London native Sean 1da is “doubling up” more so this year than any other.

London native Sean 1da is “doubling up” more so this year than any other. 2020 has been a milestone for the artist; the established songwriter and producer has since flourished into an all-round artist and released his debut single to a legion of dedicated fans. Featuring OFB members Double Lz and Bandokay, his single ‘Double Up’ is the first offering from the artist. Previous to this in March, Sean had contributed to the track ‘Mic Check’ from Skepta, Chip and Young Adz’s “Insomnia” album. Sean explains, “I’m just creating; I’m in a space where I’m just creating all the time.” 

Sean is no stranger to collaborating with huge artists; prior to the pandemic he had spent time in Sweden working with the team behind Brandy’s latest album ‘B7.’ Speaking about the collaboration on the track ‘Say Something,’ 

Sean reminisces, “There were a few producers in town that I knew about, Camper (Darhyl “DJ” Camper) being one of those people and another songwriter named Bow Price. He’s a part of AudioPush in LA. We were all in the sessions together and just started creating.” This mesh of creative energy led to the track being laid down by Brandy. Sean continues, “she just went crazy for it and recorded it. I got sent the vocal on Christmas Day and then I had to keep my mouth shut for 8 months until it came out. It was dope.” 

This project was made extra poignant due to Sean’s long admiration of the artist. “Brandy is one of my favourite artists; I’ve been to her concert. I’ve obviously studied her music but it wasn’t intentional, it just kind of happened. That’s the beauty of it I think. I’ve looked up to her for so long and then it just so happens that we kind of met and now I’m on her album. It’s crazy.” The track has since been widely received as a clear favourite from the album by fans globally. Sean expands, “the kind of world we live in now – we look at our phone all the time. A million different stories and you don’t know what to believe. The concept just came around, “Give me something that I can believe again,” that’s where it came from. “Tell me something that I can actually believe again.” Then we intertwined it into being in a relationship too because that does happen; relationships and

lying. It came about from just that line then “having enough” in the verses relates to having enough of the lies. The hook is a bit of vulnerability to say “please, tell me something that I can believe in’.” 

Building on these recent successes, Sean’s first single ‘Double Up’ brings this to the next level. The production saw caribbean infused vibes paired up with Sean’s, Double Lz’s and Bandokay’s rapping. From the ground up Sean and his team knew the OFB’s members would bring great qualities to the track. “We just thought they’ll be a great addition to the track,” he tells me. “They did it in a way that’s a little bit more rap than drill. I feel like it showed what they can do as artists as well, so it was good all round.” The humble beginnings of the track in Sean’s bedroom meant that he could oversee the entire process. This resulted in the track being ready and completed in under 3 weeks. “I was doing the gym routines from YouTube videos and just thinking “wow, everyone’s grinding away to double up” and that’s kind of how I came up with the chorus concept. I recorded it at my house and then sent it out to a few people. The team loved it and it just went from there.” 

sean 1da

The idea of “doubling up” has acted as key motivation for the artist during this tough year, but Sean hopes this will inspire through his own vision of success. The music video for the song shows a large house, two top-of-the-range supercars, a swimming pool and twins. Speaking about the video, Sean explains, “This is what it can look like if you basically chase your dreams and double up. By doubling up I mean if you’re going to Uni or school, have something else that you’re doing. If you’re going to work that’s cool but also look at something else to do. The result of this could be that. I see it all the time now – different brands and how they blow up. It’s because people are actually doing something on the side that started off as nothing and now it’s taken off. That was the imagery I was trying to portray along with the twins and the two cars; doubling up.” He continues, “It could be knitting but whatever it is, take it to the next level so you’re not always reliant on other things. I guarantee other people’s side hustles have saved them this year or have inspired them to take it further.”

This clear message of perseverance and reward references an exciting vision for the end of the year for Sean. An EP is currently in the works that aims to showcase Sean’s efforts. He elaborates, “I’m still in the studio gathering up the songs and deciding which ones should go and not go; what one could be a single or not. It’s a real fun process especially for when it’s your own self as an artist which is dope. [I’m] working with a lot of different producers from the UK mainly and some from the States as well. Some from France too so I’m working with a lot of different producers to try and get the right songs and sound; making sure it all correlates.” The importance of collaboration is evident in his latest lyrical and musical output. Speaking about further potential collaborations, he says, “People see you doing stuff with big artists and it definitely does open up the conversation to work with other artists on a bigger scale. That’s how the game goes so I’m grateful when that happens. It does take a lot of work and you still need to come up with more. I’m grateful now that I’m in a position where I can work with other big stars; and I have been, which is good. Just trying to keep it up.” 

Devising a list of artists that Sean admires, he tells us that Ty Dolla Sign is a dream collaboration for him. “I think we’d make a dope song, he’s one of my favourites right now. I like SZA, Kehlani, all that Rn’B stuff and I like Travis Scott; a lot of people in the States. Over here I really like Abra Cadabra and Shaybo to name a few. That’s the thing being a songwriter, you start to like everyone and understand their thing. I’m open to a lot of people; I think there’s a lot of talent out there at the moment, especially coming from the UK.” Sean hopes to bring his live show to stages across the UK in the near future. He says, “I can’t wait, I’ve had a couple of conversations with the team and live agents so definitely when it opens up after COVID. That’s something that I never really thought of before. I’ve always been a creative behind the scenes and then coming to the forefront is something I’ve never really dreamed of. But now being an artist and thinking about performing that song and potentially other songs, I can’t wait. Just to see the reaction,

be on the stage and enjoy it. You get one life and that’s something not a lot of people get to do. I’m definitely looking forward to chilling out on the stage; that will be dope. Bring my friends out, a friend DJing and performing with people that I’ve worked with who have always seen me as a writer as well, that’ll be something different.” He ends, “It’s easy to stop; it’s easy to give up, but it’s not easy to transition from a creative to an artist. I feel that people will be shocked but pleasantly surprised.” 

Photographer Christos Markou

Stylist Naomie Meirelles

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