In 2008 you signed to Cash Money Records, how did this happen? You were with Virgin before that, what was your reason for leaving?
I left Virgin because we didn’t have the same vision for my music anymore so I knew it was time to change paths. I met Cash Money through my producer Jeremy Skaller from OFM. He showed them my music video for “Ride It” and they just couldn’t understand how someone who didn’t have a deal in America could have garnered so many millions of views. They loved what I was doing and they wanted to help me take it to the next level.
The new album Neon releases on the 30th of July, tell us more about this album; I’m excited that we can finally hear some real R&B flavours!
I’m so excited to finally give my fans this album. It’s all the different pieces of my personality through songs; the lover, the fighter and the party guy!
I love the new record “Mars”, what was the inspiration behind this song and what was it like to collaborate with Rick Ross?
Thank you, “Mars” is def one of my fav tracks on the album. I’ve always wanted to collab with him, but it was about finding the right track for him. When this song was wrapped, I knew it was the one for him!
How do your family react when you come back home? Are things still the same?
Masala chai and anda pura as soon as I walk in the door, so yes I’d say things are still the same! That’s all they care about. Making sure I’m fed and I’m happy in whatever I’m doing. They’re just happy to get some quality time with me when I’m in town.
Congratulations, you were the first British artist to reach the top spot in the Latin Billboard Charts, how did the collaboration with Chino y Nacho come about?
Yeah, that was so cool. I knew I had a lot of fans on that side of the world so I thought it would be fun to do a collab just for them. They are also signed to Universal so we were able to hook it up. Their culture reminds me a lot of the Asian culture. All their families backstage at the awards shows. Was a lot of fun!
Who are you the closest to in the YMCMB camp and why?
Definitely Birdman aka Baby and Slim. They are the bosses, the people behind me getting my music to take off in America. So I talk with them a lot throughout the album process. I think they’re such inspiring brothers because no matter how much success they already have, they just keep on pushing for more and more. They never want to lose that top spot.
What is your process behind making a hit?
Hahah we try not to use that word in my camp anymore. I just want to make great music that I love. IF it turns out to be a hit, then so be it but it has to start with loving what we’re creating. It’s that simple.
A question I hear a lot of people asking, when is Jay Sean going to collaborate with Drake? After all you are label mates.
I just haven’t found the right track for him yet. Maybe down the road we will find the right fit for both of us…
You did a UK tour last year, how was it? Can we expect another tour this year?
Nothing like coming home to your fans. It was great! We are working on something before the end of 2013 for sure.
When can we expect a Rishi Rich Project re-union?
Hey you never know what we may already be working on!
What do you do to chill out and escape from your hectic schedule?
Hitting the gym is always a big release for me. It’s time on my own and I need that sometimes.
My other fav thing to do is watch films; that’s the best escape for me.
You’ve worked with a lot of UK talent including Craig David, Alesha Dixon, Skepta plus many more, we can we expect any more collaborations with artists from the UK?
I hope so! I love doing collabs and bringing different world’s together so who knows what will come next!
Who is your favourite artist of all time?
Jay Z— he’s created a career of longevity that is just incredible, always staying current throughout the years.
What are your thoughts on your good friend Priyanka Chopra getting into the music industry? She has just done a collaboration with Pitbull who you have also worked with, I hear you two have been working together…
I’m so happy for her. I worked with her early on in her album process. I wish her all the best!
Do you ever feel the pressure of being a South Asian icon and representing for the entire South Asian community?
Well I guess I don’t think of it in that way all the time. I just feel grateful that I can represent for them at all and I hope this will be an album that they can be proud of and stand behind.
Thank you Jay, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you, do you have any final messages for the fans reading this interview and readers of Chakdey.Com?
Thank you for supporting me for all of these years! I can’t believe I’ve been in this game for over 10 years! And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of my fans through it all so i’m just really grateful for them and I hope they love Neon as much as I do!