Songwriter and hip hop producer Sean Garrett has an uber-impressive resume. He’s worked with Beyonce, Ciara, Fergie and Chris Brown on No. 1 hit songs like “London Bridge” and “Check On It” and one of his first hits was “Yeah!” with Usher, Lil’ Jon and Ludacris. But now Sean is working on an album of his own, which will be his first U.S. release. Just days before he’s set to announce his record deal, Sean talked to Crushable about his plans for his album, called Courtesy Of, how he manages the egos of all the superstars he’s worked with over the years (“balance it with respect and biting your tongue”) and, of course, his thoughts on Justin Bieber (“He can do all the things that you’re not supposed to do and he’ll just get away with it”).
Tell us about Courtesy Of.
We’re just starting on it. It’s really exciting. We’re going to be announcing my new deal next week. I’m already pumped, we’re five singles in. The first single’s out, it’s called “Get It All” with Nicki Minaj. It’s just going to be heating up. We just finished the video — the video’s going to be coming out in a week and a half, two weeks.
Will you be bringing in anybody you’ve worked with in the past to help you with your album?
Yeah, I’m sure. I did the first single with my friend Elvis, we call him Black Elvis. He actually was a co-producer on “London Bridge.” He’s one of the people who I really enjoy working with. What’s so exciting about working on an album is you really get a chance to express yourself in a different way than you did for other people. And at the same time, you really have to push yourself really, really hard. Once we make my announcement next week about where I’m signing, I have to go really hard because the team that I’m actually signing with is already popping.
So on your album you won’t be producing, you’ll just be performing?
I’m doing a lot of producing on the album as well. But I want to work with some producers who I really like and I’m going to let them produce me as well. At the end of the day, my album is about incredible music and me as an artist. It’s all about Sean Garrett as an artist, it’s not about me as a songwriter or a producer. Well, it will be me as a songwriter, but more so me as an artist. People will get a chance to see me and see what I do and listen to some incredible, incredible songs.
You’ve worked with some people who have reputations for being difficult to work with. How do you keep them all in line?
It’s tough. In this game you have a lot of egos to deal with. So you just have to balance it with respect and biting your tongue sometimes. There’s only been one artist who has driven me absolutely insane. And I’ve learned so much from working with that artist. Ultimately it was great though, because the artist is an incredible artist, it’s just sometimes they won’t necessarily be focused on the creative side, they’ll just be focused on power. At the end of the day, we got it done. And that’s all that matters. My job is to get it done.
What music are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to a lot alternative stuff, some old school stuff like R&B. I’m listening to a lot of 80′s music. I like 80′s R&B. It’s really, really good. And just the sound of it was really great. And I’m also getting into a lot of the 90′s alternative stuff. 90′s alternative was the great alternative music, like Cobain. It’s inspiring to listen to some of that music.
And are you getting inspiration from that for your own music?
Yeah. Definitely. It just gives me a different side of the same thing. As a songwriter I have to challenge myself.
Is there anyone who you really want to work with?
I really like Kanye. I really like Kayne as a creator/producer, he’s really exciting. I think we could learn a lot from each other. There’s a lot of new producers who I think are great, and even a lot of songwriters who I haven’t worked with that I think I would want to work with. I’m taking records from other people, collaborating with other people, and just aiming for a big, big record.
What do you think of Justin Bieber?
I like Justin. That’s my little brother. We’re good friends. He’s like my little, little brother. He’s a cool little guy. He has a cute swagger. He can’t do anything wrong. It’s like Chris Brown when he was 16. He can do all the things that you’re not supposed to do and he’ll just get away with it. It’s like, ‘How many girlfriends you got Justin? You’re doing what? Why are you driving that?’ But he’s just sweet. I’m happy for him. I remember meeting him before he got his deal and I remember meeting him once he had his deal and asking him, ‘Justin, what is your biggest expectation?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know. I just want to write a couple songs. I just want to sing for the girls. That’s all I want to do.’ He wasn’t talking about anything material, his focus was on the music. I think that’s what so great about him. It’s pure heart, it’s music, he has a fantastic voice. He’s an amazing little kid. I just hope and pray that he stays safe and continues to do his thing.
(Photo by PNP/ WENN.com)