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Jay Sean: From Medical Student To R&B Superstar

A self-professed science geek is making an explosion on the U.S. Billboard charts. Jay Sean is the best-selling British male artist in the United States since Elton John, and he recently won all four Asian Music Awards for which he was nominated.

Born Kamaljit Singh Jhooti in London, England, Jay Sean acquired a love of soul music through listening to records by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie with his cousins.

"I remember the Back to Front album — I used to listen to that through and through, over and over again, when I was about 11 years old," Sean says in an interview with Scott Simon. "From that age, I started to develop a very strong, mature love for music."

Sean got his start as a member of the Rishi Rich Project, led by British producer Rishi Rich. From his involvement with Rich, he scored a solo record deal and dropped out of Queen Mary, University of London, where he had been studying medicine for more than two years.

Since then, Sean has enjoyed international success. His latest album, and U.S. debut, All or Nothing, was released in 2009 and features big-name collaborations with artists including Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, Sean Paul and Mary J. Blige. Lining up the collaborators was easy, according to Sean.

"Especially in my genre, hip-hop and R&B," he says, "you can literally go straight up to the artist and say, 'I love your music. Would you fancy collaborating on something?' "

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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