Jay Sean

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About Jay Sean

Jay Sean got his start singing Bhangra fusion in the UK’s Asian Underground movement in the early 2000s, but his evolution as a solo artist would turn him into a model of pop’s borderlessness, spanning old-school R&B, fluorescent-hued EDM, silky dancehall, and more. Along the way, he’s had cameos in Bollywood films and racked up collabs around the globe. Born Kamaljit Singh Jhooti in London’s Hounslow neighborhood in 1981, Sean scored his first hit alongside producer Rishi Rich with 2003’s “Dance With You (Nachna Tere Naal).” He quickly signed to Virgin, dropped out of medical school, and released 2004’s Me Against Myself, whose acoustic guitars and skeletal beats were reminiscent of Craig David, another artist (and future collaborator) who had come to R&B from the underground club scene. Sean hit the dimmer switch on 2008’s My Own Way, an example of late-2000s R&B at its most bedroom-friendly, then turned around and signed to Cash Money Records for 2009’s glossier All or Nothing, teaming with Lil Wayne for the ubiquitous club-pop anthem “Down.” In the years since, Sean has brought his reliably sandpapered tenor to an ever-expanding array of styles and contexts, taking in sadboi anthems (“Cherry Papers”) and tropical house (“Don’t Give up on Me”) along with trap and dance pop. Despite high-profile collabs with Nicki Minaj, Sean Paul, Davido, and even Hardwell, Jay Sean has never turned his back on his roots: In 2020, he and Guru Randhawa released “Surma Surma,” a slinky Bhangra single that slips playfully between English and Punjabi, connecting the dots with his very earliest days.

Harlesden, London, England
March 26, 1981

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