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SEAN GARRETT | EXECUTIVE PRODUCING SUMMER WALKER’S ‘STILL OVER IT’ #1 ALBUM

December 15, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

Sean Garrett is the definition of a hitmaker, and he continues to showcase his talents for the world to see, hear, and enjoy. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, the singer, songwriter, and producer has nicknamed himself The Pen, responsible for some of music’s greatest hits such as Usher’s “Yeah!”, Ciara’s “Goodies,” Mario’s “Break Up” (which he was featured on), Nicki Minaj’s debut single “Massive Attack,” and even Britney Spears’ “Toy Soldier.”

Additionally, Garrett is one half of a production duo with Swizz Beatz, together producing multiple records for Beyoncé including “Ring the Alarm,” “Upgrade U”, “Check On It”, “Diva,” “Video Phone,” and “Get Me Bodied.” With 4 Grammy nominations under his belt, Garrett continues to exercise his passion and love for music in all genres.

Fast forward to 2021, Garrett is excited as ever to be working with Summer Walker on her highly-anticipated sophomore album Still Over It, the follow-up to her debut project Over It. Not only did Garrett play the role as executive producer, but he also worked on the majority of the album, even calling Walker a “modern-day Mary J. Blige” while on The Breakfast Club.

Flaunt caught up with Garrett via Zoom, who revealed the car has been his office these days. Read below as we discuss how he got tapped in with Summer Walker, the synergy in the studio, the songs he worked on, what it meant to executive produce Still Over It, pushing Summer outside her comfort zone, why she’s a modern-day Mary J. Blige, his own forthcoming album, and more!

How are you since the last time we spoke?

I’ve been grinding. Things have been exploding. Summer’s album going crazy. New artists we signed just got back in town last night, I got a session tonight. Photoshoots, just back at it man. Having a good time.

What are the photoshoots for?

I got quite a few different branding plays. My new merch coming out at the top of the year, a lot of little tidbits. My album’s coming out the first of the year.

What can we expect from the album?

R&B, R&B, and R&B. I’m really excited, R&B is back. It’s been a minute since we really got great R&B albums. As you can probably see, the love from the Summer album was impeccable. It shows that people still and will embrace great R&B music and always love it. At the same time, we’re in a place now everybody really needs love. Feelings are back, which is funny to say that feelings are back. Of course everything is 360, everything is full circle.

This generation is really interesting. For some reason, it made sense to them somehow to not love as much or not be as vulnerable. That didn’t feel so good to them. Or maybe it was the idea of being anti. I don’t know, but the great thing is it’s wonderful to feel. This amazing time, even like Ari Lennox. This album, this artist I’m signing, I can’t mention her name but some of the artists that I’m working with, it’s going to be a good time. Great songs and great feelings, digging a bit deeper than the average and talking about life and love. Man, we’re losing so many people. Losing Virgil… [sighs] Some of the things that have been happening, it’s been…

Tragic?

Tragic, that’s probably the best word. At the same time, I’m staying encouraged. I’m in one of the best spaces that I’ve ever been in from a creative perspective. This was great to connect with this generation. First of all, let my competitors and my peers know that I’m definitely in tune with what’s happening in my community. But at the same time, I’ve always been a huge advocate of embracing women, supporting women. So this was really fantastic.

First off, how did you and Summer Walker come together? 

I ended up working on Summer through my brothers over at LBRN. The great thing is that me, Tunde, and Sean were already friends from back 10 years ago. They used to come in the studio with me when I was going absolutely crazy. I probably had a 13 or 14 year run. They used to come kick it with me in the studio and we always talked about doing some big stuff together. I ran into Tunde and Justice, they said, “We really want you to come and work with us on Summer.” I said “Hell yeah.” I was more than thrilled because I was a really big fan of Summer, I loved her voice. I thought that she really had an amazing voice. I really loved her voice and some of her songs she did on her previous album. They came to me and said “Yo Sean, we want you to work with Summer. We want you to help her elevate her production, her sound, and basically her music.”

I didn’t come to take away from what Summer possesses. It was always about coming through and trying to enhance in those spaces that she wouldn’t feel or she didn’t want to feel, to give some more dynamics to the album. It was a beautiful thing. She has said a number of times that she was at one of the lowest points in her life. I felt really compelled to work with her because I was a fan #1. Secondly once I met her and got a chance to vibe with her, I felt a relationship with her. As far as big brother, helping her through the situation. She came to my house and started to work with me, she really liked our camaraderie. She really liked how we vibed together. We bounced everything off of each other, started going back and forth. It started coming out really special. It was a match made in heaven for me.

What is the energy in the studio? How does it compare to some of the previous collabs you’ve done?

The relationship, the vibe that Summer and I would have is very much organic, because I wouldn’t really get in her way, she wouldn’t get in mine. I would give her space. She’s so good at what she does, I could come behind her and add this, add that. Sometimes she’ll follow me and sometimes I’ll follow her. If I was feeling something like “Hey, we should go in this direction,” she’d be like, “Hmm, okay.” She’d find herself in that, then I’d do the same. If she wanted to go in a direction, I’d help support everything that she was feeling. She’s very sweet and kind to me too, by opening it up and allowing me to get into her world and help her. She’d throw the ball to me and I’d throw the ball back to her, so it was really an amazing time.

What exact songs did you work on? 

I worked on about 15 to 16 out of 20. Some of them was from zero to 60, some of it was 40 to 60. Because it was about really making sure that her sound was elevated and the feeling of it. We wanted the songs to breathe in a different type of way. Not just an open breathe, I’m talking about breathe like inhale and exhale to where it brought you in. That feeling on “Reciprocate.” I’m known for vocals and background vocals, knowing how to really produce vocals and arrange records. She was so sweet. It was a lot of records I brought to the table, then there’s also records that I could help enhance with ideas she had already.. It was definitely a collaborative effort.

What does it mean to executive produce such a great album?

Being an executive producer was really important here because it wasn’t about allowing anybody to push her off her grid. Really working with the guys, really working with Justice, really working with Summer. Really making sure that we had all the things on the album that we needed, or going down and working with Pharrell. Helping shape the things that Summer wanted to hear, the things she wanted to feel. Being a big brother and not allowing anybody to push things on her that she couldn’t relate to. I had spent so much time with her, everybody couldn’t get into her mindset. She has a certain type of way of interpreting things. If she don’t like some shit, she just don’t like it. [laughs] I was very helpful in helping her pull it all together.

You mentioned things the album needs. What did you feel the album needed?

One thing is tempo. When we think about “Ex For a Reason” or “That Right There,” that was a big surprise for a lot of people because they had never heard Summer on uptempo records. At first, everybody said, “Oh my God, this is not Summer.” It’s definitely Summer, but it’s a different speed. It’s a different arrangement, it’s a different vibe, but it’s definitely the same message. This album was a story. “Ex For a Reason” was a record where Summer checked all the boxes. She checked the ex-girlfriends, the guy, the next chicks and current chicks. She was checking all the boxes to where she’d read people, because there was a lot that was said online. There was a lot of back and forth with baby mamas, so it was a lot of shit that needed to be addressed off cap from the beginning.

We were also building her base. It was important for us to think about her base and she had already peaked at Urban. There were a lot of people in Asia that didn’t know Summer Walker specifically, or in London or in Australia. It was a lot of different markets that we got a chance to tap into with “Ex For a Reason,” that we probably wouldn’t have been able to tap into with another record. That was one of the other points that we’re able to bring to the table, that brought some more transitions to her album. Which basically paid off because a lot of people felt this album was damn near the album of the year: based on the dynamics, based on the power of the messages of the songs, the feeling. There was some amazing, amazing collaboration. I’m so thankful and appreciative. Cardi B came in and went crazy, Ari Lennox.

The Cardi B track sounded like a real voicemail!

It really was. It was real shit. I’m a huge Cardi B fan, I love Cardi so much because she’s really real and raw. What you see is what you get from Cardi. I totally fuck with that, I’m a lot like that. Everybody on this album gave their real and their raw. All the collaborations, the features were perfect. The “No Love” record with SZA finna go off. That’s the next single, I’m really excited.

I love that song too!

If I’m not mistaken, that’s one of Summer’s favorite songs. I love how we went crazy on “4th Baby Mama.” Summer was sweet enough to let me stay on the album as an artist. All of it was really special to me, it couldn’t have been no better. I couldn’t have asked for anything better from God. I’m really thankful for all of the fans who embraced the album and loved all the records. Everywhere we go, people say, “I fucking love the album as a whole.” This is the first album I ever executive produced.

Really? In your whole career?

Believe it or not. [laughs] I should’ve been an executive producer on quite a few albums. Just growing, I was really young. I had a humongous amount of success early. I don’t think God makes no mistakes so for me, it was a beautiful thing.

What is your favorite song on the album?

One of my favorite songs is “Constant Bullshit.” I absolutely love “Reciprocate.” I really love  “4th Baby Mama” for sure. Me and Summer went back and forth over “4th Baby Mama” so many times. Of course, she didn’t like the idea of being called a 4th baby mama, which I totally understand that. At the same time, that’s something that needed to be said. What’s great about Summer is she’s definitely one of those types of people that’s going to say exactly how she feels. She definitely ain’t finna sugarcoat shit, she gon’ give it to you raw and direct. That’s what I think people really like about her too.

If you look at some of the titles, that’s what made the album so crazy with “Constant Bullshit”, “4th Baby Mama”, “Toxic”, “Reciprocate.” “Screwin” is another one of them records that was really crazy. I love “Loyal.” “Bitter” was fire. I was happy for everybody in the world. I don’t think we got an album this good since Confessions to be honest. Seriously! I’m talking about a record you can listen word for word, record to record, no stops. This shit is just right.

I saw you in The Breakfast Club called her a modern-day Mary J. Blige. Why do you think that?

Hands down, she is. She’s the culture. In conversations, she’s what every female can relate to and reference to. I had some girls say “I ain’t even in a place where I got a problem with my guy, but this shit’s still relatable.” I say to people, “you don’t even have to be at odds with your guy listening to this album.” People realize “damn, I can listen to this album over and over again whether I got problems or not.” Because this shit is so realistic what you could be going through, what you have been through, what you seen your girlfriend, mama, or auntie go through. That’s what relating to music is all about.

The world loved “Thriller,” everybody wanted to know who the hell Billy Jean was. It was one of them albums that connected with people. Confessions was a really good example. She’s definitely today’s Mary J. Blige, and that’s on slight to Mary. There’s nothing wrong with us comparing greatness or people who represent a feeling of pain, passion, and love. This was a triumphant album. Why? Because Summer was pregnant recording this whole album. That’s what people have forgotten, this is a young woman who was going through some real stuff. She was going through real shit. I feel proud as a big brother, I could hold her hand. It meant a lot to me when she said “thanks for not leaving me” at that time. I said “babygirl, I wasn’t going nowhere. I’m going to make sure you’re good,” because that’s my duty. That’s what I do this for. That’s why God put me in this position to be here, to help support her.

She’s representative of the people, but a lot of women needed to hear this album for their own confidence. Their own life, their own moments to help get them through their own trials and tribulations we’re all going through. There’s so much going on, from the pandemic to people losing their jobs, can’t pay their bills. On top of that, you have situations you’re going through in relationships. I can understand girls go through moments where sometimes they’re good enough, sometimes they’re not. What more could we have had than an ambassador for all of the bullshit? Summer ain’t perfect, and that’s the part that builds confidence too for other people. She can admit “I’m not perfect. I don’t know everything, but I do know I’m human. I do know I don’t like when someone hurts my feelings. I do know that I’m not about to let somebody walk over me.” I like the idea she said “shit, I’m not even about to be chasing you no more, or trying to figure out what’s going on. I’m finna do what I’m finna do.” I fuck with that, that’s power.

The accolades, the #1’s, the charts, how does it feel to get all these recognitions? 200 million streams in one week alongside someone like The Weeknd, because I’m sure you anticipated this type of response?

Ain’t going to lie, I really did anticipate going crazy, but I didn’t anticipate it breaking records like this. That’s the power of God, the power of truth. The power in numbers. That’s the power of the people. For people out here wondering what they have to do to get to the next level, this is a great example. You gotta go through it. Keep working, you can’t keep looking at shit for money or prestige. We did what we thought was the right thing to do, put our passion and heart in it, and look what happened.

The Cardi B track sounded like a real voicemail!

It really was. It was real shit. I’m a huge Cardi B fan, I love Cardi so much because she’s really real and raw. What you see is what you get from Cardi. I totally fuck with that, I’m a lot like that. Everybody on this album gave their real and their raw. All the collaborations, the features were perfect. The “No Love” record with SZA finna go off. That’s the next single, I’m really excited.

I love that song too!

If I’m not mistaken, that’s one of Summer’s favorite songs. I love how we went crazy on “4th Baby Mama.” Summer was sweet enough to let me stay on the album as an artist. All of it was really special to me, it couldn’t have been no better. I couldn’t have asked for anything better from God. I’m really thankful for all of the fans who embraced the album and loved all the records. Everywhere we go, people say, “I fucking love the album as a whole.” This is the first album I ever executive produced.

Really? In your whole career?

Believe it or not. [laughs] I should’ve been an executive producer on quite a few albums. Just growing, I was really young. I had a humongous amount of success early. I don’t think God makes no mistakes so for me, it was a beautiful thing.

What is your favorite song on the album?

One of my favorite songs is “Constant Bullshit.” I absolutely love “Reciprocate.” I really love  “4th Baby Mama” for sure. Me and Summer went back and forth over “4th Baby Mama” so many times. Of course, she didn’t like the idea of being called a 4th baby mama, which I totally understand that. At the same time, that’s something that needed to be said. What’s great about Summer is she’s definitely one of those types of people that’s going to say exactly how she feels. She definitely ain’t finna sugarcoat shit, she gon’ give it to you raw and direct. That’s what I think people really like about her too.

If you look at some of the titles, that’s what made the album so crazy with “Constant Bullshit”, “4th Baby Mama”, “Toxic”, “Reciprocate.” “Screwin” is another one of them records that was really crazy. I love “Loyal.” “Bitter” was fire. I was happy for everybody in the world. I don’t think we got an album this good since Confessions to be honest. Seriously! I’m talking about a record you can listen word for word, record to record, no stops. This shit is just right.

I saw you in The Breakfast Club called her a modern-day Mary J. Blige. Why do you think that?

Hands down, she is. She’s the culture. In conversations, she’s what every female can relate to and reference to. I had some girls say “I ain’t even in a place where I got a problem with my guy, but this shit’s still relatable.” I say to people, “you don’t even have to be at odds with your guy listening to this album.” People realize “damn, I can listen to this album over and over again whether I got problems or not.” Because this shit is so realistic what you could be going through, what you have been through, what you seen your girlfriend, mama, or auntie go through. That’s what relating to music is all about.

The world loved “Thriller,” everybody wanted to know who the hell Billy Jean was. It was one of them albums that connected with people. Confessions was a really good example. She’s definitely today’s Mary J. Blige, and that’s on slight to Mary. There’s nothing wrong with us comparing greatness or people who represent a feeling of pain, passion, and love. This was a triumphant album. Why? Because Summer was pregnant recording this whole album. That’s what people have forgotten, this is a young woman who was going through some real stuff. She was going through real shit. I feel proud as a big brother, I could hold her hand. It meant a lot to me when she said “thanks for not leaving me” at that time. I said “babygirl, I wasn’t going nowhere. I’m going to make sure you’re good,” because that’s my duty. That’s what I do this for. That’s why God put me in this position to be here, to help support her.

She’s representative of the people, but a lot of women needed to hear this album for their own confidence. Their own life, their own moments to help get them through their own trials and tribulations we’re all going through. There’s so much going on, from the pandemic to people losing their jobs, can’t pay their bills. On top of that, you have situations you’re going through in relationships. I can understand girls go through moments where sometimes they’re good enough, sometimes they’re not. What more could we have had than an ambassador for all of the bullshit? Summer ain’t perfect, and that’s the part that builds confidence too for other people. She can admit “I’m not perfect. I don’t know everything, but I do know I’m human. I do know I don’t like when someone hurts my feelings. I do know that I’m not about to let somebody walk over me.” I like the idea she said “shit, I’m not even about to be chasing you no more, or trying to figure out what’s going on. I’m finna do what I’m finna do.” I fuck with that, that’s power.

The accolades, the #1’s, the charts, how does it feel to get all these recognitions? 200 million streams in one week alongside someone like The Weeknd, because I’m sure you anticipated this type of response?

Ain’t going to lie, I really did anticipate going crazy, but I didn’t anticipate it breaking records like this. That’s the power of God, the power of truth. The power in numbers. That’s the power of the people. For people out here wondering what they have to do to get to the next level, this is a great example. You gotta go through it. Keep working, you can’t keep looking at shit for money or prestige. We did what we thought was the right thing to do, put our passion and heart in it, and look what happened.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qel9ALGzzBQ

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