by Collin Masters
With a new Columbia record deal and help from some of the top players in the game, songwriter/producer Sean Garrett is set to claim his place as an all-around musician. Having worked on projects with a multitude of artists that come from all different musical genres, the Atlanta native talks about working with Justin Bieber, his “Feel Love” single and what we can expect from his new album. Although breaking artists is something he loves to do, now is the time for Garrett to step up to the challenge of breaking himself.
YRB: Tell me about “Feel Love?”
Sean: “Feel Love” is the first single off my new album coming out this summer. It’s a record from my heart that I feel is very necessary at this time. When everyone is going right, I decided to go left. I’m catering to the hearts and souls of women talking about something that’s real. This song is about the first time you’ve ever fallen in love with somebody whether you’re 13 or 23.
YRB: There was a version with Drake floating around. What happened with that?
Sean: Officially, I had a mixtape out called The Inkwell with a lot of great artists that did features on the project. Everyone from Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Yo Gotti, Bun B, Fabolous, Tyga and Gucci Mane showed their support.
YRB: How did the Roc Nation collaboration come about?
Sean: I was working with Beyoncé, and she asked me what new projects I was working on. I told her I was working on my solo project, and she wanted to hear some of my records. So I played her “Feel Love” and she told me that she really loved it. Then she called up the big homie Jay-Z. He came and listened to the record and told me to hold off – we’re going to do this right. Most people believe that me being in the position that I’m in, I don’t need anyone. This just shows you that it’s always good to have great friends and being able to give so much of yourself that one day the favor gets returned.
YRB: What can we expect from your new album?
Sean: You can expect greatness – just to be in the company of Jay-Z and Beyoncé and work with some of the greatest producers says it all. I’m very thankful and I appreciate all the love I’m getting from my fans.
YRB: How will it be different than your album Turbo 919?
Sean: Turbo 919 was my Japanese album. This album is more for my American audience, and it’s going to show growth vocally and sonically.
YRB: You’re also working on Bieber’s new album with Tricky. Why did you all decide to aim for an older crowd on this one?
Sean: It’s growth. When you put the producer hat on you have to be very smart. My plans for Justin Bieber was to give him number one records. You can continue to back the frenzy or you can get down to business, and my business is giving people number one records.
YRB: Do you think that will leave his core audience behind?
Sean: Not at all because his core audience is growing with him. When I say I’m aiming for an older market it doesn’t mean I’m going for 44-year-olds. Justin’s fan base is from 12 to 24, so I just want to get a mass of listeners to enjoy his songs. I made that transition with Chris Brown when I made “Run It,” which was the No. 1 record on the Hot 100s.
YRB: What is it like working with him?
Sean: Justin is a great kid that’s very humble and appreciative of everything he’s attaining at this point. He’s been able to enjoy his life and have a lot of fun, which he deserves because hard work pays off.
YRB: How’s Beyoncé’s album coming along?
Sean: I can’t talk about the album. All I could say is Beyoncé is the best female artist of our time.
YRB: Who else are you writing for?
Sean: I just did a song for K. Michelle that I wrote and produced. I’m going to shake the world up with K. Michelle. She’s one of the biggest voices to come along in the last five years. I like to break new artists to show my fans and the music community this is what I love to do. I want to die a legend, and I owe my life to the music.
YRB: You have a deep discography. Who would you like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Sean: What I’m really excited about, again, is just breaking new artists. Breaking myself has been a beautiful feeling, and to see my record No. 18 on iTunes is a great feeling. I have a new artist by the name of Jessica Ashley who is Russian and American. She’s a cross between Alicia Keys and Nelly Furtado. I believe she’s the next pop superstar. If you’re not breaking new artists you can’t be considered one of the greats.
YRB: Was it hard to convince fans that you’re an artist and not just a songwriter/producer?
Sean: Everything is difficult until it’s proven. When you’re working from the ground up you know what the ground feels like. I was an artist first before I became famous as a songwriter/producer. God had it for me to be a songwriter/ producer first, which I’m very happy it went that way because I learned a lot about the industry so I’m able to function as an artist. I’m able to protect myself from a lot of the pitfalls that new artists fall victim to.