Having dedicated nearly his entire life to music and achieving superstardom when he was just 17, Sean Kingston has amassed an untold amount of experience as a singer/songwriter over the years. On his third full-length album Back 2 Life, he builds on that experience by greatly expanding his songwriting role, nixing the multi-producer approach of his last release, and pushing for a fresh new sound. Like his 2007 self-titled debut (featuring the double-platinum breakout hit “Beautiful Girls”) and sophomore album Tomorrow (featuring the smash singles “Fire Burning” and “Face Drop”), Back 2 Life fuses reggae, hip-hop, R&B, and electro to create melody-soaked pop.
All throughout Back 2 Life, Kingston boldly proves how far he’s come since he first began recording songs on the tiny personal studio his mother bought him when he was 11 years old. Back then, Kingston would whip up his own reggae-pop hybrids and perform them at local block parties and talent shows in Miami (to which he returned after spending several years living with his family in Ocho Rios, Jamaica). But when his mother was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud and sent to federal prison, the 15-year-old Kingston had to put his music dreams on temporary hold. After a brief period of homelessness, Kingston began bouncing around the homes of his friends and relatives and ultimately landed a lawn-mowing job to earn the money he needed to make a demo.
Thanks largely to Kingston’s dogged persistence in pursuing every hit-making producer he could find online, that demo ended up getting him signed to Rotem’s then-newly-launched label Beluga Heights in 2006—a deal quickly followed by a joint contract with Epic Records and the release of a debut album that went on to sell more than a million copies worldwide, and spawn three back-to-back Top 10 singles. Kingston released his follow-up album Tomorrow in 2009.
With a voracious appetite for music including “everything from Taylor Swift to Ne-Yo to Musiq Soulchild to Paramore”—as well as a deep reverence for artists like Bob Marley, Outkast, and Lauryn Hill—Kingston has broadened his musical role by serving as a songwriter for such performers as Jason Derulo (“What Ya Say”) and Iyaz (“Replay”) and discovering new musical talents (including Iyaz, whom Kingston found online and signed to his Time Is Money Entertainment label). Still, having sold more than 12.5 million tracks to date, Kingston’s top priority is continually elevating his own music into new and unexpected territory.