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SCHED* SXSW 2011 has ended
SG

Sean Garrett

It's not easy to size up Sean Garrett. At first glance outside of his recording studio, the Atlanta, GA native's body builder frame and casual dress code speak more of someone coming from the gym than from negotiating a multi-million dollar deal. You wouldn't know from his southern hospitality that he grew up in Europe and speaks several languages. The down to earth demeanor is the opposite of the Hollywood image you'd expect from a man whose talent has changed the face of popular music. However, inside the booth, mild-mannered Clark Kent gives way to the man of steel that is Sean 'The Pen' Garrett. Somewhere between the buzzing cell phone and pounding production pouring from the speakers, it hits home that you're looking at the man your favorite artists turn to for a hit and with good reason. 'I have 17 #1 records that have changed my generation's sound right before your eyes,' he says, turning down the music to get his point across. Being nicknamed "The Pen" by Jay-Z himself solidifies the power of Garrett's pen and pad. "For Hov to bless me with something like that just says everything. People know that Jay knows when somebody's got it," Garrett modestly states. Sean Garrett was born in Atlanta, Georgia to a mother and father who loved music. At age 4, Sean competed in his first talent show against kids twice his age at Therrell High School, ''Just A Little Bit of You Everyday' by the Jackson's was the song I chose to perform,' Sean remembers. Sean was talented enough to hold his own with the older kids. The following year Sean's family moved to Germany to be with his father during his military run. 'The Armed Forces Network played TOP 40 hits which broadened my horizons to all different types of music. Being from Atlanta gave me a complete blend of two extremes, and a vast range of different types of music.' Snap, New Edition, Boys II Men, Mariah Carey and even the Beatles were heavy influencers of his childhood. Having music lovers as parents also encouraged his talent. 'My mother always allowed me to be as creative as I wanted, which let me start producing at 10 years old'. By 15, Sean had signed his first deal as an artist in Europe. Eventually he returned stateside and signed with Warner, but the deal fell through due to label restructuring. Hurt and disillusioned, he stepped back from pursuing his career for a while and focused on family. Sean moved to South Carolina and tried his hand as a mortgage broker. His dreams, however, were still there. 'I had a son and had to take care of him, (but) whenever I wasn't working I was in the studio.' The loss of his mother in 2002 brought him back to his hometown of Atlanta and the burgeoning music community there. Before long, Sean signed a publishing deal with LA Reid's Hitco in August of 2003. His first chart topper, 'Yeah' with superstar Usher, tore through the airwaves in January 2004, hit #1 in 42 different countries, and helped push the Confessions album to Diamond. Demand for 'The Pen's' Platinum results skyrocketed, spawning hits like 'Goodies' for Ciara; 'Run It' and 'Wall To Wall' for Chris Brown; 'Soldier' and 'Lose My Breath' for Destiny's Child; and even 'London Bridges' for B.E.P.'s own pop Dutchess, Fergie; to name a few. "These are the legends of our generation,' he says matter-of-factly. As if the endorsement of the biggest rapper in the world isn't convincing enough, Sean can also claim a co-sign from Jay-Z's better half with their collaborations on 'Check Up On It,' 'Diva,' 'Video Phone,' 'Ring The Alarm,' 'Upgrade You,' and 'Get Me Bodied'. 'Beyoncé is the biggest artist of our time,' he says with obvious admiration. 'It's an honor to be a part of her success'. With his pen game certified over the last several years working with other artists, Sean is ready to focus on himself again. He's been warming up with features on songs he also wrote and produced, such as Mario's 'Break Up'; Enrique Iglesias 'Away'; Ludacris 'What Them Girl's Like'; and most recently Nikki Minaj's debut solo single 'Massive Attack'. Sean has now inked a deal with Columbia Records to release his new single 'Feel Love' featuring J. Cole, a heartfelt jam with a universal message. "Not to sound corny but I think some people have been disoriented. Some guys feel like they're so tough they can't feel love," he says shaking his head. "Who can't feel love?" From humble beginnings at a High School talent show, to 17 #1 hits and 39 Top 10's later, Sean is now working on his debut album featuring production by Kane, Tha Bizzness and others. 'My dream is just beginning because I was an artist first, and that was the road I saw for myself. I've had a blessed road to success, but I've always looked at my career as an Artist/Songwriter/Producer all going hand in hand.' Sean is hoping to inspire the next generation the way such luminaries as Teddy Riley, DeVante Swing and Al Green inspired him. 'In the urban community, the youth sometimes believe that the only roads to wealth are to be an athlete, rapper or singer. They don't realize other opportunities in film or music like writing and producing.' Sean is passionate about his younger audience recognizing gifts they may have, 'kids don't realize their opportunities. You can take the writing skills you learn in English class to a whole other level. Don't be limited.' Hitting later this year, Sean's album is poised to bring the attention back to the pen in more ways than one.