Jay Sean isn't the type to look back nostalgically at his past successes, though he's had many. His driving force is his search for the accomplishments that still await.
His latest single, “Make My Love Go” — his second collaboration with Sean Paul after 2009’s “Do You Remember” — is climbing the charts and on pace to outperform the biggest hit of his career so far. “It's actually about to eclipse my biggest song, 'Down,' in terms of streams on Spotify, which of course is a huge, huge deal because that was probably my biggest record to date. It’s super early for America still, but it's already proved itself overseas.”
As this latest collaboration with Sean Paul demonstrates, Jay Sean takes a global approach to making music. The remix to “Make My Love Go” features an appearance from Colombian singer/songwriter and new labelmate, Maluma.
“I'm actually signed to Sony now. Maluma is also signed to Sony, so it was one of those situations where I found out that he was a fan of mine, and I wanted to put a different flavor [on the song] because the record lends itself not only to the reggae flavor and the dance hall, but it also has a reggaeton flavor to it... I was like, ‘How cool would it be to hook up with one of the biggest names in Latin music?’"
This Saturday, August 20, he plans to bring his music to Miami with a set at Round 2 of POWER 96’s (WPOW-FM) MixMaster Competition at the Clevelander South Beach. The event is free and open to the public. But Sean's day won't end there. At night, he's heading over to downtown megaclub E11even to perform and step behind the DJ booth.
Though Sean is from England, his set will be a homecoming of sorts. “I'm very, very familiar with Miami because I used to be signed with Cash Money, so pretty much all of my recording and writing was in Miami. I fell in love with the place. A lot of the artists I met were working from out of Miami. That's how I met Pit, for example.” He and Pitbull went on to record 2012’s “I'm All Yours” and even shot the music video in Miami.
Sean is especially excited to return to Miami to perform at South Beach. “As cliché as it sounds, South Beach to me is every tourist's dream, because me coming from England — think about it — we don't have real sand beaches. We don't get the sun like Miami. I want to be on the beach. I want to be sipping some cocktails, and I want to feel like I'm on vacation. It's amazing that I get to do that while I get to perform too, you know?”
As for his set, Jay Sean expects to get you hyped for the weekend. “My shows are very, very high energy. That's what I'm known for, I think... That's what I live for: to make people happy, to make people feel like they came out and had the time of their lives.”
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Even in conversation, Jay Sean is high energy. He's restless and almost breathless as he speaks about his future plans and his refusal to look in the rearview mirror.
Asked if he measures the success of newer projects up against his past triumphs such as “Down,” he rebukes the idea. “I never do that," he says. "That is the biggest mistake any artist or songwriter or producer can do. It was a magical moment in time, and it's a notch on my belt that no one can ever take away from me. But you move on.”
On the flip side, does he take time to rehash or harp on his past disappointments? Not so much. “Some people might be like, 'Oh, my god! Cash Money! Why aren't you with them anymore?' There's a bigger door open that's waiting for me right now... I'm not accepting my destiny. I'm not accepting my fate. So, sometimes you have to be brave enough to walk away and go, ‘That was cool. That was that. On to the next.’”
Jay Sean. 3 p.m. Saturday, August 20, at Clevelander South Beach, 1020 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-532-4006; clevelander.com. Admission is free.
Jay Sean. 10 p.m. Saturday, August 20, at E11even, 29 NE 11th St., Miami; 305-829-2911; 11miami.com. Tickets cost $23 to $35 via 11miami.com.