United Kingdom

The one lesson I've learnt from life: Singer Jason Derulo says it's important to take time out

Jason Derulo, 31, is an American R&B singer, songwriter and actor, based in Los Angeles. He rose to fame with debut Whatcha Say and has sold more than 190 million records worldwide, with five UK No 1 hits. 

When I was four years old, I saw Michael Jackson performing on TV — and, according to my mum, I turned to her and said: 'That's what I want to do!'

I went full throttle in my music. I'd be going to school, then staying up all night making music.

My mum was a huge inspiration for me. She had a full-time job as an immigration officer, while taking care of the family. Then, at 35, she re-trained as a lawyer.

Jason Derulo, 31, is an American R&B singer, songwriter and actor, based in Los Angeles. He tells how it is important to take time out for yourself 

This 100 per cent instilled in me an ethos of hard work. And it meant I was still able to believe in myself — even when doors were shut in my face. I'd say to myself, if I don't get a record deal by 14, I'll quit. Then 14 rolls around, then 16, so I gave myself a couple more years. Every time something negative happened, I'd use it to propel me.

It worked. I got my first big break at 18, when I was signed [to the Warner Music Group].

No matter how successful you get, though, I've learned you'll fall down and have to pick yourself up.

In 2012, I was rehearsing for a world tour when I broke my neck doing a tuck jump. They call it a 'hangman's break'; most people don't survive or end up paralysed. I was lucky. I had a neck brace for seven months.

For the first time in my life, I had to stop. I ended up writing an album [Talk Dirty, released in 2014] that became a Top 30 Platinum album, with some of my biggest hits on.

This taught me that there can be value in slowing down. And I've seen a similar thing in the pandemic.

In 2019, I was only at home for 60 days. So being at home for so long in lockdown has been a breath of fresh air. It's given me a chance to recalibrate, to re-focus my energies.

So, even though life will be different after all of this ends, sometimes it's just as powerful to take time out. Come back home. Recharge.

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