Undeniably, the Billboard Latin Music Awards are huge, and when a dancehall artiste is nominated in the Crossover Artiste of the Year category, that is a top shelf, history-making achievement.
The Billboard Latin Music Awards celebrate and recognise the most exceptional talents in the dynamic Latin music industry and for 2023, Grammy Award-winning Sean Paul has been nominated alongside Justin Timberlake, Lil Jon, Marshmello and Maitré Gims.
“I am very honoured to be selected as one of the nominees for [the] Latin Billboard Music Awards. I heard about it basically off Instagram and then verified with management,” Sean Paul shared.
The globally acclaimed singer-songwriter has been deliberate in his efforts to carve out a space in the booming Latin music scene, and he emphasised that this accolade has everything to do with the hard work that he has put in over the decades, and not his so-called “Latino looks” that some people suggest give him an “edge” in that market.
“I disagree about that look thing,” he said quietly.
“The first time I ever did a Spanish collab, I did a song with a yute name Tappa, a dancehall artiste in Panama. That was way back. I also did a song named Punkie which was me reaching out to the audience. I had a lot of Latin fans and I wanted to acquire more, so mi start sing … or say certain words that they would use in their language so they can say ‘What did he jus say a while ago? It sounds like he said something in my language.’ That would make them feel closer to the song and ask somebody dem know to translate it for them,” he said.
In 2009, he did Hold My Hand in Spanish and in 2014, he collaborated with Enrique Iglesia on the hit single, Bailando. Listing out some of his more recent collabs, Sean Paul noted that he did Contra la Pared with J Balvin, a Colombian Reggaeton star, and Karmika with Anita, a megastar from Brazil.
“So that’s a lot work and that a lot of years, so tell me if my looks couldn’t really spring a Billboard Latin Airplay number one single before this time. No. It took all of those years. I mean … I cannot speak their language and that’s a big negative. That’s a big strike against me when it comes on to the average Spanish person. Anybody can keep on saying ‘looks’ and all that. But that is the easiest way to dismiss my hard work and dismiss the number of years I have put in,” Sean Paul declared.
NO.1 ON LATIN AIRPLAY
The Billboard number one Latin Airplay song that he is referring to is Niña Bonita, a collab with Colombian artiste Feid. His first team-up with Sean Paul, the song rose from four to one on the chart dated August 19. According to Billboard, “The move brings back Jamaican singer-songwriter Paul to the summit for his second leader, following a six-year break. It’s the second Spanglish collab that takes Sean Paul to No. 1 on Latin Airplay. The dancehall artiste crowned the overall Latin radio ranking for one week through his featured turn on Enrique Iglesias’ Súbeme La Radio in 2017.”
Sean Paul’s first top 10 on Latin Airplay arrived in 2006 when Temperature peaked at No. 10 in its sixth week. Bonita is his second Spanglish partnership in 2023. He was recruited by Karol G for her single Karmika.
Further commenting on the path to his Latin success, Sean Paul said, “For each little step there are plans … there are definitely steps that me tek towards greatness. I did that song with Tappa in 1999, to Punkie in 2001. Did any of those songs reach number one on the Latin Billboard Airplay list? No .. this one has. So big up to Faith, Danny Ocean, Farina, who has a single with me that is going on quite well too; also to Carol G, one of the biggest touring artistes right now in the Reggaeton world, I have a song with her called Karmika. Big up to Manuel, I have a song with him coming out very soon. And even though J-Lo is a pop icon and actress and all that, I did a song with her recently and she’s [of] Puerto Rican descent from the Bronx,” he said.
Along with this exciting nomination, Sean Paul has also released a new music video titled Summa Hot, directed by Kieran Khan and produced by his Dutty Rock Productions.
The latest addition to Sean Paul’s discography, Summa is described as “an infectious anthem continues its tradition of promoting exceptional talent and pushing musical boundaries guaranteed to get listeners up and moving”. The music video is directed by Kieran Khan, known for his captivating visual aesthetics.
The 30th annual Billboard Latin Music Awards ceremony takes place on October 5 in Coral Gables, Florida, and Sean Paul is definitely hoping to attend in person.
“It’s an important thing in terms of my marketing and people seeing me. I wouldn’t say I’m over these events. I love being included and involved, but lately my fatherly duties and touring schedule take over, so sometimes I’m not able to attend such prestigious events. But a lot of the times as you grow you have to sit out some to keep a balance but I look forward to October 5th the same way and take this time to big up myself and big up Jamaica,” said the multi-award winning artiste, whose signature slang is “dutty yeah”.
Sean Paul is anticipating his upcoming performance at Madison Square Garden with Wu Tang Clan, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey and EPMD celebrating Hip Hop 50.