Interview: The Hit-Producer & Now Artist: Sean Garrett
Sean Garrett is a music producer and songwriter who has produced an impressive 17 number one hits on the Billboard charts. Though Garrett has made his name working with other major music talents, he's about to release a CD of his own. TheCelebrityCafe.com's Ellen Stodola spoke with Sean about his upcoming album, working with other musicians, and his hit single "Feel Good."
You've worked with a lot of big name artists. How do you go about approaching each artist differently?
First, I start with analyzing where the artist is in their career and where they need to go. If they're particularly a dance artist, I try to pick sounds that push the envelope. For urban and R&B artists, I try to search for true heart. For me, I have so many different things that I want to say in my music, so it's hard for me. When I do a great record for me or for somebody else, I want to be part of it but I have to fight with myself to not make it all about me. At some point, I come to the conclusion that I can get on with it. I get over one song by starting with something new. I lay down the record and put it aside and by the time I come back I can be ready to let go.
You recently signed with Columbia Records. How is this album going to be different from anything you've done before?
I've actually been trying to do an album for six years, but I've been busy doing hits for everyone else. I'm very excited to express myself to my fans. Originally, I never wanted to be songwriter and producer, but I always wanted to be an artist. After I went to Europe and did music there, people started to hear my songs when I got back. They showed such a wide range that people started to feel that these were real eclectic types of records. So I got into doing records for other people. I got offers for different publishing companies, and three months later I was doing "Yeah!" for Usher. I also did "Goodies" for Ciara around the same time. Then, my third number one, "Solider," got me working with Destiny's Child. I worked with them on a lot of their hits. Then, I went on to work with Chris Brown, and everything just snowballed and I worked with Beyonce, Fergie, and Enrique Iglesias. I just seemed like every time I was focusing on something personal it just got bigger and bigger.
I think that working with these other artists as well as creating my own music made me a stronger artist with more depth. I learned from Jay-Z and Beyonce from a business perspective. I learned things like professionalism and stage presence and how to make records translate to audience. This made me want to create more records for more people. I compare myself mostly to Kanye West. I feel like I was caged up for so long, and people in the music business didn't want to allow me an opportunity to be an artist and a creative entity. Some people are selfish, and they just wanted me to stay in one role of making hits for other people. I've learned to be gracious for my experiences because my perspective has been to learn from positive and negative experiences and always be optimistic. I want people to recognize me for who I am and not trying to be someone else. There's there only one Sean Garrett, and I don't want my career to be one dimensional.
How important is collaborating with other artists in the music business? I noticed you had a lot of popular artists featured on your album. And how do you choose which artists you work with whether it's on your album or producing a hit for them?
I mean, you would hope to work with every artist that you want to work with. You may not be able to because of schedules and sometimes it's not a good fit. Personally, I'm a fan of talent and the music. When I'm doing a collaboration the only thing that matters is what's great for the song, fans, music, and soul. I just want to make people feel good because there are so many things we can't control in the world.
I love your single "Feel Love." Why was this the choice for the first single of the album?
I felt like I wanted to just put something out that I felt was refreshing. It's a statement as how I felt as an artist. Being a creative person, I try to do records that are different from what everyone else is doing. Everything is so watered down these days, and a lot of songs deal with sex all the time. I want to deal with real love. I'm the type of person to express my feelings and be vulnerable. A lot of people don't realize how important it is to be strong and vulnerable at the same time and be real. Everything now seems to be smoke and mirrors, and I'm just trying to put a real song out that would touch people.
You've achieved humongous success as a producer with more number one hits in a short period of time. Do you have any goals for the future as something else you haven't yet done?
Well, I mean, right now I'm a triple threat as an artist, songwriter, and producer. I want to continue to assist other great artists. People feel like you have to do one thing at a time. Some people can do two or three things at the same time and be good at it. I'm always eager to excel and work hard. I have this undying devotion to work, work, work and reach and push myself. I think the fans deserve artists who push sound and music, so that's what I'm going to do.
Sean Garrett's solo album will be released later this year. His current single "Feel Love" is available for download on iTunes.