Jan 06, 2011
With his new song Tik Tok, the popular reggae/dancehall man has taken a turn toward dance music. Find out about this unique collaboration and the events that led up to this amalgamation of genres in Sean’s exclusive interview with LessThan3.
Bob Sinclar feat Sean Paul - Tik Tok (Original Club Edit) 
LessThan3: How did you get interested in dance music? Were you into house music before your new collaboration with Bob Sinclar, Tik Tok?
Sean: You know, in Jamaica people don’t know it but we produce reggae, we produce dancehall, and there are thousands of songs. We also have a very good listenership of other music. Like, it’d be crazy for people to know that for instance Kenny Rogers came to Jamaica—he draws a huge crowd. And I get where it’s coming from—I understand it. It’s almost double-timing to what reggae is and so it can be mixed together. And I think that’s what Bob just did—Bob Sinclar—he did that with his last album where he worked with Sly and Robbie. People that were his original fans didn’t get it, but I think that it proved the test of time and showed people that it obviously can be done. I’ve always been open minded. I wanted to do different types of music as well as my own, so that was it.
LessThan3: You said that Bob approached you to work on this?
Sean: Yeah, he came to Jamaica and was doing work with many artists. He did a remix album of Sly and Robbie—Jamaican producers who have produced many hits over the years in reggae. He wanted to do a collab—a retake on their work, and he came out to work with Jamaican artists. That time he really wanted to work with me, I just didn’t have time. I met him in the studio but I couldn’t stick around to hear what he had. We just met briefly and just said “yes, we work.” There were two just people who loved music and who are open-minded and floating around thinking “what’s next?” without a definite plan. This is where the music has taken us.
LessThan3: Do you think that other hip hop and dancehall artists are going to be moving toward the dance scene, or do you think this is just you individually doing your own thing?
Sean: You know what—last year I was in Miami for this festival. They were having a conference; the winter music conference or something like that. I was in a hotel and there were parties going on throughout the day and night. I was actually shooting videos for my last album. Someone was telling me that dance music was going to blow up, so I do see it as a trend. If you look at Usher, his biggest hits right now are dance music, and he’s an R&B star. If you listen to his previous work it doesn’t really sound like his hits now. It’s just that dance music right now is really strong. I may not know everything about every genre and every artist, but I do check out what’s popular and try to keep up with the trends.
LessThan3: Do you think after working with Bob Sinclar you’ll maybe incorporate more dance music sounds into your music?
Sean: We’ve been trying to do that back at home even earlier this year. Now that I’ve hooked up with Bob who is known for this music, I think that it’s going to give me fans that were strictly dance-oriented. I’d like to do a couple more tracks. Blending music comes naturally to me.
LessThan3: You were talking about working in the studio with Bob—was most of your work done together or did you work remotely?
Sean: When he found the track he wanted to do with me he sent it to me. I was doing some other work at the time. So it kinda dragged on and he was like “hey, what’s up?” and I told him “yo I’m gonna hit it up soon.” I did a small demo, and the demo was more singing. I think he heard it and he said “I like it, but I want you to do what you usually do on your tracks.” So that’s really how it happened.
LessThan3: That’s amazing that technology enables you guys to work like that.
Sean: A lot of my collabs have been that way and it’s due to technology. There have been one or two that have been authentically us in the studio like me and Busta Rhymes and me and Beyoncé, but the track I did with Santana we back and forth and we met in person for the video.
LessThan3: People go crazy for live vocals in a dance music setting. Do you think you might have any plans to perform your collaborations live?
Sean: I’m in France now and we performed for 70,000 people two nights ago. He was booked on a big dance music show. Kylie Minogue and Kelly Rowland were there. They surprised the people because they didn’t tell them that I was coming, and the song had been playing here over the radio for a little while. I ran out onstage and we did the song and the place went crazy. It might be different-sounding, but dance, dancehall… it’s the same type of thing. Other than that, we’ve been doing it on my shows.
LessThan3: So we’ve gotta ask you this—does the track have anything to do with Ke$ha at all?
Sean: No—someone asked me that today. In Jamaica, “Tik Tok” is a dance the ladies do; we’ve talked about “Tik Tok” songs for ages. So I mean, Ke$ha is a beautiful young songstress coming up doing her thing—no disrespect to her—but she’s not the first person who said that. In our language in Jamaica when you say “girl, tik tok”, it means wind.