1 week on Mainstream Top 40;
3 weeks on Rhythmic;
4 weeks on R&B Digital Songs
The year 2014, Jason Derulo’s annus mirabilis, started in a sweaty nightclub in Tel Aviv, Israel, in January 2013. There, embedded in a 2007 song called “Hermetico” by Israeli band Balkan Beat Box, was a saxophone riff in an ancient Turkish scale called “hijaz” that caught the ear of A&R man Miles Beard from APG. How those eight bars became 25-year-old Derulo’s biggest hit yet, “Talk Dirty” (which topped the Mainstream Top 40, Rhythmic and R&B Digital Songs charts), is a ping-pong tale of musical globalization, personal transformation and luck.
Ricky Reed, producer: Miles heard the song in January and played it for me on his phone in Los Angeles. As soon as the saxophone riff came in, I knew it was a hit waiting to happen.
Jason Derulo: When I first heard the track, I loved it because it sounded exotic and Eastern. The chorus came to me immediately. I channeled my experience touring the world. You don’t need to speak the language to communicate — body language is universal.
Frank Harris, Manager: We knew it would be huge, but it wasn’t the first single we released. After Jason broke his neck in 2012 [while practicing tour stunts], he had taken some time off to heal. We wanted to reintroduce him first.
Peter Gray, executive vp/head of promotion, Warner Bros.: I was one of the people most concerned about the song. I wasn’t nervous about it becoming a hit, but I was nervous because it was such a big, ambitious artistic step.
Derulo: This was a shift — Jason Derulo like you’ve never heard before. That’s why 2 Chainz is so important. My mother doesn’t like his verse: “Does he have to say ‘penis’?” But I told him to be as dirty as possible. His appearance opens up new doors. It’s easier for a hip-hop artist to move into pop than a pop artist to move into hip-hop. After “Dirty,” I recorded “Wiggle” with Snoop Dogg, and that spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on R&B Digital Songs.