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Sean Kingston
The two hottest songs of the summer have come from two teenagers from the Caribbean ~ Rihanna led the way with Umbrella and up next is Sean Kingston with Beautiful Girls, a syrupy tune about heartbreak featuring a sample from Ben E. King’s 1961 classic Stand By Me. Here’s what went into the making of the brand new breakthrough hit of the season.


A short while ago, Jamaica-bred, America-based Sean Kingston was just another teenager in love. He was going out with “the most beautiful girl in the school” and life was going great until he found the love of his life cheating on him, with his best friend! He was devastated, quite naturally, and like most artists, drew on this experience later when he poured his heart out into the lyrics for what became Beautiful Girls.


Kingston had been working on his music by himself for a while when he felt that it was time to take it out there. One afternoon, as he was surfing the internet, he came across 50 Cent and The Game producer J.R. Rotem’s MySpace page where he mentioned that he was setting up a record label. Kingston was very keen to work with the producer, so he sent him a message but received no reply. This did not deter him and he kept messaging Rotem to ask for a chance to showcase his talent until he finally heard back. Rotem was impressed by the teenager’s dedication and by the samples of music on Kingston’s MySpace page. He mailed back and the two met up in Los Angeles. Shortly after this meeting, Rotem launched his record label Beluga Heights. Sean Kingston was the first artist signed to the label.


The two began to work on Kingston’s debut album and one night, in the studio while listening to the radio, the 1961 Ben E. King classic Stand By Me came on. Says Kingston, “I heard the track Stand By Me one night in the studio while listening to the radio and asked J.R. if anyone had ever used that sample. He made the beat immediately and I wrote down the lyrics within an hour; it happened very quickly. I loved the way it turned out and I think my sound is a lot different than what else is out there. It all just worked and we knew we had something special with the track. I’m also singing about something people can relate to. I’m singing about being in love with someone who you think is your world, but they don’t see it that way and you have to end the relationship.”

One of the reasons the track stands out is the seamless way in which the sample is used; it isn’t a souped up, modernised interpretation, inserted at regular intervals to bring the listener back to the source of the sample. Instead, the distinctive bass line lies as a bed under the vocals and forms the base for the melody and rap. It sets the mood and brings a classic feel to the age-old tale of heartbreak.

You can read the rest of our feature on Sean Kingston in the September 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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