Women in Music 2016

Jason Derulo's 15 Most Priceless Music Moments

Brian Bowen Smith
Jason Derulo

Jason Derulo is the quintessential modern-day quintuple threat: singer, songwriter, dancer, actor -- and reality TV judge. The 25-year-old Florida native began penning tunes as a youngster and after majoring in theater at New York City’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy, he landed a role in the Broadway show Rent.  Derulo chose pop music and, four albums later, he’s still going strong, breaking us off with summer jams like “Want to Want Me” and schooling aspiring steppers on Billboard's So You Think You Can Dance series.

Even before he was a star, Derulo wrote songs for the likes of Lil Wayne, Pitbull and Cassie, proving he could do pop, hip-hop and R&B. Throughout his solo career, which began in earnest in 2009 with the No. 1 single “Whatcha Say,” Derulo has expertly melded all three styles and cultivated a huge international fan base. Although he’s suffered setbacks along the way -- most notably the January 2012 neck injury that could’ve paralyzed or even killed him -- the summer of 2015 marked an exciting new chapter for this reliable hitmaker.

In June, Derulo released his highest-charting album to date, Everything Is 4, a collection of songs that features a range of guest artists and has thus far spawned two hit singles, “Want to Want” Me” and “Cheyenne.” Expect to hear these and other hits on Aug. 22, as Derulo joins Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber,The Weeknd, Skrillex, and Axwell & Ingrosso in headlining Billboard's inaugural Hot 100 Music Festival. With the fest just days away, we take a look back at Derulo’s most priceless musical moments.

Hot 100 Fest: Lineup & Schedule | Buy Tickets

2006: Jason Derulo wows at the Apollo, gets his big break. As part of an eventful 2006 -- the same year he graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy -- Derulo won the grand prize on the season finale of Showtime at the Apollo. Soon after, he met producer J.R. Totem, and before long, he was putting pen to paper and signing a deal with Beluga Heights Records.

Dec. 11, 2011: Derulo gets “Bossy” with the help of Birdman. The penultimate track on, 5 *Stunna, rapper Birdman’s third album, hipped millions of hip-hop fans to Derulo’s burgeoning singing and songwriting talents. The tune is called “Bossy,” and it’s a catchy little number about flipping power dynamics in the bedroom. (Unless that “Who da boss?” line is a Tony Danza reference.)

Aug. 5, 2009: Jason Derulo comes out swinging with debut single “Whatcha Say.” Featuring a cool Imogen Heap sample, “Whatcha Say” debuted at No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 and began a three-month climb to the top of the charts. A video highlighting Derulo’s dramatic skills and hinting at his dance prowess didn’t hurt the cause.

Feb. 24, 2010: With “Ridin’ Solo,” Derulo continues U.K. chart dominance. The Brits were quick to champion Derulo, who scored top 5 hits with his first three U.K. singles. The third, “Ridin’ Solo,” landed at No. 3, besting its American placement by six spots. “I’m feeling like a star/you can’t stop my shine,” Derulo sings to start the song, ostensibly addressing an ex but effectively commenting on his career.

March 2, 2010: Derulo drops debut self-titled debut. Thanks to its three monsters singles -- “Whatcha Say,” “In My Head,” and “Ridin’ Solo” -- Derulo’s self-titled debut hit No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and snuck into the U.K. Top 10, reaching No. 8. Reviews were mixed, but many critics (and many, many more fans) praised the young singer’s poppy R&B sounds.

May 10, 2011: “Don’t Wanna Go Home” slays abroad. On the lead single from his second album, Future History, Derulo might as well have been singing about moving to Britain. “Don’t Wanna Go Home” hit No. 1 in the U.K., marking Derulo’s second chart-topper across the Atlantic. In the U.S., the highly danceable tune -- featuring a sample of Robin S.’s 1993 house smash “Show Me Love” and an interpolation of Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O” -- shot to No. 4 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and bowed at No. 14 on the Hot 100.

Sept. 27, 2011: Derulo returns with Future History. Prefaced by two top 20 hits -- “Don’t Wanna Go Home” and the super-sweet love song “It Girl” -- Future History debuted at No. 29 on the Hot 100, marking something of a disappointment after his first LP. Still, the disc earned its share of critical love, and no one seemed to question the fact that the singer had talent.

March 28, 2012: Following a life-threatening neck injury, Derulo starts road to recovery with innovative contest. Less than three months after breaking one of his vertebrae during tour rehearsals, Derulo appeared on American Idol to announce a contest enabling fans to help him write the lyrics to a new song. The exercise in crowd-sourced creativity helped his healing process, and after thousands of submissions, he wound up with “Undefeated.”

More Priceless Moments: Justin Bieber Nicki Minaj | Skrillex | The Weeknd

May 22, 2012: Derulo returns to Idol for first post-injury TV performance. Wait, this guy just broke his back? Performing “Undefeated,” the song he’d written with help from thousands of viewers, Derulo made a stunning comeback on the season finale of American Idol, singing and dancing like a champ.

Jan. 7, 2014: Derulo gets a little dirty. People dig it. “Talk Dirty,” the second single from Tattoos -- released as Derulo’s third album everywhere in the world but America -- found the singer getting down with rapper 2 Chainz on a risqué jam showcasing his sex appeal and his sense of humor. It gave Derulo his third U.K. chart-topper and first top 5 American hit since 2009, and the eye-popping clip has since garnered more than 260 million views.

April 15, 2014: Derulo finally gives America album No. 3. In the States, Tattoos was just an EP. Derulo returned on the full-length tip with Talk Dirty, featuring the likes of 2 Chainz, Snoop Dogg, and then-girlfriend Jordin Sparks. The album climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard 200, giving Derulo his first top 5 long-player.

May 30, 2014: With a Snoop assist, Derulo nabs fifth top 5 single. “You know what to do with that big fat butt!” It wasn’t a question, that line from Derulo’s smash collabo with Snoop Dogg, but if anyone listening wasn’t quite sure how to work his or her posterior in a poolside dance-party situation, all they had to was watch the “Wiggle” video. The real kicker is Snoop’s kicker: “Damn, baby, you’ve got a bright future behind you.”

Jan. 22, 2015: Derulo joins the cast of So You Think You Can Dance. Reality TV is a dicey proposition, but when Derulo signed up for judging duty on So You Think You Can Dance, he had two good reasons. As he told the Los Angeles Times, he genuinely loves dancing, and he saw the Fox talent show as a chance to reveal the personality he perhaps hasn’t always put across in his music.

March 23, 2015: “Want to Want Me” becomes most-added track in history of top 40 radio. This was the prelude to summer ubiquity. In late March, 156 pop stations around the country added “Want to Want Me,” the lead single from Derulo’s fourth album, Everything Is 4, to their playlists. That destroyed Justin Timberlake’s previous mark of 126 and paved the way for every jeep and beach-blanket boombox in the land to blast the ’80-style pop tune three months later, when atmospheric conditions demanded such a jam.

June 2, 2015: Derulo releases perfectly titled Everything Is 4. Derulo’s fourth album debuted at No. 4, introducing a more adventurous Derulo suddenly down for collaborating with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Keith Urban (his guests on “Broke”) to Meghan Trainor, who turns up on “Painkiller.” The 11-track set has earned Derulo some of the best reviews of his career, and he told Radio.com it’s his “greatest work so far.”

Buy tickets for Billboard's Hot 100 Fest, featuring Jason Derulo and more, at ticketmaster.com.

Billboard Hot 100 Fest