My Secret Life: Jay Sean, singer-songwriter, 29

My parents were... my biggest inspiration. I've seen them go through times of extreme adversity, but also have an amazing, flourishing business. They made sure they always raised us right.

The house/flat I grew up in... I was born and raised in Southall; we had two houses which we made into one big one because there were 12 of us living there: me and my bro, my parents, my grandparents, and my dad's brother's family.

When I was a child I wanted to be... I wanted to be a doctor originally; that was my realistic dream, because I knew how to get there. Being a pop star was my wild dream, a fantasy – there was no direct route.

If I could change one thing about myself...I have rather skinny legs – I blame my dad's side of the family.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... impressions. Not really famous people, I just do my friends; it's quite annoying for them.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... I can't cook. If it takes five minutes to eat it, what's the point of spending an hour cooking it? I eat a lot of cereal and toast.

At night I dream of... I have wild, insane dreams. They're like films, in colour. Yesterday I dreamt I had a daughter who was half-penguin.

What I see when I look in the mirror... I used to be a real fat boy when I was young. When I look in the mirror I still see this little chubby boy.

My favourite item of clothing... Shoes. I'm really into shoes. I have a couple of hundred pairs. The only reason I have two bedrooms in my place in Manhattan is so I have a room for all my shoes.

I drive... a BMW M6, which is my little baby.

It's not fashionable but I like... Sylvester Stallone. I'm a huge fan, even of the really bad films. I'm a mega fan of the Rocky films, I watch them over and over again.

My house is... I have a house in Wimbledon which is a lovely, beautiful area, and a place in Hounslow: keeping it real. Also a flat in Manhattan which is incredible – it's overlooking Times Square and the Empire State Building. I love being there, it's a constant reminder I've made it.

My favourite work of art... The Sistine Chapel, just for what it stands for. It'd be a lot easier if he'd done it on the floor. But on the ceiling, it's never going to be wiped out – genius.

A book that changed me... Believe That You Can by Jentezen Franklin. I just picked it up in an airport, but it's so inspirational.

My greatest regret... I wish I had not quit playing the piano when I was younger. I was probably about 13, when it wasn't cool to be going to piano lessons at lunch.

My secret crush... Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson – definitely.

My real-life villains... Air hostesses. Honestly, if you hate your job that much, why do you do it?

The person who really makes me laugh... Ricky Gervais. Nobody can make me laugh more than him.

The last time I cried... was a couple of days ago. My grandfather passed away, and it's been hard. I was super-close to him, he was like a dad because we all lived together.

What's the point? To make the most of it. You only have one shot at life, as far as we know, so why not go out with a bang?

My life in six words... living the dream and permanently jetlagged.

A life in brief

Jay Sean was born Kamaljit Singh Jhooti in Southall, London on 26 March 1981. Sean dropped out of medical school in order to pursue his dream of becoming a singer. In 2009, he became the first-ever UK urban act to top the US Billboard Top 100, with his American debut single "Down". His new album, Freeze Time, is out in February. Sean is a mentor on Disney XD's Aim High scheme for children aged between eight and 14 years of age – visit for details.

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