His real name is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti. Born in London, he is Punjabi by race and Sikh by religion. He took the first name Jay as a variation on his last name Jhooti, and his grandmother used to call him Shaan, which is where Sean comes from.
The song "Down" from his third album All or Nothing (2009) was his debut single on the American scene and it made him the first solo artist of South Asian origin and first UK urban act to top Billboard Hot 100. He talks about his American success with The Independent, saying, "I'm a novelty to them. A brown-skinned man who isn't a Muslim, and doesn't speak like the stereotypical cornershop-owning Indian."
He makes a special appearance with his song "Dil Mera" in a Bollywood movie called Kyaa Kool Hai Hum (2005). He is a big fan of Bollywood, saying, "I love the way the films offer everything - emotions and comedy and music."
His favorite artist is Musiq Soulchild, but he's also a big fan of Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie. Among newer artists, his favorites include Eric Benet, Brian McKnight and Justin Timberlake.