Jason Derulo recently broke up with longtime girlfriend Jordin Sparks, but that hasn’t stopped his hot streak on the charts: “Trumpets” just broke the top 20 on the Hot 100, the fourth single from Derulo’s Talk Dirty album to accomplish this feat. Billboard caught up with the singer to talk about his most recent hit and how his break-up is affecting his songwriting.
How did “Trumpets” come about?
It’s crazy, dude. I did that song, like, two years, a year and a half ago. It’s a little different. I got the the beat for “Trumpets” from another brand-new producer (Jon Bellion) and I was like, “Omigod, I fuckin’ love this!” And it’s not like he had a big, extravagant studio or anything, either. I was like, “Yo, let’s work on this today. Let’s write this, and let me know what time and where we should go.” And he was like, “I don’t have a studio-studio. I kinda just work out of my room.” And I was like, “Cool. Let’s go. Gimme the address.” So when I got to his house and literally in his room there’s a bed, there’s a desk and then there’s a microphone and you literally write the song in this humble environment, man. It’s so cool. Even he says, “I have the utmost respect for Jason, ’cause he believed in me when nobody else did. He literally came to my room. He’s a multi-platinum artist and he’s coming to my room.” But, y’know, I don’t care about that kind of stuff, man. Music is music, and that’s all I wanted to do. I thought the experience was actually really dope. It’s a change of pace. I’m not really a crazy, superficial kind of dude.
Do you think the U.S. is finally catching up to your success in Europe?
America just took a total turn. It’s definitely catching up. It was kind of weird. It’s not like I didn’t have big songs; like, out of the gate, my first two singles were No. 1 songs. It was just the connecting factor, connecting the songs to the actual artist. That wasn’t happening for some reason, whereas now it’s happening. It’s like this cultural swirl is starting to take place.
You released Tattoos internationally in 2013 and then rereleased it as Talk Dirty in the States. What was the motivation for that?
I released the album at different times because I wanted to release the album everywhere in the world off the song “Talk Dirty.” I felt that was the premier song on the album, the one that rounded the album off the most. So everywhere in the world, they got the album off the song “Talk Dirty” — that’s why it was so staggered. It was really confusing. It was a cool experiment to try to figure out a new way of marketing, new way of delivering the music to people. That was a little experiment, which was cool. It worked out really well, but I don’t know if I’d do that again ’cause I really think everybody should be as aligned as possible, so I’m gonna try to be as aligned as possible next time.
After your tour, are you planning on taking a break?
I don’t really need one. Right now I’m so next-level motivated I don’t see a vacation.
How’s it been since your breakup with Jordin Sparks?
I’m good, man. I’ve just kinda been focused on what’s happening in my career and in my family. Through that, everything has been all right. I’ve just been focused. I have this new motivation. I think sometimes in life things are placed in our lives as a lesson, so you’ve got to take every negative experience and turn that thing into a positive.
Do you plan on using the breakup as inspiration for songs?
Oh, 100 percent. I’m somebody who cannot keep those two things separate. Like, I have to put it on paper, put it on wax, put it in my songs. I cannot separate the two. My creativity, my personality won’t allow me to separate the two. If that’s what’s going on in my life, that’s in the songs I make as well. It’s definitely a piece of that.
An edited version of this article first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of Billboard.