Jason Derulo's message to hit songwriters and producers: Check your egos at the door!
The 22-year-old singer, whose 2010 self-titled debut was produced by J.R. Rotem, wanted to challenge himself on his new album, so he held recording sessions with other producers.
Things didn't always go smoothly.
"Some of these people were walking in with these huge egos and they haven't really done anything and I'm like, 'I'm not really with that, man,'" said Derulo, best known for hits like "Whatcha Say" and "In My Head." "I can't really get down like that."
"Future History" still features Rotem, but also includes RedOne, The-Dream and DJ Frank E. It debuted at No. 29 on the Billboard charts last month.
The Associated Press: So some sessions didn't go well?
Derulo: I'm a fan of a lot of other producers and their work, so I wanted to kind of dive in and see what that was like. So I worked with a lot of people (and in) some instances it didn't work because I'm really not into working with people I don't have, like, a special connection with. ... So it has to be a friendly connection as well as business connection as well as a creative connection to make great material.
AP: What would happen after it didn't work out?
Derulo: So usually if I meet somebody and we don't click, I just won't finish the session. I'll be like, "Maybe we can do this another time" and they'll never hear from me again.
AP: How was RedOne?
Derulo: He's somebody that's so down to earth ... a lot of these other people could take some notes. ... Just yesterday he was texting me, "Hey, did you see the response on our songs? It's amazing. It's a smash." He's like, "I'm so excited." Like, he still has that same excitement as he did in the beginning, and that's incredible.
AP: So the song "Be Careful" is about a stalker?
Derulo: I had a stalker situation where I met this girl and it started off as something that I thought would be some kind of, I don't know what to call it, fling. But it just turned out to be something totally different and she was following me around the world.
AP: Were you hesitant about writing the song since she was stalking you?
Derulo: I'm never hesitant about writing a song. It doesn't really matter what it is. If you don't want a song written about you, you should probably not be in my life (laughs). I'm going to write songs about anything. I've had girls sit in the studio with me and they just burst into tears because I literally will tell the whole story how it is, you know what I mean? Whether it's painful or not.
AP: How did "It Girl" come about?
Derulo: It definitely was one of those songs that kind of just like rolled off the tongue and I haven't found my "it girl" yet, but you know, I know she's out there somewhere.
AP: What was it like recording "Breathing," which is uptempo but is also about your cousin's death?
Derulo: It's partly about my cousin's passing and partly about a relationship I was in. ...It has a positive-negative vibe to it. If you're going through something you don't have to dwell in it. You can pick yourself up and that was the thought process behind writing this song and during the recording process, during the writing process it was pretty emotional and pretty rough for me ...I was actually in tears when I was making the record.
AP: Are you going on tour?
Derulo: I'm starting my tour in February ... going to the U.K. then Australia and I think I'm going to come to America after. I'm excited because we're doing these huge rooms and there's a lot of things that I wanted to do that I couldn't do because I was new artist and the budgets weren't there, or the venues weren't big enough that I was playing at. But now selling out these 15,000-seaters across the world is really exciting. I can spread my wings.
AP: Who are you listening to on your iPod?
Derulo: I've actually been listening to my album a lot.
Mesfin Fekadu covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/musicmesfin