We love sitting down with a suave Brit any day of the week, and multi-platinum selling artist – Jay Sean – is no exception. This summer he made waves with his newest single – featuring Sean Paul – called “Make My Love Go.” As it was his first single in three years, it was a long-awaited arrival, and the fact that he has a yoga studio with his wife as well as a health routine where he “carb cycles” just made him all the more intriguing of an interview for us. Read through below on all things reggae, yoga and technology from the ultimate hip hop artist himself…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
I tend to stick to a very disciplined diet that usually involves carb cycling; no carb day followed by a medium carb day, followed by high carb day. The carbs are usually in the form of vegetables and perhaps sweet potato or brown rice, but the meat portions are always as follows – seven eggs for breakfast, 8 oz of chicken a few hours later, then another 8 oz 2 hours later, 8 oz turkey 3 hours later, 8 0z turkey for dinner and then a protein shake before bed. Boring perhaps, but it works for me!
What inspired your newest single “Make My Love Go?”
I love reggae music and grew up on it as well as hip hop and RnB. This song incorporates all those influences together with a pop, top line melody. I wanted to make something that made you want to dance but was also sexy and smooth at the same time! It’s a feel good summer song!
You and your wife, Thara, have a yoga studio together. Is that a favorite workout of yours? What are your favorite poses?
Usually the one where you lie on the floor and rest! In all honesty, I would say I enjoy the standing bow pose because I took time to really improve and try to master it, as it was one of my weakest at first. To see the progress is very gratifying.
Do you guys cook together? What do you make?
Thara is an incredible cook; she taught me how to make healthy food taste good so it doesn’t need to be boring. Now, I know how to cook those same dishes for myself, although it’s never quite as yummy as hers!
What are your other favorite workouts?
I do both weights and cardio pretty much five days a week. I stick to classic bodybuilding style with weights as I believe if it ain’t broke, why fix it? The legends like Arnold and Frank Zane knew how to perfect and sculpt the body and they were from the seventies. I have of course tried pretty much every other technique and workout – like p90x and insanity and cross fit – but this works best for me. In terms of cardio, I switch between incline walks and StairMaster to keep my heart rate in the fat burning zone.
What’s your idea of the perfect sandwich? The perfect salad?
Well, the sandwich would have to be on a cheat day! It would be on multi-grain bread, toasted, with lots of melted cheese, pesto, chicken or beef, caramelized onions and some pickles. A reuben I guess?
I keep salads yummy: Spinach, arugula, herbed chicken, nuts, goat cheese, onions, pumpkin seeds, avocado, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
What’s your idea of the perfect date night?
Seeing as indulging in food is not an option for me, my sin is cocktails! I love laughing and drinking. So I would say starting with a romantic restaurant, great food and fine wine, then a few drinks at a comedy club, then bar crawling and exploring a city at the same time, ending up at a night club to dance the night away!
What are your biggest inspirations when it comes to making music?
I like to take time to create a mood. It has to evoke a feeling in the listener. Whether that feeling is happiness, uplifting, or even nostalgia, I want to connect with people through my music. I want them to feel like I’m talking directly to them – like the song is personal to them.
The issue in the music industry you feel most passionately about right now…
I feel like we have become a generation where attention spans are no longer what they were, and this is partly due to technology. There was a time when we could watch a twenty-minute interview on YouTube; now, it’s condensed to five minutes max because we have the ability to quickly click on another video and just browse, browse and skip. Instagram videos get less likes than a still image because even asking for fifteen seconds of your time is too much! Vine stayed successful because it’s limited to six seconds (easier to digest) so wasn’t put out of business when Instagram introduced video! Much is the case with music. People rarely listen to a whole album anymore; they skip through the first thirty seconds or so of each song to see if they like it enough to buy the whole thing. And if they don’t want to, they can just buy the songs they liked…at first listen! As a result, music has become somewhat more disposable because we don’t actually live with it anymore. We get over it quicker and onto the next. We are a streaming society now. We listen to what we want, when we want. We watch what we want, when we want. And that’s okay; we have to adapt to it. We can’t live in the past. So, as a songwriter and an artist, my challenge is to keep the audience’s attention and love and carry on giving them great music so that they say “I loved that. What else you got?” I accept the challenge!
How do you always start your day? What’s your go to breakfast?
I start my day with a cup of coffee – usually in bed – and take time to wake up peacefully and embrace the day! I always eat eggs for breakfast.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The worst?
The best advice was “to spend so much time on self improvement that you have no time to criticise others.” I love that and I try to live by it everyday. The worst was when people said, “I wouldn’t take that risk if I were you; you’re never gonna make it in the entertainment industry.” That only made me want to succeed even more. So maybe ironically it was the best advice I was ever given too!
What restaurants do you eat at when you’re in NYC and LA?
You never liked X until you tried Y…
You’ve never liked a tuna pizza until you’ve had it from Yellowtail in Vegas! Super thin sliced tuna sashimi with truffle butter on a super thin air crust. No trip to Vegas is complete without this!
In the same vein as what’s the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato for you right now?
The new potato is definitely kale! It’s everywhere! You can’t escape it – from smoothies to salads to pizzas! Luckily my wifey has been cooking kale for me for years, so I’m used to it, but it’s always funny to watch the new craze happen. At least it’s something super good for us!
*Jay Sean, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann