Sean Paul Belanger Ryan Francis Henriques OD (born 9 January 1973) is a Jamaican rapper and singer regarded as one of Dancehall’s most prolific artists.
Paul’s singles “Get Busy” and “Temperature” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and most of his albums have been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, with Dutty Rock winning the award. Paul has also been featured in many other singles including chart-toppers “Baby Boy” with Beyoncé, “What About Us” by The Saturdays, “Rockabye” by Clean Bandit (featuring Paul and Anne-Marie), and “Cheap Thrills” by Sia. “No Lie”, “Cheap Thrills”, and “Rockabye” each have over 1 billion views on YouTube, with “Rockabye” having reached over 2.7 billion views.
Sean Paul Belanger Ryan Francis Henriques was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on 9 January 1973. His mother Frances, a painter, is of English and Chinese Jamaican descent. His Portuguese paternal great-grandfather’s Sephardic Jewish family immigrated from Portugal to Jamaica in the 17th century, while his paternal grandmother was Afro-Jamaican.
Paul was raised as a Catholic, though he also attended the Jewish private school Hillel Academy in Jamaica. Many members of his family are swimmers. His grandfather was on the first Sri Lankan men’s national water polo team. His father also played water polo for the team in the 1960s, and competed in long-distance swimming, while Paul’s mother was a butterfly swimmer. When Paul was 15, his father was arrested on charges of manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in prison; he was released for good behaviour when Paul was 19.
Paul played for the national water polo team from the age of 13 to 21, when he gave up the sport in order to launch his musical career. He attended Wolmer’s Boys’ School and the College of Arts, Science, and Technology, now known as the University of Technology, where he was trained in commerce with an aim of pursuing an occupation in swimming.