Jason Derulo talks about Nu King Tour, AI, Haiti, That Meme and Fashion

In Europe, Jason Derulo had a rare day off on Friday – sort of – for his ‘Nu King’ world tour.

Seated in an airy hotel room in Vienna, the industrious musician is said to be spending the supposed free time filming on location for a documentary concert series in development. Dressed in a black baseball hat, silver chains, a black concert T-shirt and jeans, Derulo looked relaxed, if a little tired. One month into his tour, being on the road is a test of endurance.

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“It’s really tough. It’s not very human to travel like that. My show is very powerful, energetic and taxing on the body. But it’s really worth it because I get to see the fans up close and personal,” said the multiplatinum artist.

Jason DeruloJason Derulo

Jason Derulo

People may feel like they already know him, given his collaborations with Michael Buble, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Meghan Trainor, YoungBoy and other talent. In addition to Derulo’s 58.8 million followers on TikTok, millions have laughed at a viral meme of what appears to be him falling down the Met Gala red carpet steps, which keeps resurfacing as it has in recent years. The latest version came after this month’s Oscars, with “Anatomy of a Fall” actress Sandra Hüller pushing him. That never happened, and Derulo never fell down a flight of stairs. But we’ll come back to that later.

What’s happening is a residency at The Voltaire at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas starting in mid-May. To be honest, “the Vegas residency is a lot easier than what I’m doing now anyway [laughs]. This involves traveling. Vegas is a 30 minute flight – that’s nothing. I will definitely commute.”

Jason DeruloJason Derulo

The cover image of Jason Derulo’s album ‘Nu King’, which contains 27 songs.

As for what he packed for the “Nu King” tour, Derulo said, looking away, “As I look at the seven suitcases next to me, we just take everything with us. You have to take everything with you, because you don’t want to leave anything behind. I also get things on the go.”

At each stop there is a rider ready with small trees, plants, rugs and lots of raw fruit and vegetables, thanks to a team of ten people who cook for everyone. “I try to eat living food and not just the meat,” he said.

His fashion choices are also selective, as in ‘one-in-ones’. I don’t really wear things that you would recognize. I can’t really have anything that someone could say, ‘Oh, I went to this store and bought that.’ I have several designers who make things for me. Philipp Plein has made specific things for me. I also wear a lot of boutique stuff given to me by stylists in London, Paris and Los Angeles.

What Derulo misses most about Los Angeles is by far his toddler son Jason King, as well as recording. Known for his solid work ethic, Derulo says his drive comes from having really big dreams and really high expectations. “There is never a stopping point because there is never a finish line. The finish line keeps moving. It’s like running a race and thinking, ‘I’m almost there. Why don’t I come closer?’”

The book he released last year – ‘Sing Your Name Out Loud: 15 Rules to Live Your Dream’ – describes the endless cycle that creatives find themselves in. Just as a gym-goer strives for their dream body, they should also maintain it. he said. “Even when I had the best body I’ve ever had, I still found things that made me think, ‘Damn, I need to work on this and this.’ It’s definitely human nature a bit, and I’m a little more extreme than the average person.”

Jason DeruloJason Derulo

Jason Derulo

His nonprofit, Just for You Foundation, does work in Haiti, where Derulo has two schools. Speaking about the current unrest there, the musician, whose parents are Haitian, said: “What’s going on now is really tough, so we’ll see when I can get there. [again]. To be honest, I’m not sure to what extent the schools can still function.”

On a much lighter matter is the meme of Derulo falling. Because he can’t think of any other meme that has lasted so long, he finds the whole thing “hilarious.” I’ve never fallen in my life. I’m not a flop, I’m too smooth.”

Jason DeruloJason Derulo

Jason Derulo

Asked about the recent increased public discussion about Photoshopping and deep fakes, he said: “The meme is the meme. I’m not going to put too much weight on that. It is a joke. “I’m definitely someone who can take a joke,” he said.

“As far as Photoshop in general, I think Photoshop can be very dangerous. But AI is even more dangerous because it can take someone’s likeness, recreate them and edit their voice. So many things can happen with that technology. That’s the real concern. I saw a video where a young girl asked her parents to send some money to these boys because she said she had been kidnapped. It wasn’t a video of her at all.”

When asked why he is so popular on TikTok, Derulo said he has become “very free” with what he posts. While trying to explore social media before the pandemic, Derulo promised himself he would post at least six times a day. That quota meant posting anything and everything, but that practice also led to posting videos of things happening in his life and the funny things that happen all the time. I’ll just recreate it for people to see. We all love to laugh.”

The performer often calls on the help of his audience. At a recent concert, he created a setup by telling the audience that he would pretend to have to excuse himself to use the bathroom while he sang “Spicy Margarita,” and asked them to boo. After he made a TikTok video, celebrity-focused site TMZ took the clip and headlined it with a “boo” factor, causing his fans to come to his defense. “But that’s the world I live in. The social media part was really fun to just be creative in my normal day to day life.”

Derulo turned more serious, saying that ‘Nu King’ is by far his ‘most emotional, vulnerable, mature album. I attribute that to the fact that I grew up as a man. I’ve been through a lot in my life. But I also speak differently and feel differently now. Every part of my life has grown and music is no different.”

Unsure if the “U+I” people would connect with it as he had during the writing process, Derulo said, “It’s the greatest feeling in the world to have the audience sing that with me.” When you write these songs, it’s usually a selfish form of therapy. To have them sing that with me and participate [makes you think] ‘Damn. I’m not the only person who thinks this way.’ We all go through similar things.”

Now the man he always dreamed of as a ten-year-old, Derulo said: “I’m now stepping into that vision in 2024. That’s a big part of the title of the album. Also, my son’s name is Jason King, so he’s a ‘Nu King’ too.”

Derulo’s message to the world is: “Life is short. I would use my time and energy for two things: serving others and making yourself happy. Whatever it is that makes you happy, you should do that. Money will follow. The necessary things will follow, but do the things you enjoy doing. Life really does pass you by in the blink of an eye.

“My greatest gift is that I really live in the present and take advantage of life. I’m squeezing every ounce of this thing, and I’d love it if everyone did the same.

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