Sean Paul releases his eighth album “Scorcha”. Reconciling tour life with his two children “is difficult”, he admits.
Sean Paul (49) has been a fixture on the dancehall scene for decades. With songs like “Like Glue” (2002) and “Temperature” (2005) the native Jamaican stormed the US and European charts. The 49-year-old has also worked with stars like Beyoncé (40), Rihanna (34) and Dua Lipa (26). Now his eighth studio album will be released this Friday (May 27th). “Scorcha” is the name of his latest work and, as usual, delivers songs for mild party nights.
Paul himself still likes to party today. “Of course not as often as before,” admits the father of two. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, the musician also talks about his children, changes in the music industry and what he appreciates about his German fans. The Grammy winner also reveals which singer he really wants to work with.
Your new album “Scorcha” is in your usual style. You have been true to your sound for years and have had many hits. How important are chart positions to you?
Sean Paul: For me it’s all about people loving the songs. I had big hits that are still a big part of my career. Like “Breathe” with Blu Cantrell – it may not have made it very far in the charts, but a lot of people still enjoy listening to it. That’s why he’s great for me. It’s good to always be at the top. But if you don’t make it, there are still songs that really reach people – and that’s the most important thing for me.
Some stars are represented on your album – for example, singer Sia can be heard. Together they have already landed a hit with “Cheap Thrills” (2016). How did the reunion go?
Paul: Sia is a great artist who doesn’t have to abide by the rules of being seen all the time or posting tons of photos. She’s very particular about her anonymity and that’s great. We never met, just talked to each other virtually. Our song “Dynamite” is a number one hit in my heart. So kudos to Sia, she’s just fantastic.
They also recorded a song with Damian Marley. As a Jamaican, what did it mean to you to be in the studio with Bob Marley’s youngest son?
Paul: Damian Marley is an amazing, talented individual who is flying the flag for his culture, his father and his family. I went to school with Damian. He was in my brother’s preschool class, they’re about five years younger than me – I’m the older, crazy brother (laughs). It felt great to be back in the studio. He’s a great artist and I’m proud to work with him. We’ve done a few songs together. And yes, his father paved the way for all of us. I have the utmost respect for him and his family.
You have worked with many artists. Who else is on your list?
Paul: Alicia Keys! I’ve always wanted to work with her.
For many people, your songs are the perfect soundtrack for wild party nights. Do you still like going to parties?
Paul: Yes, I do. Of course not as often as before, but it’s a good way to feel the music and test the vibes of my new songs.
You have been working successfully in the music industry for over 20 years. Have you ever thought about quitting?
Paul: Due to the two years of the corona pandemic and the way life has slowed down, it has become increasingly difficult to leave the family. I haven’t thought about quitting, but I’m looking forward to the day when I can tour with the family. My son has been to two shows, my daughter has not been to any – not even to a restaurant because she was three months old when Corona broke out. But I just built my home studio, so I’ll keep going.
Is there anything you have learned from the Corona pandemic?
Paul: The corona pandemic taught me to be afraid. But I’ve also learned to take things slowly, value time, and express love for those around me. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the pandemic: It’s not just about saying you love each other, it’s about showing it and caring about those around you.
How has the music business changed over the years?
Paul: A lot has changed. Radio and record shops have now become companies and are less influenced by individual tastes. I think it’s more about the business and less about the music.
What was the worst or best moment in your career?
Paul: I don’t dwell on bad moments, I learn from them and move on. In the early years of my career, there were times when I wasn’t ready. I went into the studio, didn’t have much material and the producer didn’t like what he heard from me – then I was kindly kicked out (laughs). But I wouldn’t call it a bad moment, it was a moment of clarity and realignment. There are good experiences all the time, you’d think I’d tell you about Grammys or American Music Awards – but that’s not the case. The best moments for me are when I’m in the studio or on stage. Those are the reasons I still do it today.
What gives you strength in life?
Paul: My family and the fans give me strength to keep making music.
You tour a lot. How do you reconcile that with your family?
Paul: It’s hard, but I think they understand that it’s part of my job. I try to FaceTime them often. Sometimes even during the show.
Do your children know what you do for a living?
Paul: Yes, my children know what I do for a living. My son maybe a little more. He’s seen me on stage – and now he’s face-timed with me while I perform. My daughter knows what I’m doing, but she’s only two years old. So I don’t think she realizes the extent of my work yet. But it’s great to be a father. Even with my job, I can come home and be a normal person to them and just be a parent, that’s great.
They are also playing in Germany this year. What is special about the German fans?
Paul: The German fans really appreciate reggae and dancehall music. That’s why it’s always fantastic to perform there.