For Grammy Award-winning Sean Paul, receiving a national honour is a humbling experience. The deejay, whose full name is Sean Paul Francis Henriques, is set to receive the Order of Distinction in the rank of commander (CD) “for contribution to the global popularity and promotion of reggae music” on October 21 at King’s House.
Speaking to the Jamaica Observer’s Splash, Sean Paul said this is a real accomplishment for him as, over the years, he has watched the ceremony and admired those who have been awarded. To be recognised is an honour for the 46-year-old deejay.
“It was a surreal moment. Each year I would hear names and watch on TV as people received their awards and I would often wonder how their lives went and what has brought them to this moment to be honoured, so now that it is happening to me it is quite surreal. I’ve always followed my heart and tried not to allow my actions to impact people in a negative way. I’ve made sure I followed a more positive path. I have concentrated on those positive things and that has helped me to forward to this point,” he noted.
Sean Paul and his wife Jodi, who were married in 2012, are anxiously awaiting the birth of their second child next week. They are already parents to two-year-old son, Levi. He shared how fatherhood has affected his life and music.
“It has been amazing. I see myself in my son, and my wife’s family as well in his personality and just little things about him. Everyone has always told me how special it is to leave a legacy here on Earth. It is the only form of immortality that we know of at this point. It is something that I am very proud of, and of course, there is a lot of anxiety as you worry about how he will be affected by different things happening here on Earth and in the country itself so I try to be a good parent, leading by example,” he reasoned. “And with a daughter on the way I just want to teach her the best possible way. There are songs that I’ve sang that I don’t want my son to hear or know the full meaning of it. But I think that in general I have written songs which, even if they are sexually provocative I’ve written them in a way that is a little bit coded.”
Sean Paul used the opportunity to clarify a statement attributed to him regarding the patois being a hindrance to the development of Jamaican music. He also addressed the suggestion from Opposition Senator Dr Andre Haughton that expletives be allowed free rein in dancehall circles.
“Let me just clarify. The reporter asked me what do I think are barriers in Jamaica why our artistes are not getting too far outside of the island with our music; I said patois, but I never meant it was anything wrong. I believe that it is a very expressive way to speak and it represent rebellion. But I also do believe that if the country that you live in uses the English language then you should be able to speak it properly as well,” he explained. “So I didn’t mean it in a negative way, it’s just a barrier. Is just like me listening to a person speaking [singing in] Chinese or Spanish, I might feel the rhythm and melodies, but I don’t understand what they are saying… that’s a barrier to me.”
As for Haughton’s controversial statement that he plans to move a motion to allow use of ‘bad words’ at dancehall events, Sean Paul is ambiguous.
“I believe there is a time and place for everything. From you can express an idea and somebody can get what you are saying I don’t believe it is a bad word. I believe words can evolve. The English language is always changing,” he said. “I am not saying that our bad words should be put in the dictionary, but it should always be used in context. It should not be used in schools or around children, and I certainly don’t think children should be taught to express themselves in this way. However, if given an inch people are going to take a mile and next thing you will have expletives being used everywhere, so people should use their moral compass so they know where and which time is right to say certain words.”
Sean Paul has put touring on hold as he awaits the birth of his second child, noting that he will resume in late November. However, parenthood will not stop the release of new material for the artiste known for hit singles such as Gimme The Light, Temperature, Baby Boy, and We Be Burning.
“I have a new song and video dropping on August 23rd, that’s a few days after the baby is to arrive. It’s called When it Comes to You. It’s just me alone on this track; Island Records is putting it out. I’ve also done a song with Squash, 6ixx Boss, and the video for that is ready,” he shared. “I have a couple other productions with Dutty Rock. Right now, the Dutty Rock team is promoting the Calaloo rhythm, featuring people like Spragga Benz, myself and Delly Ranx. There will be a few more productions like this in the coming months, perhaps one before Christmas and the other early next year.”
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