Jay Sean has come a long way in the past decade and a half – from emerging with saccharine pop and R&B tracks, such as 2004’s Stolen and Got My Eyes On You, to collaborating with some of the biggest names in the music business, including Sean Paul and Lil Wayne, on fast-paced dance tracks and chart-toppers. The British-born singer, who comes from a Punjabi background, makes annual trips to the UAE for gigs – whether concerts or club performances – and is back to perform at Amber Lounge, one of the most exclusive parties during the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix weekend. Sean says keeping up with the times is responsible for his enduring career.
Amber Lounge is a rather exclusive gig. Do you approach such a show differently?
I’ve done the UAE many times but I haven’t actually done Abu Dhabi many times so, for me, that’s still a crowd I always look forward to seeing, with all that diversity. It’s just nice to have that support and love from probably one of the most loyal fan bases I’ve had – because I’ve been coming to the UAE every year for the past 15 years. So it’s just always a good time.
As your career has progressed, you seem to have moved away from your R&B roots towards more dance offerings, with collaborations with people such as EDM great Hardwell. Will you ever go back to those silky sounds of old?
Ten years ago, we had songs on the radio that you will never, ever hear [on the radio] again, such as Chris Brown’s With You, and Usher’s You Got it Bad. These slow, romantic songs don’t exist anymore. We all miss it but you know what I say, at least we have those songs, let’s go listen to them on Spotify. It’s like people say to Kanye: “I miss the old Kanye” – well then, at least you can go listen to the old Kanye. Everyone needs to develop and you always have those old albums, but the music is changing. If we keep looking into the past, we can’t move forward. This is how you survive, by adapting. The R&B style of mine will never actually go, because I’m always doing little songs. Like I did the Mistress albums one and two – those are two whole albums of R&B – so I’m always giving my fans that style [of music].
Is there a chance of a potential collaboration with Zayn Malik – a fellow British/south Asian musician?
You know that I’m a keen collaborator. I collaborate with a lot of different people and Zayn is a great artist, so if he wanted to do some work together I’d totally be up for it. That would be cool.
Which of your songs, old or new, gets the biggest reaction from fans?
From my old songs, Ride It gets the biggest reaction. Out of my new songs, Make My Love Go gets a huge reaction
How long will you be in the UAE? Will you be bringing your wife and daughter?
Just three days but it’s going be great fun for me and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be bringing my brother – he’s such a big fan of the F1, so we’re both really excited.
Jay Sean will perform on Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27 at Amber Lounge, at Yas Links Golf Club. For information about tickets and packages, visit www.amber-lounge.com