based on your own life experiences?
Sean Kingston: Man, it was like young love. It was like I was going out with this girl for three years. We not doin’ nothin’ for a long time, and then in that third year, she didn’t want us to be together. So, I’m thinkin’ what am I supposed to do?
DJ Booth: Yeah you mean, “What did I do for three years?”
Sean Kingston: Exactly, and I was going crazy because I was really in love with this girl. A lot of people are sayin’ there’s a lot of beautiful girls out there, but I’m thinkin’ it’s deeper. There’s more than just beauty.
DJ Booth: Most of my relationships just don’t last that long, so I’m not a very good expert on that topic. Three years [for me] is like a short-term marriage.
Sean Kingston: [Laughing] hahaha—for real man!
DJ Booth: Sean, list your top five most beautiful girls. They could be actresses, fashion models, local girls from your block, high school shorties, whoever you want—five through one. Starting at five, work your way down to number one.
Sean Kingston: Number one on my top five is Beyonce.
DJ Booth: Okay, Beyonce is your number five?
Sean Kingston: Oooh… no, she’s number one… for my five, Tyra Banks.
DJ Booth: Okay, Tyra Banks, that’s good.
Sean Kingston: Four, I’d say Rihanna.
DJ Booth: Rihanna is looking great right now. I’ll tell you that much. Number three?
Sean Kingston: For three, I’d say Christina Milian.
DJ Booth: Who looked amazing in that “Dip It Low” video.
Sean Kingston: For two, I kind of like this new girl comin’ out. She’s call Megan Rocelle.
DJ Booth: Megan, also a great choice and you have Beyonce [as mentioned earlier] as your number one. We’ll pretend like Jay’s not listening; what is it about Beyonce that just screams beauty?
Sean Kingston: Man, she has everything, from head to toe, she’s beautiful. That’s the definition of a beautiful girl right there.
DJ Booth: I’m going to go out on the limb here and assume you’ve seen her in this year’s Sports Illustrator’s Special Edition?
Sean Kingston: No not yet…
DJ Booth: Well Beyonce is on the cover of the Music Edition, and it would be worth the price whether you have to pay $4 on the newsstands or just get it with the subscription. Do it man!
Sean Kingston: Ha-ha-ha—I’m gonna do it.
DJ Booth: Let’s get personal Sean. I understand your mother and your Sister were locked up. You explain this story on a track titled “Prosecutor.” Was it hard to describe what you were experiencing, or did material just spill out onto the paper?
Sean Kingston: Basically, I was emotional, when I was young. It was very shaky. It was hard for me to go through it. I saw a lot. I had to see them go away from the courtroom. And like you know I gotta make a song about that.
DJ Booth: Do you think when a listener hears this song; they will be able to understand what you actually went through?
Sean Kingston: Definitely. By the end of the three-minute song you get to know the situation. You have to know how prosecutors are… and how the process affects lives.
DJ Booth: Was there ever a sense that you were destined for stardom? After all, you’re your uncle is iconic reggae artist, Buju Banton. And Bob Marley producer Jack “L Lindo” Ruby (not the guy who shot Lee Harvey Oswald) is your grandfather…
Sean Kingston: Yeaaah!
DJ Booth: Great lineage my friend…
Sean Kingston: Yes sir!
DJ Booth: What did they teach you that you hold to this day as being the key to your musical success?
Sean Kingston: You don’t stop and [it’s all about] persistence. You gotta keep goin’—and goin’ and that’s what I’ve been doin’.
DJ Booth: Very good advice. I’m writing it down, as we speak. I think I’m going to use it myself. Sean, I read that the title of your debut album is still undecided. Do you have a title idea now?
Sean Kingston: Yes, it’s called “Musical Youth.”
DJ Booth: When can we expect to see it in stores?
Sean Kingston: 4th Quarter of this year.
DJ Booth: In 10 seconds, let everybody know that when “Musical Youth” appears in the 4th Quarter of 2007, why they need to pick up a copy…
Sean Kingston: Yo—this is Sean Kingston right now. I have a new album [coming] out “Musical Youth,” and it’s comin’ out in the 4th Quarter. We got everybody on it. We got Jonathan J.R. Rotem executively producing the album. It’s cra-a-a-z-zy.
DJ Booth: I with you nothin’ but the best of luck on your new album, and the best for the remainder of 2007!
Sean Kingston: Thanks so much “Z.”