[artist id="1874916"]Sean "The Pen" Garrett[/artist] has the swagger of a boxer. Fast with a verbal jab, expert at talking an Ali-worthy streak of trash and prone to referring to himself in the third person, the fire-hot producer/songwriter ([artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé's[/artist] "Diva," [artist id="1234831"]Fergie's[/artist] "London Bridge," [artist id="1270"]Usher's[/artist] "Papers" and [artist id="11918"]Mario's[/artist] "Break Up") is planning to take some rare "me" time later this year to hunker down on his first solo album.
"Sean Garrett as an artist is what fans are missing," he said recently during a break from a workout at an Atlanta gym. "I'm making the kind of records Bell Biv Devoe and Bobby Brown made, songs you love and get excited hearing, with crazy beats and incredibly creative. I'm trying to be a little innovative and make songs girls will love. I'm pulling out all the stops."
Soon, he promised, he'll announce his new label deal, and by the end of December, he's penciled in six weeks or so of intense recording time — the first extended studio lockdown in his nearly decade-long career — to begin laying down the tracks for the yet-untitled album he hopes to have out next summer.
But, like any savvy boxer, Garrett knows when to pull punches and save some for the ring, so while he won't reveal too much about what guests he might have on the album, he did promise this: "I confirmed today that one of the biggest superstars in the world will be on it." Beyond that, he was not saying much.
Garrett released a Japan-only solo disc, Turbo 919, last year, but he said the upcoming album will be his true solo debut after more than half a decade of toiling behind the scenes for everyone from [artist id="2103458"]Ashley Tisdale[/artist] and [artist id="1229291"]Amerie[/artist] to the [artist id="1841713"]Pussycat Dolls[/artist], [artist id="1624630"]Jesse McCartney[/artist], [artist id="854"]Mary J. Blige[/artist] and [artist id="1961441"]Chris Brown[/artist].
The first single from the album, the recently released [artist id="1938028"]Gucci Mane[/artist]-featuring tune "Up in Your Heart," is a prime example of Garrett's skills: a hypnotic chorus over a sneakily insidious spare beat and a hook that instantly grabs your ears. "If people love [Mario's] 'Break Up,' they're gonna love my album," said the supremely confident hitmaker. "The biggest comparison I can make [as an artist] is to Kanye, because there's so much energy and so much to talk about, and I want to have so much fun on the record. People have tried to keep me in this songwriter/producer box, but I'm so much more of a bigger talent."
Working hard to make the album what he called "bulletproof," Garrett said despite his proven track record of hit writing, he feels like an underdog on his solo effort. That's why he's working extra hard to prove himself as he plans to continue his winning streak with a song on the upcoming Rihanna Rated R album, as well as tunes he's writing for Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, another single with Mario, "Stranded," and a new one from [artist id="7590"]Jamie Foxx's[/artist] upcoming album, "French Kiss."
"I have to take the same type of approach I take on the hit records I write: I can't rush it," he said. "I'm a f---ing superstar artist/writer/producer, and I will give my fans what they want and what they're asking me to give them: a phenomenal album. I'm the underdog, man, I can't go wrong. I got nothing to lose. Underdogs can't lose."
In the meantime, Garrett promised that he will also continue to be a presence on the radio and on the mixtape front, pointing to his current spot on the Gucci song "In My Business" alongside Drake.