After emerging in 2009 with his 3x-platinum debut single, “Whatcha Say,” Miami-born singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor Jason Derulo has parlayed his songwriting and performing talent and sheer determination into becoming a regular fixture on the pop chart over the last three years with a steady stream of best-selling singles, including the 2x-platinum “In My Head” and the 2x-platinum “Ridin’ Solo” from his self-titled 2010 debut, and the platinum “Don’t Wanna Go Home” (which spent five consecutive weeks in the Top 10), and “It Girl,” both from Derulo’s current album Future History. However everything came to a screeching halt in January when Derulo suffered a severe neck injury and was nearly paralyzed while rehearsing for a headlining world tour in support of Future History. Fortunately Derulo made a full recovery and returned in May with an appearance on the season finale of American Idol, during which he performed a new song, “Undefeated,” which featured lyrics submitted by fans through the Coca-Cola Perfect Harmony contest. Derulo has streamed more than half a billion views on his YouTube Channel and sold more than 16 million singles worldwide. He was a five-time winner at the 2011 BMI Pop Awards including being honored as "Songwriter of the Year" (which he shared with Lady Gaga and his debut album’s producer JR Rotem), and took home a 2010 Teen Choice Award for “Choice Music: Album, R&B.” Derulo has also been nominated for a four additional Teen Choice Awards, a 2011 NAACP Image Award, an American Music Award, an ARIA and MOBO Award, two MTV Video Music Awards, two MTV Europe Music Awards, and a Much Music Award. He is currently in the studio working on his third album for Beluga Heights/Warner Bros. Records.
The 21-year-old chart-topper is set to release his eagerly awaited sophomore effort, Future History, on Beluga Heights/Warner Bros. Records on September 27th. “It’s where I see myself going in the future,” says Derulo of the meaning behind the album title. “These are the songs I’m going to be singing for the rest of my life, and I’d like my music to live on after I’m no longer around.”
Future History finds Derulo moving seamlessly from ultra-sexy urban dance tracks to poppy love songs, once again offering up a unique genre-blurring blend of varied sounds deeply rooted in pop. This time, production is handled by The Fliptones, including the first single and instant summer anthem “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” as well as hitmakers J.R. Rotem, Frank E, The Dream, and Eman.
“On this album I just wanted to be me,” explains Derulo, who wrote all of the songs on Future History either by himself or in collaboration with top names like Kara Dioguardi, The Dream, and Claude Kelly. The new batch of songs reflects a newfound maturity in Derulo’s personality as well as the music that he’s eager to share with his fans. “I was 19 before and now I’m 21 and I’ve really kind of found myself,” he says. “So you can hear a whole new person, a new being almost.”
While recording in Serenity Studio in Los Angeles, Derulo created the ideal vibe to inspire the creative process. “Music becomes conversational and real,” says Derulo of his ritual of keeping the studio dimly lit with candles so he can put himself in the place he’s singing about in each song, and express exactly what he’s feeling. “I’m not diluting what I’m saying with a pen, and I’m not editing myself. I’m saying what I feel.”
He’s certainly not shying away from his romantic side on Future History, with songs like “It Girl”—on which he sings of his ideal woman being his “greatest hit”—and “Breathing,” a gorgeous love song that also pays tribute to his late cousin with such lyrics as, “I only miss you when I’m breathing.”
“The lyrics are heartfelt, but they’re hidden behind a beat that makes them seem very light,” says Derulo of exposing his softer side on the song, which also features him breaking into an impromptu African chant. “That’s what I think is so cool about it. The song has both a positive and negative vibe. You have both elements.”
And you won’t find Derulo holding back when it comes to the details of sexual relationships on tracks like “Make It Up As We Go,” an ode to friends with benefits, and the testosterone-fueled “My Shit,” which he says is the result of his “no boundaries” approach to expressing himself. “It’s pretty graphic,” admits Derulo with a laugh. “It’s a super-manly sexual side, rather than a gentle sexual side. I think there should be a balance. It’s about an amazing time in the bedroom and just giving ownership to what’s mine.”
Derulo has been honing his songcraft for as long as he can remember. Raised on a healthy diet of Prince, Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Madonna while growing up in Miami, Derulo composed his first song, a little ditty called "Crush On You," on the piano at just eight years old. By the time he was a teen, he was attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, where he also competed for and won The Apollo's Grand Championship in 2006.
At the age of 17, Derulo composed and sang the chorus to "Bossy” for Southern rapper Birdman, and soon became a sought-after tunesmith, crafting songs for hip-hop star Lil Wayne, R&B singer Cassie, and girl group Danity Kane, to name a few. Around this time, producer J.R. Rotem’s brother Tommy was searching for artists to sign to Rotem’s new label, Beluga Heights, and contacted Derulo through his MySpace page and invited him out to Los Angeles to pen songs for Sean Kingston’s second album.
"Jason is one of those guys who can write songs for other people but has a career of his own," says Rotem, who produced “Pick Up The Pieces,” “Be Careful,” and “Dumb” on Future History. Rotem quickly realized that Derulo belonged in the spotlight himself. "Jason can write pop songs for women to sing, R&B for men to sing, he can write ballads; he's very eclectic,” Rotem says. “He has really inspired us."
Produced by Rotem, Derulo’s debut album brought him a string of smash hit singles last year—the 3x-platinum "Whatcha Say" and the 2x-platinum "In My Head" and "Ridin' Solo"—making Derulo the first male solo artist to score consecutive No. 1's on Billboard's Pop Songs radio airplay chart in its 17-year-history with his first two entries.
Also that year, Derulo tried his hand at acting, appearing in the MTV feature film Turn the Beat Around in between tours with two of the biggest acts in the world—first on a six-week stint with Lady Gaga on her sold-out “Monster Ball” tour of North America, and then as support for the Black Eyed Peas in Canada—before headlining his own tour. Since then, Derulo’s live show has continued to grow. “The venues have doubled in size which is pretty cool,” he says. “It’s crazy that it happened in two years.”
Derulo plans to take Future History on his most extensive world tour yet, which will begin in Europe before hitting Australia and America, where he’s sure to put on his most memorable shows to date. “I’m excited to perform this album all over the world,” Derulo says. And fans can expect to see him continue to evolve, as he mounts an even bigger live production, complete with never-seen-before dance moves and plenty of costume changes.
“My goals for myself are almost impossible to reach,” explains Derulo when looking to the future. “It’s just me doing what I’m doing, and that is making music for the world, and hopefully making it a brighter place for somebody.”