Both he and Harris tried to get ahead of the curve by prioritizing his global appeal. The first meeting that Harris scheduled after Derulo signed his record deal in 2008 was with Warner’s international team, to learn how to better brand his client for non-American markets.
“When I went over to Europe [for basketball], it opened my eyes to how big the world was,” Harris remembers. “So, when we signed the [Warner] deal, I understood simple mathematics: there are six billion people in the world and 400 million people in America. From a pure numerical perspective, you have a chance to have a lot more success globally because of the different markets you can touch.”
Since embarking on his first tour — which was dubbed “AOL AIM Presents: Jason Derülo,” if you need a reminder of how long ago 2010 was — Derulo has catered to his international fans with a steady diet of facetime, jam-packing his world tours with regular stints in Europe and Australia, and more recently in Africa and Asia, too. The strategy hadn’t changed much prior to 2020, either; per Derulo, he spent a total of 60 days at home in Los Angeles in 2019.
“There was one month that I counted and Jason took 46 plane rides,” Harris says. “And he does everything that he can do [promotionally] — be it TV, radio or whatever. Not everybody wants to go all over the world and meet with people and the media. But Jason embraced all of that. He embraced the difference in cultures.”
That multicultural embrace has led to him soundtracking some of the world’s largest sporting events, such as Coca-Cola’s 2018 FIFA World Cup anthem, “Colors,” or the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup theme song, “Champion.” Along the way, he’s collaborated with popular acts in global markets too, such as features on British pop hitmakers Little Mix’s “Secret Love Song” in 2016 and 24-year-old Mexican singer-songwriter Sofia Reyes’ “1, 2, 3” in 2018, or his collaborative Michael Jackson tribute track from last year, “Let’s Shut Up and Dance,” with K-pop group NCT 127 and LAY (formerly of K-pop group EXO).
The strategy has been particularly beneficial for Derulo during lulls in radio airplay and on the charts in the United States. Following the success of his self-titled debut album, his 2011 follow-up LP, Future History fell short stateside, peaking at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 and failing to nab a top 10 hit on the Hot 100. Conversely, lead single “Don’t Wanna Go Home” reached no. 1 in the U.K., with follow-up “It Girl” also cracking the top five there, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. And though Derulo hadn’t cracked the Hot 100’s top 20 in the five years prior to “Savage Love” peaking at No. 7 (so far) this summer, he remained a notable chart presence in Ireland, Germany and Sweden, among other countries.
“A lot of times artists get caught up in just [focusing on] America,” he says. “You’re doing yourself a disservice, because the world has so much to offer. There are so many cultures and people that would love to connect to you in the same way that your American fans do.”