Billboard chart-topper Jay Sean is set to make a splash on the sand as he headlines the famous (and free) Yasalam Beats on the Beach concert in Abu Dhabi tonight (11 November 2011). But before his Yasalam gig gets underway the R'n'B sensation took time out to chat to Ahlan! Live about working with Nicki Minaj and Joe Jonas and his foray into acting...
How do you feel about performing in Abu Dhabi tonight?
I’ll be performing all my hits from Eyes On You, right up to Hit the Lights. Plus some songs from the album that I know are fans’ favourites. Sometimes when you're performing you might want to perform the songs you love, but the fans are the ones who've come to see you. Now I think I know what they like and that's really important because you don't want to lose your fans. They're the ones buying the albums.
What’s your own personal favourite track?
It’s probably something off the Mistress, which is my mixed tape. It’s not even an official album. The song She Has No Time is probably one of the best songs I've ever written. A song Say Yeah featuring Lupe Fiasco is another song that I'm super, super, proud of - otherwise, from my other albums, probably a song called All or Nothing.
We hear you’ve been working with Nicki Minaj – what was that like?
I'm a goof ball by nature and I love to mess around. And the fact that she is very easy-going and fun to be around is great. You don't have to worry about offending anyone’s ego. We both had fun on set as we're both silly and we had a laugh while filming the video. She's awesome, a lot of fun and very, very, creative person. She's an artist in every sense of the word and to work with her was an amazing experience. I know tons of artists who want to collaborate with her and they're like ‘yo man put in a good word’.
And how was your recent tour with Joe Jonas?
It was fun to be on the road with him and he has great fans. Even if they didn't know my music before, I know that they will become fans now. I've been hit up by tons of Jonas fans on my twitter saying, "Hey we loved seeing you on tour, we're mega fans now, we've got all your albums".
Who else would you like to perform with?
Wow. Who would I want in front of me watching me? Maybe one of my icons like Jay-Z or Beyonce or Stevie [Wonder]. I've actually met all of them, which is amazing. What's really incredible is that fate has led me to meet or become friends with everyone who I either grew up listening to, or was inspired by somehow, which is bizarre to me.
Boyz II Men are big fans of yours too – they’ve even been tweeting your praises recently...
For them to be tweeting about my mixed tape saying, “yo this is some dope R'n'B”, blows my mind. They were the reason I started singing in the first place. The fact that I'm now friends with Sean, it's a really incredible feeling. In this industry you rub shoulders with a lot of people and it’s always a blessing when you meet cool, humble, down-to-earth people that you can get along with.
How did you get started in the music biz?
I'm sure Mum has tons of videos which luckily haven't surfaced yet; probably some really bad ones. Ever since I was a kid I've always been singing, rapping, beat boxing, producing. I’ve been doing this since the age of 10 or 11. So we're talking 20-odd years now.
And what’s this we hear about an acting career?
When I’ve shot music videos I’ve enjoyed it so much that it’s given me the bug. I'm just fascinated and intrigued by that side of the industry. Let's see where it takes me. I hope I'll have some success with it. I want to do a whole film. I want to be able to put my creative energies into something else. When you're a singer, when you're an artist, it's one person and it’s the same person consistently, and it's all good because it's me. But there are many sides of me that R'n'B and pop doesn't allow my fans to see. My hardcore fans know the stupid goofball side of me, which is why I'd love to do a comedy. The public persona of a pop star is that we have to be prim and proper, serious and always perfect. But imperfections exist in all of us. You need those imperfections to be able to laugh at them, to be able to show them publically to people which is something that I think is cool. So, I'm just doing a bunch of auditions, but nothing I can talk about.
And what about your personal relationships – can you talk about your girlfriend?
All I can say for now is that I'm very, very happy in my relationship. And that's all I'm going to say.
INFO: Catch Jay Sean performing live on the Abu Dhabi Corniche tonight (11 November) at 9.20pm. Visit here for details.