Jason Derulo is topping the charts at the moment with 3 platinum singles and an album that has gone gold both in the UK and Australia. At the tender age of only 20, this is the kind of prodigy that cynics and critics hate, but the industry loves. Finding success with an auto-tune heavy brand of American R&B pop, he's hardly the most original artist to step out of the 21st century, but what about the man behind the music?
When we met him, due to numerous TV appearances, the interviews were running late and there was scarcely half an hour left before Jason was due to be whisked away to Sky HQ. As we entered the small room at Wise Buddah, Jason was lounging back against a black leather couch looking tired, but good humoured, and greeted us warmly.
Despite the smile, you got the impression that he would rather be taking a few minutes to nap before being cattle-prodded into yet another car. His extravagant watch and designer clothes descried a man well accustomed to the spoils of fame. Polite and softly spoken, yet reserved about what he revealed, it was evident that he was aware of having come of age in an industry that could love him one day and cut his throat just as easily the next.
So Jason, you've had 3 top 10 singles and a top 10 album in the UK, what do you think is the key to your popularity?
The key to my popularity? Um, I don't think there's a key. I think that good songs that people can connect with, that's the most important thing. I try to make material that people can relate to and how I do that is just by making material that is based on things that I go through in my life or based on things that my family and friends go through.
You'll be back in the UK for a few shows in August, are you looking forward to performing for the audiences over here?
Absoloutely. Y'know, it's always been my dream to share my music with the world so it's refreshing to have fans all over the world. It's really cool and I can't wait to come back, I love the UK.
Obviously, you have a huge international fanbase, what's the strangest item you've ever been sent by a fan?
Strangest? Umm… I don't think anything has been strange. I understand everything that I get. Like, I get teddy bears and letters with kisses all over them and just, really nice stuff.
You were writing for some big names before you started performing yourself. Is your first love writing or performing?
Most definitely performing. Not even close. I've always been a performer and writing is something that kinda just fell in my lap. Y'know, I do love writing, don't get me wrong, but I like writing for myself first and foremost.
Who would you describe as your biggest musical influence?
Definitely I'd say that MJ (Michael Jackson) was my biggest musical influence and I've had a lot of other musical influences as well. Elvis, Madonna, Prince, Usher, Justin Timberlake have all been a major part in what I do.
Some real icons in there! You sing, dance and act already, is there anything else you want to turn your hand to?
Um, hmmm. I mean, not necessarily. I mean maybe y'know just business-wise to be lucrative, but nothing in particular, not really. I don't really care for anything else.
Some other artists have gone into fashion lines. You are seen as quite a stylish man yourself, has that ever been something that has appealed to you or might do in the future?
Yeah, maybe. I'm not so focused on that right now. I am really into fashion, but it's just been fashion, like, for myself. I mean, it just depends if people would be interested in the things that I wear which are, y'know, just not the norm.
What's next for you over the coming months?
Well, I have a new single coming out called 'What If', which I'm shooting the video for in a couple of days. And I have the tour coming up, which is really exciting because I just jumped off tour with Ga Ga and now it's time for me to do my own thing. I'm going to be doing a couple of dates with the Black Eyed Peas as well. Just about three though because I'm ready to do my own thing.
Are you looking forward to going over to Australia as well?
Yes, I love Australia. Y'know Australia and the UK are so fun, so those are the places I'm hitting first.
Is there anything that you absolutely have to take with you when you go on tour?
I always bring my own mic stand. I don't use the venue's mic stand because my mic stand is mine and it's special. So I always take that and ummm… I guess that's pretty much it.