August 24, 2006

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Mr. Dancehall speaks
Sean Paul makes a swing through New Hampshire
By Erica Febre efebre@hippopress.com

To MTV, Sean Paul is Mr. Dancehall.

The Jamaican-born artist brought the mix of reggae and hip-hop that has defined the musical genre for the past few years to the American mainstream, first catching many a pop music loverís attention through his appearance in songs such as ďBaby BoyĒ (a Beyonce hit) and ďIím Still in Love with YouĒ (with Sasha), according to his Web site. Paul is now touring in support of his most recent album Trinity, from which have sprung radio hits such as ďGive It Up to Me.Ē Sean Paul played the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center in Gilford on August 17. Before he went on stage, he called to chat.

Letís talk about your music Ö Over the past few years, youíve really been bringing your music to stages all over the world Ö
Yeah, basically since ďGimme the LightĒ broke Iíve been touring a lot and Iíve been doing a lot of things. This year, we went to South Africa and Europe. Iíve been to Africa before but never to South Africa. Also, I went to all types of places in Europe this time that I didnít go to before, like Turkey and the next day after Turkey I was supposed to go to Beirut and we saw on the TV bombs flying and we were like, wow. That was the first day that they started firing at each other and we were supposed to fly there that day.

So that was canceled, I guess.
Yeah, that was crazy.

It must be a rewarding experience to know that audiences everywhere are tuning in to your music.
Itís a great feeling to know that you can do your artwork and you can be heard, you know what I mean? I feel a great sense of responsibility to keep to the tradition of music that Iím in. Dancehall music, reggae music is something that is very important to me so Iím glad to be received and go around the world spreading it more and more.

Is there a translation of your album for foreign countries?
Oh no, itís the same language. Itís written in English. I do speak Patwa, which is an indigenous language to Jamaica basically, itís a mixture of, itís not a language itís just slang, a broken language, itís a mixture of English with African-type, Creole words. I donít know if people can understand everything on my albums, but Iíve tried to put more English hooks like, ďjust gimme the light,Ē or ďI donít really care what people say,Ē those are English words, English hooks. I also use some hip-hop terms, you know, I mean, like a bottle of mo, ďbustiní out a bottle of mo,Ē we donít say Mo in Jamaica, we donít usually drink Moet, we drink Guinness and beer in the dancehalls. So I just use that to get across to people. I think when people hear a song they like, like when I hear a Latin song or reggaeton song that I like, I like it even though I can only distinguish certain words ícause I donít speak Spanish.

I know what you mean, it doesnít matter what language it is, if you like the way it soundsÖ
Yeah, exactly, so it helps to connect people and helps people feel closer to the song, I think so, thatís how I write songs, thatís how Iíve been writing songs.

So, you joined Mariah Carey with her tour this summer?
Yeah and I just came back from Europe. She has been on tour for longer than Iíve been on tour with her. I just joined the tour a week ago. Weíve done six shows so far. I also have a couple shows booked in between her dates. Generally, itís a lot more people like a basketball stadium full of 25, 35,000 people. The shows that I do, itís more like 15,000 people, but I enjoy to be able to give them a lot more in terms of music work, you know what I mean, Iím there for an hour and a half. I slow it down, I do some reality songs, play a guitar and sing a song, I go back into the stuff they know from MTV. Itís a lot more detail into my shows. Youíll see, if you come to my show, you get a lot more than what you see on MTV and BET.

Sounds like itís been a busy summer for you.
Yeah, Iím kinda just doing my thing, you know what I mean. Also, promoting singles and doing this tour. I have to do a knee operation in September. Thereís nothing wrong with my knee right now, but I do have a injury from a long time ago. So Iím taken the time off to do it. In that time Iím also gonna record some songs for a new album, which is gonna come out next year, I hope, early spring. Iíve already recorded three tracks which are playing in Jamaica right now, one of them features Wyclef Jean, so you can look forward to that for next year.


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