Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques
9 January 1973
Paul's singles "Get Busy" and "Temperature" topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and most of his albums have been nominated for the Grammy's Best Reggae Album, with Dutty Rock winning the award. Paul has also been featured in many other singles including chart-toppers "Baby Boy" with Beyoncé, "What About Us" by The Saturdays, "Rockabye" by Clean Bandit, and "Cheap Thrills" by Sia.
Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 9 January 1973. His mother Frances, a painter, is of English and Chinese Jamaican descent. His paternal great-grandfather's Sephardic Jewish family immigrated from Portugal to Jamaica in the 17th century, while his paternal grandmother was Afro-Jamaican.
Paul was raised as a Catholic, though he also attended the Jewish private school Hillel Academy in Jamaica. Many members of his family are swimmers. His grandfather was on the first Sri Lankan men's national water polo team. His father also played water polo for the team in the 1960s, and competed in long-distance swimming, while Paul's mother was a butterfly swimmer. When Paul was 15, his father was arrested on charges of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison; he was released for good behaviour when Paul was 19.
Paul played for the national water polo team from the age of 13 to 21, when he gave up the sport in order to launch his musical career. He attended Wolmer's Boys' School and the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, now known as the University of Technology, where he was trained in commerce with an aim of pursuing an occupation in swimming.
1994–2000: Stage One
Former manager and producer Jeremy Harding's brother told him about a singer at a small open mic event in Kingston who sounded a lot like Super Cat, the dancehall DJ and toaster. Harding eventually met the singer when Paul came by his studio to ask for some advice. During the meeting Paul recorded a vocal over Harding's rhythm track and in the process created the song "Baby Girl". Paul began hanging out at the studio every day, and the pair collaborated on several more tracks. When they recorded "Infiltrate" they decided they had something good enough to get on the radio. As Paul started to attract local attention, Harding began looking after his affairs. He later told HitQuarters that his support of Paul's fledgling career initially led him assuming the roles of "DJ, manager, road manager and security guard." Paul made a cameo appearance in the 1998 film Belly on stage performing. He made a successful collaboration with DMX and Mr. Vegas, "Top Shotter", to the soundtrack of the film. In 2000, Paul released his debut album, Stage One with VP Records.
2001–2004: Dutty Rock
In 2002, Paul continued his work with manager/producer Jeremy Harding, and after a joint venture deal with his label VP Records and Atlantic Records, announced the release of his second album, Dutty Rock. Pushed by the success of the singles "Gimme the Light" and the Billboard Hot 100 topper, "Get Busy", the album was a worldwide success, eventually selling over six million copies. The album Dutty Rock won the Reggae Album of the year at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in 2004. "Get Busy" was also nominated for best Rap Song in that year. Simultaneously, Paul was heard on Beyoncé's U.S. #1 single "Baby Boy" and Blu Cantrell's "Breathe", a chart hit in Europe. Both helped to push his reputation further still in the United States. This album also helped develop the genre of dancehall pop, a musical fusion between the rhythmic styles and melodies of dancehall and pop music. He appeared on Punk'd, 106 & Park, Sean Paul Respect, Making the Video ("Get Busy", "Gimme the Light", and "Like Glue") and his music videos have been broadcast on MTV and BET.
2005–2008: The Trinity
Paul's third album The Trinity was released on 27 September 2005. The album produced five big hits, "We Be Burnin'", "Ever Blazin'", "Give It Up to Me", "Never Gonna Be the Same" and the U.S. chart-topping smash hit "Temperature". The video of "Give It Up to Me" (featuring Keyshia Cole) was featured in the film Step Up in 2006. He was nominated for four awards at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including male artist of the year, rap artist of the year, hot 100 single of the year, and pop single of the year for "Temperature". He also won an American Music Award for "Give It Up to Me" beating Kanye West and Nick Lachey who were also nominated for the award. "Send It On" from The Trinity featured on the 2005 Vauxhall Corsa advert. Paul often contributes his songs to various Riddim Driven albums by VP Records. In March 2007, he returned to Jamaica to perform at the Cricket World Cup 2007 opening ceremony.
2009–2010: Imperial Blaze
The album consists of 20 tracks including "So Fine", "Press it Up", "She Want Me", "Private Party" which are party tracks and also love songs such as "Hold My Hand" (feat Keri Hilson), "Lately", "Now That I've Got Your Love" among others. Producers on the album include Don Corleone, Jeremy Harding, and Paul's brother Jason 'Jigzagula' Henriques. All the songs of the album were added to Paul's Myspace page on the day of release of the album.
The album spawned eight music videos: "Always On My Mind (with Da'Ville)", "Give It to You (with Eve)", "Watch Them Roll", "Back It Up" (with Leftside), "(I Wanna See You) Push It Baby" (with Pretty Ricky), "Hit 'Em" (with Fahrenheit and his brother Jason "Jigzagula" Henriques), "Come Over" with Estelle, and also the video of his first single, "So Fine".
Paul appeared in Shaggy's video, "Save A Life", which also includes appearances from Elephant Man and Da'Ville, among others. In an effort to raise money for a children's hospital, Shaggy, Paul and others had a benefit concert. All proceeds went towards getting new equipment and technology 'For Aid to the Bustamante Hospital for Children'. During the premiere for MNET's Big Brother Africa: All-Stars on 18 July 2010, he performed his songs "Temperature", "Hold My Hand", and "So Fine".
2011–2012: Tomahawk Technique
The first single "Got 2 Luv U" features vocals from American singer Alexis Jordan. It was released on 19 July 2011 by Atlantic Records. The song was written by Paul, Ryan Tedder and Stargate and produced by Stargate.
"She Doesn't Mind" is the second single from the album. It was written by Paul, Shellback and Benny Blanco and was produced by Shellback and Benny Blanco. It was released on 29 September 2011 on NRJ and Skyrock (French radios), and to iTunes on 31 October. Like its proceeder, "Got 2 Luv U", it topped the charts in Switzerland, but it debuted at that spot. Paul appeared on the Never Mind the Buzzcocks episode which aired on 21 November 2011.
Tomahawk Technique was released on 18 September 2012 in the U.S. The album was nominated for the best reggae album in the 55th Grammy awards.
In 2012, Paul was asked to team up with electronic artist Congorock and production/DJ duo Stereo Massive to feature vocals on their song "Bless Di Nation".
2013–2016: Full Frequency
During 2013, Paul worked on his sixth studio album Full Frequency, which was released on 18 February 2014. The first single on the album, "Other Side of Love", was released to iTunes on 10 June 2013. The second single, "Entertainment", which features 2 Chainz and Juicy J, was released on 25 June 2013. Paul released the official remix to "Entertainment" on 3 September 2013 with an additional feature from Nicki Minaj. "Turn It Up" was released as a single in the UK on 20 October 2013. It was to be released in Germany on 22 November 2013. "Want Dem All" was released as a single in the U.S. on 5 November 2013. The album features guest appearances from Damian Marley, Iggy Azalea, Brick & Lace, Konshens, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz and Juicy J. Also in 2013, Paul was featured on the single "What About Us" by British girl group The Saturdays. The single went straight to the top of the Official UK Charts with over 100,000 sales in its first week, becoming the fastest selling single of the year at the time of release.
In January 2014, Paul was the main international artist at Fiestas Palmares 2014 in Costa Rica. Also in 2014, Paul was featured on the official English-language version of long-running Latin American chart topper "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno. The video for the English version was shot concurrently with the video for the Spanish version in Santo Domingo. The English version reached top 10 status in the United States and topping the charts of several other countries.
Paul appeared on the Apocalypse Soon EP by electronic group Major Lazer, on the track "Come On to Me", which was released as the second single from the album, after "Aerosol Can", a collaboration with Pharrell Williams. He also collaborated with Nigerian recording artist Timaya on a remix of his song "Bum Bum". An accompanying video directed by Shutah Films was released online on 11 April. The album was also nominated for Best Reggae Album at the Grammy's in 2015. But, in September 2014, Paul confirmed that he had left Atlantic Records and will become an independent artist. On 6 July 2015, Paul released the music video for his song "Take It Low" on the album Full Frequency.
2016–present: Mad Love the Prequel
Under new management of Jules Dougall of Dougall Group & Steve "Urchin," Paul enjoyed a commercial resurgence in his career throughout 2016 after being featured on three largely successful hit singles by Australian singer Sia, girl band Little Mix and classical crossover group Clean Bandit. On 6 February 2016, Paul performed in the opening ceremony of Pakistan Super League. On 11 February 2016, Sia released a remix version of her song "Cheap Thrills" featuring Paul. The song became an international hit, reaching number one in more than 15 countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. On 11 April 2016, it was confirmed that Paul would be featured on a track by Little Mix called "Hair", from their third album Get Weird.
In June 2016, he signed with Island Records. In November 2016, Paul cited Toots and the Maytals as inspiration when it comes to his own personal career longevity by saying, "I've seen some great people in my industry, you know, people like Toots... Toots and the Maytals. Toots he's a great reggae artist and he's still doing it... He's up there in years and he's doing it. Those kind of artists inspire me. I know I'm just going to keep on doing music as long as I can." In October 2016, Clean Bandit released the song "Rockabye", which features Paul and English singer Anne-Marie. It spent nine consecutive weeks at number one of the UK Singles Chart, and gained the coveted Christmas number one. On 18 November 2016, he released "No Lie" featuring Dua Lipa, which served as the lead single from his EP Mad Love The Prequel.
It was announced that he would receive the Order of Distinction, Commander class (CD) from the Jamaican government on 21 October 2019, "for contribution to the global popularity and promotion of reggae music".
Sean Paul, Spice and Shaggy performed "Go Down Deh" on Good Morning America on June 11, 2021. Their performance was a part of the Caesars Rewards Summer Concert Series.
On 15 June 2021, Sean Paul, Spice and Shaggy performed “Go Down Deh” on Jimmy Kimmel Live as a part of the Mercedes Benz Concert Series.
On 18 June 2021, Sean Paul, Spice, and Shaggy performed live, and was interviewed by Wendy on The Wendy Williams Show.
In Caribbean Heritage Month 2021, Spice, Shaggy and Sean Paul celebrated with “Go Down Deh” on Pix 11I New York.
On 1 July 2021, International Reggae Day Sean Paul, Spice and Shaggy were interviewed live on ITV1's Good Morning Britain.
Paul has suggested that Jamaican musicians making use of "hardcore patois", a mixture of English with several languages spoken in Jamaica, create a language barrier that prevents them from becoming successful in the United States and the United Kingdom.
In 2012, Paul married his long-term girlfriend Jodi Stewart, a Jamaican TV host. In August 2016, it was announced that the couple was expecting their first child. On 26 February 2017, Paul announced the birth of his son, Levi Blaze. Their second child, Remi, was born on 20 August 2019.
- Stage One (2000)
- Dutty Rock (2002)
- The Trinity (2005)
- Imperial Blaze (2009)
- Tomahawk Technique (2012)
- Full Frequency (2014)
- Live N Livin (2021)
- Scorcha (2022)
Awards and nominations
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result||Ref.|
|2004||Himself||Best New Artist||Nominated|||
|"Get Busy"||Best Male Rap Solo Performance||Nominated|
|Dutty Rock||Best Reggae Album||Won|
|2017||"Cheap Thrills" (with Sia)||Best Pop Duo/Group Performance||Nominated|
|2022||Live N Livin||Best Reggae Album||Nominated|
|2003||American Music Awards||Favorite Hip-Hop/Rap Male Artist||Nominated|
|Favorite Hip-Hop/Rap Album (Dutty Rock)|
|BET Awards||Best New Artist|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Dance Video ("Get Busy")|
|Best New Artist in a Video ("Get Busy")|
|MuchMusic Video Awards||Best International Video ("Gimme the Light")||Won|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best New Act of the Year|
|Source Awards||Dancehall Reggae Album of the Year (Dutty Rock)|
|2004||International Reggae and World Music Awards||Entertainer of the Year|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Choreography in a Video ("Like Glue")||Nominated|
|2005||MOBO Awards||Best Reggae Act|
|International Reggae and World Music Awards||Entertainer of the Year (shared with Wyclef; Malachi Smith; Beenie Man)||Won|
|ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Award||Top Reggae Artist of the Year|
|2006||American Music Awards||Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist|
|MOBO Awards||Best Reggae Act|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Dance Video ("Temperature")||Nominated|
|Best Choreography in a Video ("Temperature")|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Reggae Video ("We Be Burnin'")|
|MuchMusic Video Awards||Best International Artist ("Temperature")|
|World Music Awards||World's Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist|
|Billboard Music Awards||Male Artist of the Year|
|Hot 100 Single of the Year (Temperature)|
|Pop Single of the Year ("Temperature")|
|Rap Artist of the Year|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Male|
|2007||NRJ Music Awards||Best International Male Artist of the Year|
|Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Male Singer|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Reggae Video ("Temperature")|
|Soul Train Awards||Best Dance Cut ("(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me")|
|ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards||Reggae Artist of the Year||Won|
|MTV Romania Music Awards||Best International Artist|
|2009||MOBO Awards||Best Reggae Act|
|Soul Train Awards||Best Reggae Artist|
|2010||MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Reggae Video ("So Fine")||Nominated|
|2012||NRJ Music Awards||Best International Male Artist of the Year|
|MTV Europe Music Award||Best World Stage|
|Soul Train Awards||Best Caribbean Performance||Won|
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Reggae Video ("She Doesn't Mind")|
|MOBO Awards||Best Reggae Act|
|2013||Youth View Awards||Favorite Local International Artiste of the Year|
|Star Awards||Album of the Year (Tomahawk Technique)|
|MOBO Awards||Best Reggae Act|
|2017||Brit Awards||British Single of the Year ("Rockabye") (with Clean Bandit and Anne-Marie)||Nominated|
|British Video ("Hair") (with Little Mix)|
|British Video ("Rockabye") (with Clean Bandit and Anne-Marie)|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Song ("Rockabye") (with Clean Bandit and Anne-Marie)|
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… rapper Sean Paul in 1973 (age 47)
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