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Born to Haitian parents in Miramar, Florida, Derulo started singing at an early age. He attended performing arts schools in Florida and took some early stabs at music composition, writing his first song at the age of eight. His writing skills began attracting attention, and by his teens, Derulo had begun composing tracks for artists like Lil Wayne, Pitbull, and Pleasure P. He also co-wrote "Bossy" for New Orleans-based rapper Birdman, and made a guest appearance on the song, highlighting his ability as a vocalist.
After signing to Warner Bros. subsidiary Beluga Heights, Derulo began making the transition from behind-the-scenes songwriter to mainstream performer. His first hit arrived during the summer of 2009, when he wrapped a sample of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" (a song made popular by its appearance in the second season finale of The O.C., as well as the Saturday Night Live sketch "Dear Sister") around a sleek modern soul beat. Titled "Whatcha Say," the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 and cracked the Top Ten in other territories, including Canada, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. A second single, "In My Head," peaked at number five in the U.S., and Derulo's full-length debut album arrived in early 2010. Future History followed in 2011, along with its hit single "Don't Wanna Go Home."
At the start of 2012, he embarked on the Future History Tour, but broke one of his vertebrae during rehearsals. As a result of his neck injury, he canceled the entire tour. Recuperating and reflecting upon his injury, he announced details of his new album and released the single "The Other Side" in April 2013. Its follow-up, "Talk Dirty" featuring 2 Chainz, shot to number three on the pop chart during the summer of 2013, and the album Tattoos was released in September in most territories. The U.S. received a retooled version of the album in 2014 titled Talk Dirty. It featured several new tracks, including "Wiggle" with Snoop Dogg, which reached the Top Ten in the summer of 2014.
With guest spots from Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and others, Everything Is 4 followed in 2015. The album featured "Want to Want Me" -- Derulo's sixth Top Ten pop hit -- and coincided with his new job as judge on the 12th season of So You Think You Can Dance. The following year, his biggest singles were compiled for Platinum Hits. Derulo returned in February 2017 with the song "Swalla," which featured guest appearances from Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. Reaching the Top 30 of the U.S. Billboard 200, the single was followed by "Tip Toe" with French Montana, "Goodbye" with David Guetta, Nicki Minaj, and Willy William, and "Colors," which was chosen as the FIFA 2018 World Cup Anthem. Additional international collaborations followed with a multitude of cross-genre acts like pop singer Ava Max ("Make Up"), country duo Florida Georgia Line ("Women"), K-pop acts LAY and NCT 127 ("Let's Shut Up & Dance"), reggaeton artist Farruko ("Mamacita"), and Chinese singer Tia Ray (on the official 2019 FIBA Basketball theme "Champion"). Derulo closed 2019 with the first installment of his proposed 2Sides project, Side 1, which featured appearances by Stefflon Don and Ty Dolla $ign. He also starred as Rum Tum Tugger in the film adaptation of Cats.
In 2020, Derulo parted ways with Warner Bros., which effectively canceled the 2Sides project. He carried on with the release of the U.K. chart-topping "Savage Love (Laxed - Siren Beat)" with New Zealand producer Jawsh 685. He also helped revive Puri and Jhorrmountain's club track "Coño" and teamed with Alok and Martin Jensen for "Don't Cry for Me." He paired with Nuka for "Love Not War (The Tampa Beat)," and again cracked the U.K. Top Ten with the song "Take You Dancing." In January 2021, Derulo released the song "Lifestyle" featuring Adam Levine. ~ Jason Thurston