Jason Derulo Talks Partying, Learning from Gaga, and New ‘Future History’ Album
Ja-son Derulo! That signature intro has kicked off a number of hits since the Miami native first hit the scene with ‘Whatcha Say’ in 2009. Derulo used a blend of pop, dance and R&B to score three multi-platinum singles from his self-titled debut and earned touring slots with Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas.
On Sept. 27, the 21-year-old releases his second album, ‘Future History,’ which includes the hits ‘Don’t Wanna Go Home’ and ‘It Girl.’ In addition to clarifying rumors that he's dating his 'It Girl' music video co-star Tika Sumpter — he dismissed the reports with a casual, "Naw, that's not true" — Jason Derulo spoke with PopCrush about his new album, his future acting career, and his month-long (!) birthday celebration.
How much different are you now as a person from when you recorded your debut, and is that reflected in the music on ‘Future History’?
Absolutely, the fact that I’ve grown so much as an artist, as a singer, as a performer and, most importantly, as a man, has definitely changed my music, because I always write music based on who I am. So the fact that I’m different as a man [means] my music is very different. It’s a little more edgy. You’ll find a lot more emotion in it.
One of the songs on your new album is called ‘Dumb,’ which is a really intriguing title. What is that song about?
The title is basically about, after a traumatic experience, the first couple of emotions that go through your mind [which] are blaming yourself, anger and then sadness. That’s basically what it is, just beating up on myself for ever thinking that the situation was gonna work or ever thinking the situation was right.
‘X’ is another interesting title. Can you tell us about that one?
‘X’ is about that situation where you have an ex that every time you see them, it’s almost like you hate that you still love them. Every time you see them, you still end up having sex, or it’s a free-for-all, all over again, and you hate the fact that you still love them in that way.
Your first album didn’t have a lot of featured artists on it and neither does ‘Future History.’ Was that an intentional decision?
I did do features, but the songs that I collaborated on didn’t actually make the album. I have nothing against the artists that I worked with. It’s just that the album had a certain continuity, and the songs had to be right.
I understand you worked with The-Dream on this album.
Yeah, on one song called ‘That’s My Shhh.’ It was cool. Dream comes from a different world. His world is the urban world, that’s his thing. And that’s part of my roots. So it was cool to go back to that for a second. He’s a really nice guy and I had a chance to get know him.
Listen to Jason Derulo, 'That's My Shhh'
When your first album came out, you toured with Lady Gaga & Black Eyed Peas. What did you take away from those experiences?
Well, you can’t learn about touring unless you’re actually on tour. You have to actually experience it. Especially if you want to have your own world tour. That’s what the Lady Gaga tour was. That was one of the biggest tours in the world, obviously. For me to get my name on that one was really big. I had a blast on that tour.
You have to learn a balance. You wanna party sometimes, but you don’t wanna do it to the detriment of your show. You have to learn how to get rest on a tour bus. All these are things that, in the process of touring, you have to learn.
You’ve said that you started writing songs at 8 years old. Do you remember the first song you wrote?
Yeah, the first song I wrote was called ‘Crush on You.’ It was about a girl in my class. I wanted to give her a gift, but I didn’t have anything to give her. So I was thinking to myself, ‘What is free that I can give her, and maybe she’d like me for it?’ So I wrote her a song called ‘Crush on You.’
Did it work?
No, actually I never gave it to her!
You seem grounded and focused, but at the same time, you really want to make history and change the world. How do you balance having such huge goals with staying level-headed?
You need to be focused and humbled, because when you feel like you’ve made it, when you feel like you have everything, then it’s easy to fall backwards. I think it’s important for every artist to have a vision of perfection in their mind. The beauty of art is that there’s no real perfection. But if you have a picture of perfection in your mind, and you’re constantly chasing that, then you always have something to work towards. If you have nothing to work towards, then you become complacent and you can fall backwards.
You’ve said that eventually you want to focus on movies. What kind of roles would you like to play?
I want to do all kinds of movies. I’d like to do comedies, I’d like to do horror, I’d like to do action films. I don’t want to be limited to one thing. I wanna do everything, just like my music. I think life is more interesting when you switch it up.
What made you pass up a chance to star as Jimi Hendrix?
I was working on ‘Future History.’ ‘Future History’ is my greatest accomplishment in my life right now, so I wanted to make sure that got its just due. When ‘Future History’ is over, then I can have time for that other stuff.
Your birthday is coming up soon. Do you have big plans?
I’ve been celebrating my birthday. September is the month of my birthday. I didn’t really have a chance to celebrate properly last year for my 21st, so I decided to make this a birthday month.
How have you been partying so far?
Strip clubs, clubbing, going out to dinner … All kinds of stuff. It’s a very special month with my birthday and ‘Future History.’ It’s a celebration!
Watch the Jason Derulo 'It Girl' Video