Sean Paul Tells Us Why Dancehall Is Still Relevant & How He Helped Bring It Into The Mainstream

It’s not everyday you get to see Jamaican music legend Sean Paul play on the Isle Of Wight, but this weekend, that became a reality as he headlined this year’s Sunday night at Bestival.

We were lucky enough to catch the man himself, fresh off the stage, after he’d just performed to thousands of people and he chatted to us about everything from dancehall to working with Sia.


The UK has always loved Sean Paul, so much so that he’s a staple in every twenty-something’s nostalgia-filled dance playlist. Let’s face it, you’ve never been to a party and not heard a Sean Paul banger, have you…Speaking about the UK and why he loves coming over here, he said: “The UK have been treating me good for quite some years now, I’m a staple here and that feels good. It’s like a home away from my home.”

It’s not just the music that brings Sean Paul back to the UK, he explains: “I’ve got family here too, so that feels doubly comfortable.” Over the Bestival weekend we were blessed with sunshine, but also the odd spot of rain, and like all UK festivals, Sean had been warned about our dubious weather conditions…

He said: “I’ve always been told that the Bestival festival is very muddy, and today we made sure to import some sunshine. I think mud is fun too at times so it was good out there today, there was an amazing vibe.”  We agree, the vibe was amazing, and his set was joined by the loudest crowd of the whole weekend.

Sean Paul’s place in the music industry has changed and developed over the years, which begs the question, is he still as relevant as he once was? We asked him just that, and how he feels about modern uses of dancehall – a genre he pioneered into the mainstream in the early 2000s, hailing from his home of Jamaica.

He gave us an insight into how he feels about modern dancehall and the journey it’s been on to get to where it is today with the likes of Major Lazer and Justin Bieber using it to their advantage. He said: “Back in the day when dancehall was becoming really popular, and I was on the forefront of it in 2000 to 2003, big artists did it, Beyonce, Keyshia Cole, Busta Rhymes, a lot of people from different genres.”

He added: “Then it wasn’t that hot anymore, and now it’s returning to that, I’m feeling proud of that, there’s a lot more producers of dancehall and there’s a lot more artists worldwide, a lot more fans. Our genre has grown and I’ve helped to stabilise it as an international genre, so I feel good.”

Another thing that makes him so familiar to music fans across the globe is his countless collaborations with the biggest stars, and more recently his hook up with Sia on her hit single ‘Cheap Thrills’. When asked what it was like to work with her, he said: “She’s dope! I’ve never met her, my mum’s a fan of her too and just her voice, the music… She’s such a dope talent, big her up. I thank her all the time for having me on the record, she’s amazing.”

So even though they’ve never met, he still has a lot of respect for Sia, in particular her choices when it comes to fame. He said: “I feel good for her that she’s able to hide her face away from it. We know what she looks like but she wanted her privacy this time around, and she got it, and that’s pretty rare in this business.”

And with that, Sean Paul left the Bestival site to head back to London and fans lucky enough to get tickets were able to watch one of his most intimate gigs in recent years last night (13th September) at Camden’s Electric Ballroom. He clearly made the most of his brief time in the UK, making fans over here very happy.

Source: Sean Paul Tells Us Why Dancehall Is Still Relevant & How He Helped Bring It Into The Mainstream | MTV UK

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