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Jay Sean on New Rishi Rich Collab: ‘There Is A Certain Magic About Us Being in The Same Room’

The U.K.-bred artists recently released the club banger ‘Nakhre’

David Britto Oct 28, 2020

U.K.-bred singer-songwriter Jay Sean. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Last month, Indian-origin British artists; singer-songwriter Jay Sean and producer Rishi Rich put out their dance-infused collab “Nakhre” via Break The Noise Records, which samples the song “Tere Chehre Pe” from the 1993 Bollywood film Baazigar. The new track also marks the first time Sean throws in Punjabi lines as both artists pay homage to Nineties Bollywood music.

Recently video platform Triller India ran a contest for fans to show off their dance moves to the song and win a chance to be featured on Sean and Rich’s social media handles. On the experience, Sean says, “It’s another way of being able to show a different side of my personality, this has really been a fun and creative outlet for me.”

In this interview with Rolling Stone India, Sean talks about what it’s like working with Rich, “Nakhre,” his new solo material and more.

How did the collaboration with Rishi Rich come about?

Rishi and I have always wanted to work together in a consistent manner, however, that got difficult when I moved to America and Rishi moved to Mumbai. The thing about us – our chemistry is so strong when we are both physically together in the studio, sending emails back-and-forth with tracks and vocals just doesn’t seem to cut it. There is a certain magic about us being together in the same room. Knowing this, I decided to take a week to go to India specifically to hang out with Rishi and work on some music.

What was it like being in the same room with him as you mentioned and tell us about the inner workings between the pair of you?

I think on the second day together we had written a very strong song and decided to go out to celebrate. We came back in the early hours of the morning and hung out in the studio just listening to Nineties Bollywood and getting in our feels. We played the classics – Aashiqui, Saajan, then Baazigar. When ‘Tere Chere Pe’ came on, and I heard that sample in the beginning, we both knew that was it. Rishi sampled it there and then I made a quick reference beat in 10 minutes. I got behind the microphone and started freestyling melodies. It must’ve been 5 o’clock in the morning and we were so in the zone that we decided to write this song because we were feeling it. The melodies were just flowing so strong and when it got to the hook for some reason, I freestyled a Punjabi melody. Our friend Kiranee was also in the room and we quickly vibed on some Punjabi lyrics together for the hook. I sang them for a reference thinking perhaps somebody else would sing that part at a later point. However, Rishi and Kiranee both thought it sounded really good the way it was and that we should just leave my voice on the hook, and even though I do really enjoy singing in Punjabi and Hindi, I have never actually recorded a song singing in Punjabi. So, this was a first in my career! We had so much fun writing and recording the song.

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For folks tuning into the track – what can you tell them about it?

‘Nakhre’ is a feel-good up-tempo, fun song that is meant to make you smile and live in the moment. It is flirtatious and fun and was made on such a vibe that I firmly believe anyone who listens to it feels the same way that we did when we were writing it – pure joy. It really is a unique sounding song since it seamlessly blends so many different genres in one and nothing seems to be conflicting with each other. You have reggaeton drums with a sprinkle of Afrobeat rhythms, a Bollywood sample, Caribbean steelpans, a pop R&B melody and a Punjabi hook! It really is something unique and special.

When we last interviewed you earlier this year, you spoke about working on singer-songwriter-based music – how’s that shaping up and when can we expect to hear some of that material? 

Yes, I have completed that project and wrote some fantastic songs that I’m very proud of. We will be releasing them sporadically throughout the rest of the year and 2021. The focus being on lyrics and a beautiful topline melody rather than heavy production.

Basement Banter seems to be growing from strength to strength – how much have you been enjoying it?

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I really have been enjoying my podcast Basement Banter. We have had some incredible guests, such fascinating people from all over the world from many different fields of expertise. From Deepak Chopra and Jay Shetty from the world of wellness, to comedians like Russell Peters and singers like Sean Paul. It has really allowed me to show a more personal side of me and for the fans to really get to know who I am as a human being as opposed to just a singer. I have been a touring and recording artist for nearly 20 years, there is so much I have seen and experienced, so many incredible lessons I have learned and hilarious adventures I have been on. I’ve been saving these anecdotes and stories for a platform like this. The main reason I enjoy it is being able to talk to interesting and fascinating people and share their stories and experiences as well as mine with the world. There is a vast amount of knowledge out there and I’m a sucker for that. I want to learn it and share it. So in my podcasts as well as the laughs, there’s a lot of gold.

What’s next?

More music and more podcasts! I am also working on a project outside of music. Right now I am in a stage of my life where I want to take on new ventures as well as continue music obviously, but there’s just no limit to what the future holds and I’m excited to see what wonderful adventures lie ahead.

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