Interview: Jason Derulo
Fri, 11 Sep 2009 09:58:04
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Jason Derulo is digging L.A.
"This is where it's at, man! It's a good change from Miami. I don't know if it's a great change yet though. Miami's got the most beautiful women in the world," he laughs with a smile.
Jason's swagger translates everywhere though. His super hot first single, "Whatcha Say" [Warner Bros.], has a hook that could set off absolutely any dance floor. However, the song's got a deep story behind it as well. That's the best part of Jason's music—he mixes infectious pop delivery with genuine R&B lyrical substance. Another track, "Strobe Light," shines with the same unique spark.
Jason sat down with ARTISTdirect.com to discuss his forthcoming debut album, songwriting, his upcoming MTV movie and much more in this exclusive interview. Jason also shared some exclusive photos from his latest video shoot below as well.
What's your process typically like?
Growing up, I listened to a lot of different kinds of music. It's my thing to go into a record store and pick up anything that I've never heard before. I'll pick up a random CD and listen to it—not for inspiration, but for education. I have a lot of influences, and they all really come through in my music. I try to reinvent myself on every track because nowadays people put CDs together where every song is simply a watered-down version of their single. I definitely didn't want to be like that. I wanted to bring something new to the table. I wanted to make an album that takes you on a journey.
Is their a journey behind "Whatcha Say?"
I really try to tell stories. When we were working on that song, my brother hit me up. He was like, "I cheated on my girl, and she just found out today. She dumped me, but I know if she gave me one more shot I could really be the man that she needs me to be." I was like, "So fucking tell her that shit! Tell her just like you told me and she might give you another shot." I thought it was pretty interesting, so that day I wrote a song about the situation. Now they're engaged and they have a beautiful marriage together. Art should mirror real life. I think that's why people connect to what I say because it's so real.
When you can mirror real life and give people an escape at the same time, that's when you're really doing your job as an artist.
Yeah, you're right about that. People want to escape and feel like things can be okay. It's kind of like a fairy tale.
Well, all art is storytelling. People want to go some place different but with a familiarity.
It's true. You need both sides of it.
What's up with "Strobe Light?"
"Strobe Light" is going to be in this MTV movie that I'm in called Turn the Beat Around. It comes out in 2010. "Strobe Light" defines me in terms of direction. I definitely don't want people to think that I'm your typical R&B artist. I really make music for the masses and not for just one particular tight-knit audience. "Strobe Light" is about a girl who is either off or on. At one moment she's acting like she's digging me, and the next moment, she's trying to play me, so I don't know what to think. She's just like a strobe light, flickering off and on.
Where do these stories come from? What inspires them?
Watching movies is one of my pastimes. I studied musical theater for a long time, and that may be one of the things that helped me out a lot. Acting and singing at the same time was a big help. In musical theater, you have to explain the story in songs. Maybe that's where some of my influences come from.
Well, the best way to create is to draw from influences that you're a fan of first and foremost.
Absolutely, man! If you don't get the "chill factor" from your own music, then other people won't. To know what that feels like you have to get that feeling from somewhere else. When I listen to a Michael Jackson song, I think, "Wow, this is amazing." I want to feel the same way about my music. If I don't feel the same thing, then I'm moving onto the next song.
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