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Sean Paul

Sean Paul COP21 2015-12-10 (cropped).jpg
Paul at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference
Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques

(1973-01-09) 9 January 1973 (age 51)
Kingston, Jamaica
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
Years active 1994–present
Jodi Stewart
(m. 2012)
Children 2
Musical career
Associated acts

Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques OD (born 9 January 1973) is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall singer and rapper. He released his first album, Stage One, in 2000. However, it was in 2002 that he gained international fame after releasing his sophomore album, Dutty Rock. The single "Get Busy" topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, as did "Temperature" (2005), off his third album, The Trinity. Paul frequently invokes the nickname "Sean da Paul", originating from the similarity between his stage name and cricketer Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Most of his albums have been nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album, with Dutty Rock winning the award. Paul has been featured in many other singles, including chart-toppers "Baby Boy" by Beyoncé, "Breathe" by Blu Cantrell, "What About Us" by The Saturdays, "Rockabye" by Clean Bandit, "Cheap Thrills" by Sia, and "Fuego" by DJ Snake.

"Cheap Thrills" and "Rockabye", along with Paul's own "No Lie" (2016), each have over 1 billion views on YouTube, with "Rockabye" having reached over 2.7 billion views.

Early life

Sean Paul Ryan Francis Henriques was born in Kingston on 9 January 1973. His mother Frances, a painter, is of English and Chinese Jamaican descent. His Portuguese paternal great-grandfather's Sephardic Jewish family emigrated 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. Several 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 behavior 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. In 1992, Paul worked as a bank teller and enrolled in a hotel-management program, learning the basics of French cuisine.


1994–2000: Early beginnings and rise to fame

In 1994, Paul appeared in Carrot Jetter's music video "Nice Time".

Zachary Harding told his brother, Jeremy, about a singer that he had heard perform live at a small open mic event in Kingston, who sounded a lot like dancehall deejay and toaster Super Cat. Jeremy 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". Jeremy subsequently became Paul's manager and producer.

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".

In 1997, Paul collaborated with singer Spanner Banner on the song "Ladies Man".

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.

2001–2015: Atlantic Records deal and international success

Paul performing in 2005

In 2001, Paul continued his work with manager and producer Jeremy Harding, Paul released a single "Gimme the Light" after writing and recording his lyrics to the "Buzz" riddim, the single turned out to be a nationwide success in Jamaica and eventually became a worldwide smash hit in 2002, ultimately reaching number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, the early crossover momentum of the single would help Paul secure a record deal with Atlantic Records in a joint venture deal with his label VP Records, the single would then appear on his second studio album, Dutty Rock which was released in November 2002. All of its latter hit singles would also receive heavy airplay and rotation on MTV and BET.

In early 2003, the second single "Get Busy" was released and would end up topping the Billboard Hot 100 months later, making it Paul's first number-one hit, it was also the first ever dancehall song to top the chart. Dutty Rock became a worldwide commercial success, peaking in the top ten on the Billboard 200, was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and eventually selling over six million copies worldwide. Dutty Rock won the Best Reggae Album at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards in 2004. "Get Busy" was also nominated for Best Male Rap Solo Performance in that year. Simultaneously, Paul was featured on Beyoncé's U.S. number-one hit song "Baby Boy" and Blu Cantrell's "Breathe", although didn't perform well in the United States but was a massive hit in Europe. Both helped to push his reputation further still in the United States. This album not only further popularized dancehall music in the 2000s, but also helped developed and popularized the genre of dancehall pop, a musical fusion between the rhythmic styles and melodies of dancehall and pop music.

Paul's third album The Trinity was released on 27 September 2005. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, breaking records with its first-week sales for a reggae/dancehall artist, eventually going Platinum in the United States and selling 4 million copies worldwide. The album produced five big hits, "We Be Burnin'", Ever Blazin'", "(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me" (featuring Keyshia Cole), "Never Gonna Be the Same", and the U.S. chart-topping smash hit "Temperature", making it his third number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Temperature" becoming one of his signature hits. The video of "(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me" 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 100 Single of the Year for "Temperature". He also won an American Music Award for "(When You Gonna) 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 2007 Cricket World Cup opening ceremony.

Paul appears in the video game Def Jam: Fight for NY as part of Snoop Dogg's crew and again in the game's sequel, Def Jam: Icon.

Paul in 2007

Paul's fourth album Imperial Blaze was released on 18 August 2009. The lead single, "So Fine", which was produced by Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor, premiered on Paul's website on 25 April 2009.

The album consists of 20 tracks including "So Fine", "Press It Up", "She Want Me", and "Private Party", which are party tracks, and also love songs such as "Hold My Hand" (featuring Keri Hilson), "Lately", and "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 Dem Roll", "Back It Up" with Leftside, "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 M-Net's Big Brother Africa: All-Stars on 18 July 2010, he performed his songs "Temperature", "Hold My Hand", and "So Fine".

Paul's fifth album Tomahawk Technique was released on 24 January 2012. The first single, "Got 2 Luv U", features vocals from American singer Alexis Jordan. The song was written by Paul, Ryan Tedder, and Stargate, who also produced the song.

"She Doesn't Mind" is the second single from the album. It was written by Paul, Shellback, and Benny Blanco and was also produced by Shellback and 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 at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

In 2011, Paul released his first riddim called "Blaze Fia Riddim" under Dutty Rock Productions, his own label.

In 2012, Paul was asked to team up with Congorock and Stereo Massive to feature vocals on their song "Bless Di Nation".

Sean-Paul 2012-06-16 photo-by-Adam-Bielawski
Paul in June 2012

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 2.0", which features 2 Chainz and Juicy J, was released on 25 June 2013. Paul released the official remix to the song 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 in the Dominican Republic. The English version reached top 10 status in the United States and topping the charts of several other countries.

Paul appeared on the EP Apocalypse Soon by electronic music 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 singer Timaya on a remix of his song "Bum Bum". An accompanying video, directed by Shutah Films, was released online on 11 April. On 6 July 2015, Paul released the music video for his song "Take It Low" on the album Full Frequency.

2016–2018: New label and commercial resurgence

Paul had already became an independent artist after parting ways with Atlantic Records in September 2014. Under new management of Jules Dougall of Dougall Group and Steve "Urchin" Wilson, Paul enjoyed a commercial resurgence in his career throughout 2016 after being featured on Australian singer Sia's remix version of her song "Cheap Thrills", it topped the Billboard Hot 100, making it Paul's first number-one hit on the chart since 2006. The song was also a global success, reaching number one in more than 15 other countries. It reportedly ended up becoming the most Shazamed song of 2016.

Following this resurgence, Paul signed a new record deal with Island Records in July 2016.

In October 2016, Clean Bandit released the song "Rockabye", which features Paul and English singer Anne-Marie. It peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent nine consecutive weeks at number one of the UK Singles Chart, and gained the coveted Christmas number one. The song would go on to become a massive global hit in 2017, reaching number one in 18 other countries.

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."

On 18 November 2016, he released a new single "No Lie" (featuring Dua Lipa), which served as the lead single from his EP Mad Love the Prequel, which would be released in 2018, making it his first project release with Island Records. The song would eventually become a global phenomenon over the following six years after its release, it became a top-ten hit in 10 different countries and would end up becoming his most streamed song across streaming platforms, the music video, directed by Tim Nackashi, also surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube in April 2022, making it his most popular music video.

One of the few other singles off the EP, "Mad Love", a collaboration with David Guetta, which features singer Becky G, would also make a global impact on the charts, peaking within the top 50 in multiple continents.

In 2018, Paul featured in a bilingual remix of CNCO's song "Hey DJ", alongside American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, which was released on November 9, 2018, by Sony Music Latin.

2019–present: Crossover to Latin music market and latest projects

In March 2019, Paul collaborated with Colombian singer J Balvin on a bilingual song called "Contra La Pared", the song peaked within the top 15 of the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, making it his seventh entry on the chart. It was also a major hit in Spain, peaking in the top 10 on the nation's chart and was a top 30 hit in both Colombia and Argentina.

Paul had 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.

It was announced that he would receive the Order of Distinction (OD) from the Jamaican government on 21 October 2019, "for contribution to the global popularity and promotion of reggae music".

In August 2019, Paul was nominated alongside Drake, DJ Snake, and Snow for the Favorite Crossover Artist category at the 2019 Latin American Music Awards.

In March 2021, Paul released his seventh studio album called Live n Livin under his own label Dutty Rock Productions.

Paul collaborated with fellow Jamaican artists Spice and Shaggy for a dancehall single called "Go Down Deh". They performed the song live on Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and The Wendy Williams Show. The song was massively well-received worldwide on the internet and was named the "dancehall track of the year" for 2021 by NPR.

In May 2022, Paul released his eighth studio album Scorcha through Island Records.

In September 2022, Paul appeared in season 22 of The Voice as Gwen Stefani's coach advisor.

In April 2023, Paul collaborated on another bilingual song called "Niña Bonita" with Colombian singer Feid, the single peaked within the top 50 of the Hot Latin Songs making it his ninth entry on the chart, it has also become a top-10 hit in both Colombia and Ecuador and a top-20 hit in Peru, Spain and Chile.

In October 2023, Paul received a nomination for Crossover Artist of the Year at the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Business ventures

In 2011, Paul established his own record label, Dutty Rock Productions, along with his production team. In 2017, Paul signed Jamaican artist Chi Ching Ching to the label, making it the label's first signing. In 2022, in promotion of his eighth studio album Scorcha, he released his own brand of Jamaican patties called the "Scorcha Patty" along with its hot sauce in partnership with a United Kingdom-based Jamaican restaurant called Port Royal, which was made available for a limited time.


In 2016, Paul donated $1 million JMD toward Bustamante Hospital for Children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul founded the "Sean Paul Foundation" in 2020, aiding less-fortunate communities in Jamaica with donations of groceries to poor families and distribution of tablet computers to primary schools for students.


Paul has spoken out about climate change. In 2015, he attended the United Nations Climate Change conference, expressing concerns over pollution, the coastal erosions of beaches in Jamaica and has said that athletes in the country are having to "run in smog". He has advocated for waste reduction, solar power and the use of electric cars. He collaborated with Paul McCartney, Natasha Bedingfield, Bon Jovi, Colbie Caillat, and various other artists on a single called "Love Song to the Earth" to spread awareness about climate change. In 2018, Paul was named an ambassador for climate change in the Caribbean. In 2022, Paul stated in his efforts to help combat climate change; "I have made the move to make my whole house solar powered. From the water to all the lights, and it runs my studio as well".

Personal life

As a teenager he dated Nicole Wynter, who passed away from a brain tumor at age 17. She is mentioned in the singer's song "Never Gonna Be The Same Again" and a photo of her was shown in the music video.

In 2012, Paul married Jamaican television host Jodi Stewart. In August 2016, it was announced that the couple was expecting their first child. On 26 February 2017, Paul announced the birth of their son. Their second child 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)



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Belly Himself Uncredited


Year Title Role
2003 Late Night with Conan O'Brien Musical guest
Saturday Night Live Musical guest
Players Himself, musical guest
2003, 2005 Later... With Jools Holland Himself, musical guest
2003, 2006, 2013 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Musical guest
2003, 2005 Showtime at the Apollo Himself, musical guest
2004 Rove Himself, musical guest
Good Morning Australia Himself, musical guest
2005 Punk'd Himself
TV total Himself, musical guest
2005, 2006 Last Call with Carson Daly Himself, musical guest
2005, 2020–2022 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Musical guest
2006 Live with Kelly and Mark Himself, musical guest
Popworld Himself, musical guest
2006, 2019 Wild 'n Out Himself, musical guest
2009 So You Think You Can Dance Musical guest
The Mo'Nique Show Himself, musical guest
Lopez Tonight Himself, musical guest
2009, 2011, 2021 The Wendy Williams Show Himself, musical guest
2011 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Himself
2012 Big Morning Buzz Live Himself, musical guest
2018, 2021 Good Morning America Musical guest
2020 Access Hollywood Himself
2022 Tamron Hall Himself, musical guest
The Voice Himself, coach advisor
Loose Women Himself, musical guest
The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan Himself, musical guest


Year Title Role
2013 Music for Mandela Himself
2022 African Redemption: The Life and Legacy of Marcus Garvey Himself
2023 Bad Like Brooklyn Dancehall Himself

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Def Jam: Fight for NY Himself Voice and likeness
2006 Def Jam Fight for NY: The Takeover Himself Voice and likeness
2007 Def Jam: Icon Himself Voice and likeness

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2004 Himself Best New Artist Nominated
"Get Busy" Best Male Rap Solo Performance
Dutty Rock Best Reggae Album Won
2006 The Trinity Nominated
2010 Imperial Blaze
2012 Tomahawk Technique
2015 Full Frequency
2017 "Cheap Thrills" (with Sia) Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
2022 Live n Livin Best Reggae Album
2023 Scorcha

Other awards

Year Organisation Award Result
2003 American Music Awards Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Male Artist Nominated
Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop 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
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 Jean, Malachi Smith, and Beenie Man) Won
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards 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 Video ("Temperature")
World Music Awards World's Best Selling Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
Billboard Music Awards Male Artist of the Year
Hot 100 Single of the Year ("Temperature")
Pop 100 Single of the Year ("Temperature")
Rap Artist of the Year
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Male
Best Hip-Hop
2007 NRJ Music Awards International Male Artist of the Year
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Male Singer
MTV Video Music Awards Japan Best Reggae Video ("Temperature")
Soul Train Music 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 Music 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 Awards Best World Stage Performance
Soul Train Music 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 of the Year ("Hair") (with Little Mix)
British Video of the Year ("Rockabye") (with Clean Bandit and Anne-Marie)
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Song ("Rockabye") (with Clean Bandit and Anne-Marie)
2021 MOBO Awards Best Reggae Act
2022 Best Reggae Act

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sean Paul para niños

  • List of UK top-ten singles in 2017
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