Every time a dreamy artist steps off the Greyhound in Hollywood, there’s that chance they’ll make it. In the case of Sean Kingston, the 17-year-old cherubic tenor promptly scored a record deal with hip-hop producer J.R. Rotem days upon arriving in L.A. from his hometown Miami during the spring of 2006. It was a literal overnight success story, for a week prior Kingston had been living in the Miami bus station after being ostracized by a relative who disapproved of his musical aspirations. Persistent emails to Rotem and a MySpace page of music demos have clearly paid off for Kingston.
One night last April, while waiting around in the recording studio, Kingston heard Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” and asked Rotem to flip it. Within an hour, Kingston not only bore this past summer’s No. 1 hit “Beautiful Girls,” but a fresh R&B hip-hop sound that fused doo-wop with reggae. Two weeks later, Kingston had a self-titled album, which to date has shipped more than 350,000 copies. He is currently opening for Gwen Stefani and will tour with Chris Brown this fall.