“I never felt a pressure. What I do feel is a sense of responsibility to keep it Jamaican, even if people think that I don’t do songs that sound Jamaican. My sense of responsibility/pride is Jamaican and I want to keep it that way,” Sean Paul told The Gleaner.
The Grammy-winning entertainer has found huge success on the international stage and is adamant that despite what many may think, his success is not as a result of him ‘selling out’, as he prides himself on representing the ‘black, green, and gold’ to the best of his ability.
The entertainer has faced tremendous backlash over the years as several individuals (some a part of the music industry) have called out the artiste for not staying true to his roots. They have accused the deejay of finding international success, using reggae music only to discard of it shortly after achieving mainstream success.
Sean Paul defended himself and his life’s work in a recent interview with The Gleaner, as he says he has always represented Jamaica and its culture through his music. He let his emotions flow freely, as he explained that throughout his career, his only aim has been to bring international attention to his home country.
Knowing what his purpose was for getting into the music industry, Sean Paul told The Gleaner that he was often hurt by the many comments questioning his ‘Jamaicanness’ and his loyalty to the island.
“I must care what people think of me,” he said. “It does feel a way (when people say he’s not Jamaican). I mean, if you walk out a road and you have on you top dress and you know you look your best, and yuh walk outta road and people criticise it to your face and tell you that don’t look good, you must feel a way. But, personally, in life, I try to not let what other people think of me bother me.”
Sean Paul revealed that the former was one of the main reasons his mother was not initially supportive of his decision to pursue music as a career.
“On my mom side, yes (got a bit of a fight) because she is an artist. She paints and so she knows exactly what it feels like to pour your emotion into something and then somebody tells you that it’s not good enough, or the public might tell you they don’t like it,” he said.
“She prepared me for that, though, by telling me the stories of her trying to put on her first art exhibition and people being critical of her work, and so she was fearful and mindful of me getting into this kind of industry. I have no regrets, though. I think that life is to be lived and I think that we in modern-day society put too much on having to be right or put too much energy in places where it really doesn’t matter.”
STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM
With that said, the singer credited his strong support system for his survival in the industry. The support from his family and friends has enabled him to find the middle ground between being Sean Paul, the megastar and Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques.
“I’m a very private person. I don’t need the crowd telling me that this is the way I should go or step. I find that I should learn from people, but I don’t really like a crowd because a crowd is a mob and a mob has no brain,” he said, as he listed the things he likes to do for fun.
“Sean Paul is a lover of life. I’m a normal person. I ride bicycle, I play tennis with friends, basketball also. I like restaurants and I also don’t mind cooking a meal and just chilling with people. Life leads you in different directions, so where I would be if I wasn’t doing music, I’m not too sure, but I like to make myself useful,” he said, proclaiming that in 2017, fans can only expect bigger and better things.
“I have a lot of music recorded that I’m about to release this year. I’m not taking a break from my music so just look out for what’s coming next.”