Very few dancehall artistes have had the kind of impact Sean Paul boasts of in mainstream music circles. With his unique style, he has put Jamaica on the global music map. Prior to hearing his music, few people would have expected anything but strictly reggae sounds from Jamaica.
Sean Paul has had such an amazing career laced with collaborations and single hits that he is known for around the world. He continues to keep himself relevant by collaborating with younger artists like Sia. The Cheap Thrills remix on which the rapper did a verse became an international hit and reminded fans all over the world that Sean Paul is far from being gone.
Though Jamaican, Sean Paul Has Mixed Ancestry
The global star was born Sean Paul Francis Henriques on 9 January 1973. He is proudly Jamaican but his ethnicity is a bit complex. He was born in Kingston, Jamaica, both of his parents Garth and Frances can trace their ancestry to various other ethnic groups like most other Jamaicans whose progenitors immigrated to the island at different times.
His paternal grandfather was from a Jewish family that emigrated from Portugal. On his paternal grandmother’s side, it is evidenced that she is Afro-Caribbean. His mother, along with being Jamaican, is of English and Chinese descent. With this mixture of cultures and religions, Sean Paul was raised a Catholic and definitely has a rich history.
Sean Paul Is One Of Jamaica’s Biggest Music Exports
Coming from a family of sportsmen, Sean’s earliest ambitions was not to become a musician. In fact, he just wanted to follow in the family’s sporting traditions. His father was a long-distance swimmer who also tried his hands at water polo in the 1960s. Paul’s mother was a butterfly swimmer. In his teens, Sean played in Jamaica’s national polo team and seriously considered the prospect of going pro but had a rethink and started drifting towards music.
He obtained a degree in commerce with an option to pursue a career in hotel management from the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, which has been renamed as the University of Technology. Prior to his music career taking off, he also worked as a bank teller and chef in a local restaurant.
His first song Baby Girl was released in the mid-’90s to some measure of success within the country. After a few cameo appearances, he dropped his first studio album Stage One on the 28th of March 2000. The album has songs such as “Sound the Alarm” (featuring Looga Man). One of the most popular tracks on the album was “Deport Them” It was used in the 2003 film 2 Fast 2 Furious. The song peaked at number 80 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks.
His second studio album, Dutty Rock, was a success, managing to sell 65,000 copies in the first week and eventually sold over six million copies worldwide. He won his first Grammy Award with the album. The success of the singles “Gimme the Light” and “Get Busy” propelled Sean Paul to stardom in the US and around the world.
His third album The Trinity equally enjoyed massive airplay. One of the songs “Temperature” which at the time of its release was considered an iconic dance song, climbed high on many charts around the world. The album also had other songs such as “We Be Burnin’”, “Ever Blazin’”, “Give It Up to Me”, “Never Gonna Be the Same” all of which topped the charts at different times across the globe.
He has released three more albums; Imperial Blaze (2009), Tomahawk Technique (2012), Full Frequency (2014) to varying degrees of success. In a career spanning well over two decades, Sean has remained one of Jamaica’s most globally recognized acts. His worldwide appeal has earned him numerous awards, including six Grammy Award nominations and one win. In 2003, he won the Best New Act of the Year at the MTV Europe Music Awards. He also won Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist at the American Music Awards in 2006. He has bagged the Best Reggae Act at the MOBO Awards four times.
Sean Paul’s Music Is A Fusion Of Various Sounds
While Sean Paul may be viewed in simplistic terms as a reggae artist, his music has evolved over time to produce sounds that are stylistically slightly different from classical reggae. For starters, his use of patois has significantly given his music an original Caribbean vibe.
While his first album was mostly reggae, his second studio album which had so much commercial success was more of reggae fusion and dance hall
He has had a great career that still sees the Jamaican dancehall rapper, singer, and record producer’s tracks featured in many party situations where his songs are sure to make a few people get up and dance. He has been an advocate for Jamaican artistes to slow down on the use of “hardcore patois”, and other variations of indigenous languages in their music. He sees this as a barrier that impedes acceptability in Europe as a result of the linguistic differences.
His Collaborations With Other A-list Acts Has Increased His Reach
Another factor that influenced Sean Paul’s global reach is his collaborations with other top artists like Snoop Dogg, Beyonce, Rihanna, and Akon. His second album featured established acts such as Kelly Rowland and Alexis Jordan. His album Full Frequency which was released in 2014 has the most featured artists. On the project, he worked with Damian Marley, Iggy Azalea, Konshens, and Nicki Minaj.
Sean Paul Has Been Married To Jodi Stewart For Almost A Decade
Sean Paul tied the know with his longtime girlfriend Jodi Stewart in 2012. Stewart is a Jamaican TV host. The two live in a suburb of Kingston, Jamaica, furthering our perception that Sean Paul is Jamaican through and through since all his success has not made him leave the place where he was born and raised.
It seems that the two are also intent on raising their kids in Kingston, Jamaica. They announced in August 2016 that they were expecting their first child and on 26th February 2017, Levi Blaze, Sean Paul’s son, was born. Their daughter Remi Leigh Henriques later joined the family on August 20, 2019.