Sean Lennon was born in New York City on October 9, 1975 – incidentally, on the 35th birthday of his father and arguably the most liked Beatle John Lennon. Sean’s mother and John’s second wife was a popular musician of Japanese descent. Born as Sean Taro Ono Lennon, Sean is a British-American singer, lyricist, musician as well as an actor. Soon after the birth of his youngest son Sean, John Lennon became a responsible father and remained so till he was assassinated in 1980.
Sean Lennon was fortunate to receive his primary education at the exclusive Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York and Dalton and later at the private boarding school Institut Le Rosey in Rolle, in Switzerland. He also attended Columbia University, but dropped out after three semesters to concentrate on his music career.
In 1981, Sean Lennon made his debut into the music world at the age of six narrating a story on his mother's album ‘Season of Glass’. Sean Lennon continued to work together with his mother, rendering vocals and earning production credit on her solo albums ‘It's Alright’ (I See Rainbows), ‘Starpeace’ and ‘Onobox’ since his early days into the teen years. At the age of 16, Sean Lennon and Lenny Kravitz co-wrote the song "All I Ever Wanted" for his album ‘Mama Said’ released in 1991. In the same year, Sean Lennon along with Ono and Lenny Kravitz arranged a star-studded re-recording of his father's "Give Peace a Chance" as a protest to the Gulf War.
Sean created the band IMA along with Sam Koppelman and Timo Ellis to play alongside his mother’s album ‘Rising’ in 1995. In addition, Sean Lennon also appeared in films, found a place in the casting of Michael Jackson's ‘Moonwalker’ in 1988 and portrayed a teenager going through visualizations of numerous MC Escher paintings in Sony's advertising short-film ‘Infinite Escher’ in 1990.
Owing to his illustrious parents, Sean Lennon was virtually born with a silver spoon and was an icon even before he launched his recording career. Perhaps this was the reason why, unlike his half brother Julian, Sean Lennon did not begin his career straightaway with pop, but chose something between pop and experimental.
On the contrary, inspired by the multi-cultural Beastie Boys and Beck of the 1990s, Sean Lennon released his debut album ‘Into the Sun’ had music from various sources and presented a relaxing ambience. While such a revolution was unexpected a decade before ‘Into the Sun’, the debut album received rave reviews and earned Sean Lennon a humble place in the world of Western music.
In 1996 Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto met Sean and requested him to join them on tour as a bass player. This ultimately showed the way to Sean to add to their side-project ‘Butter 08’ and to his become a member of the group. He continued to play with them on tour, associated with them on television and presented bass guitar and vocals on their EP, Super Relax.
During his involvement with Cibo Matto, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys approached Sean Lennon. The Beastie Boys evinced importance for his music and encouraged him to sign a record contract with Grand Royal Records. And subsequently, Sean Lennon's solo debut album ‘Into the Sun’, was released in 1998. Incidentally, Cibo Matto member Yuka Honda produced the album and Lennon later asserted that Honda was his inspiration for the album. The duo soon became friends and their relationship developed into a creative one too.
A New Beginning
After Grand Royal Records closed down in 2001, Sean Lennon signed a contract with Capitol Records. And in February 2006, he released his first single "Dead Meat" from his new album ‘Friendly Fire’. The subject of the album is based on love and betrayal and was dedicated to the death of one of his close friends. In October 2006, the company released ‘Friendly Fire’. Following the release of ‘Friendly Fire’, Lennon undertook an extensive world tour and when in France remixed his song "Parachute" in partnership with French artist -M- and named it "L'éclipse".
In addition to being a solo artist, Sean Lennon continues to work as a session musician and producer. In October 2007, Sean Lennon joined hands with Mark Ronson in the BBC Electric Proms and sang ‘Sail on, Sailor’, as well as ‘We Can Work It Out’ with Daniel Merriweather and Tawiah. On the other hand, Sean Lennon premiered the side-project "The Ghost of A Saber Toothed Tiger" during a live performance at Radio City on Valentines Day in 2008 with his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Sean Lennon has also ventured into the world scoring film.
Recently, in a release in You-Tube, Sean Lennon has announced that he is currently working on his latest solo album.
Some of his notable performances and his film productions include:
- 1997 - Super Relax
- 1998 - Into the Sun
- 1999 - Half Horse, Half Musician
- 1999 - Sean Lennon - Half Horse Half Musician
- 1999 - Stereo Type A
- 2000 - Soulfly - Primitive
- 2001 - Valentine Original Soundtrack
- 2005 - Esthero - Wikked Lil' Grrrls
- 2005 - Smile for the Camera
- 2006 - Friendly Fire
- 2006 - Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire
- 2006 - Friendly Fire
- 2007 - Irina Lazareanu - Some Place Along the Way
- 2008 - The Stranger
- 2008 - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead
- 2008 - Tea Fight