Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Jason Derulo: In The Beginning

Jason Derulo @bluesandsoul.com
Jason Derulo @bluesandsoul.com Jason Derulo @bluesandsoul.com Jason Derulo @bluesandsoul.com Jason Derulo @bluesandsoul.com

Having already impressively attained close on 50 million worldwide record sales in just five years, US superstar singer/songwriter/dancer Jason Derulo this month comes correct with the release of his eagerly-anticipated new album âEverything Is 4â. Which is currently being pioneered big-time on radio airwaves across the globe by the throbbing bass, falsetto vocals and punchy hooks of its Ian Kirkpatrick-produced first offshoot single âWant To Want Meâ.

Born Jason Joel Desrouleaux into a Haitian/American family in Miramar, Florida on September 21, 1989, Deruloâs musical talent would come to the fore early on, with him writing his first song at the tender age of eight. Meanwhile, with him also beginning Performing Arts School at eight years old, Jason would spend much of his youth studying opera, theatre and ballet. Which would in turn eventually lead to him in 2006 graduating from New Yorkâs nationally-prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA).

Meanwhile, having by his mid-teens already tasted success as an actor (via lead roles in theatre productions like âRagtimeâ, âSmokey Joeâs Caféâ and âLucky Stuffâ), from the age of 16 an adolescent Derulo would also go on to prove himself a successful songwriter to stars-of-the-day like P. Diddy, Danity Kane, Cassie, Sean Kingston and Lil Wayne. All of which would eventually lead to his own solo recording deal with multi-Platinum producer (of then-chart-topping Sean Kingston/Rihanna fame) J.R. Rotemâs Warner Music Group-affiliated label Beluga Heights, for whom his 2009 Imogen Heap-sampling debut single âWhatcha Sayâ would go on to top the US Hot 100 while also attaining bona fide worldwide success.

Since which time Jason has impressively gone on to release three globally-successful albums - 2010âs âJason Deruloâ; 2011âs âFuture Historyâ; 2013âs âTattoosâ (whose chart life was significantly extended by the 2014 release of âTalk Dirtyâ, the North-American-repackaged version which featured four newly-recorded songs) - which have between them prestigiously spawned no less than ten career Platinum singles, including 2010âs âIn My Headâ, 2013âs 2 Chainz-featuring/multi-award-nominated âTalk Dirtyâ, and 2014âs Snoop Dogg-featuring âWiggleâ.

⦠All of which brings us back to today and the release of the aforementioned new album âEverything Is 4â. As an ever-affable Jason - who this year sits alongside both Paula Abdul and Nigel Lythgoe as a judge on US TVâs high-profile âSo You Think You Can Danceâ and who in 2014 became American radioâs most played male artist - reacquaints himself with âBlues & Soulâ Assistant Editor Pete Lewis for a revealing in-depth interview.

Titling his new album âEverything Is 4â

âWell, to me the number four is a number that kinda follows us AROUND, or at least certainly follows ME around. Like there are four legs on a chair, four legs on a table - so in that way four represents a strong FOUNDATION⦠Then there are four SEASONS, where the change of season represents being willing to accept change and accepting the fact that change is the only constant thing there IS in this world... Then on a more personal level âEverything Is 4â can equate with us saying Everything Is 4 a REASON. Like with me Everything Is 4 my MOTHER, Everything is 4 my FANS, Everything is 4 proving to myself that I can DO it... So yeah, there is a lot of meaning in the title âEverything Is 4â. And so in that way it does truly represent ME. Which in turn means it also represents the MUSIC that I make.â

How Jason breaks âEverything Is 4â down musically and lyrically

âIâd say itâs a mixture, man, of a lot of THINGS! You know, I always try to keep people guessing and keep MYSELF guessing as WELL. Which is why youâll find a lot of Eighties Michael Jackson / Prince influences shining through on parts of this album, youâll find some urban records in there - which is something I havenât really done a lot of in the past - and overall just a strong sense of GROWTH. You know, thereâs a strong grown-and-sexy vibe to all - a bit like the me youâve always known but this time putting on a tuxedo and looking all-grown-UP!... Then lyrically youâll hear a bunch of different tales of whatâs happened in the last YEAR. Like because Iâve gone through a lot in the past 12 months youâll definitely hear all about my ups and DOWNS. In fact itâs almost like a roller-coaster ride where you go from the highest high to the lowest LOW! Which is why sonically this album has so many different LEVELS to it. Like youâll have a song thatâs perfect soundtrack for the CLUBS, a song thatâs a perfect soundtrack to the BEDROOM, one thatâs a perfect soundtrack to HEARTACHE⦠You know, it just has all those different elements to it that are perfect for all those different SCENARIOS.â

How Jasonâs early upbringing in Florida contributed to his musical talent coming to the fore at a young age

âReally, my only musical influence - as I was growing up - was school and television. Because I didnât have anybody in my household that sang - or did any kind of performing - at ALL! So for me it all really came from the INSIDE. I just always had this desire to sing and perform. And with me having tons of cousins - my grandmother had 15 kids - there was always a BIRTHDAY! And so Iâd be singing and dancing at every family FUNCTION! You know, it was a huge love of mine that I just continued doing for years and years. And with both my parents having good jobs - I grew up in a financially-stable, middle-class family - there was never any problem with them putting me into various performing arts schools when I was young.â

Whether he feels his early theatrical background - via lead roles in theatre productions like âRagtimeâ and âSmokey Joeâs Caféâ - has impacted on his music overall

âOh yes, I do think musical theatre has affected me as an artist - in the sense that there the whole storyline is explained through the SONG. You know, with musical theatre every word becomes so vivid because you have to SEE everything. And so I have really tried to translate that into my OWN songwriting as WELL, in that I always want the audience to actually see whatâs going on in my songs TOO. Plus I also feel SHAKESPEARE has been a big influence on my music. Because just like with Shakespeare - where every word is perfectly placed and no word is there by chance - I do try not to have any filler lines in MY writing⦠So yeah, the theatre/acting side has definitely helped me a lot musically.â

The single âWant To Want Meâ and album âEverything Is 4â are both out now through Warner Bros. Records

jasonderulo.com

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To read more from our exclusive interview with Jason Derulo, including a look back at his late-teen years and his successful writing career for stars-of-the-day, plus current and future plans⦠Pick up a copy of the latest Blues & Soul magazine at your local magazine retailer, inc; WH Smith, Menzies + selected Euro Foods, Cost Cutters and a plethora of independents everywhere⦠if they don't stock it, ask for a "B&S shop save" and they will get it for you.
Words PETE LEWIS

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