Jason Derulo was just another artist on MySpace until he was discovered by power producer J. R. Rotem a few years ago and skyrocketed into pop fame. Rotem is behind hits by Rihanna, Beyoncé and Sean Kingston.
Since then, Derulo has been writing for such heavyweights as Lil Wayne and opening for Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas. On Thursday, he will open for hip-hop star B.o.B at the University of Kentucky's sold-out homecoming concert.
Derulo's music is a staple on Top 40 radio, with his single Whatcha Say hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
During a recent stop in Detroit, the Miami native, 21, talked by phone about his passions and his hopes.
Question: How would you describe your sound and style?
Answer: It's an integration of a lot of music. I've studied all kinds ... rock music, neo-soul, jazz, musical theater. When I tried to figure out who I was, I realized I didn't have to choose. I just go to the (recording) booth and let it rip.
Q: What about your Auto-Tuned work? (Auto-Tune is an electronic pitch-correction program.)
A: Only two of my four singles have Auto-Tune. I think it's a problem only if used as a crutch. If used tastefully, then it's really cool. It's the ear candy of the future.
Q: You sing a lot about romancing. What's your dream girl like?
A: My dream girl would have the biggest heart in the world. Well, my mom has the biggest heart, so this girl would have the second-biggest. ... I want her to be somebody giving, somebody that matches me in terms of philanthropy and caring for others.
Q: You're close to your mom?
A: I try to bring her out on the road at least once a month. She loves it.
Q: What's your goal?
A: I just want to continue on the same path with my work ethic. I don't want to be complacent with the amount of success. I have so many dreams and aspirations. ... I just want to continue on the same path of hunger.