African-Americans finally have a moment: Derulo on diversity

By Radhika Bhirani

New Delhi, Dec 6 (IANS): American singer-songwriter Jason Derulo, who is gearing up for his maiden visit to India later this month, is celebrating the fact that African-Americans are finally having a moment in the diversity-embracing world of showbiz in the West.

In an interesting turn of events, the 2018 Grammy nominations list is diverse like never before, with rappers Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar leading the pack with eight and seven nods respectively.

For the first time since 1999, no white man was nominated for the Album of the Year category -- a move lauded by many as one celebrating artistes of colour.

Derulo, who was born to Haitian parents, too is happy.

"I think it's a wonderful thing that African-Americans finally have a moment. I think all the awards for a long period of time overlooked African-Americans," Derulo told IANS in an email interview from Los Angeles.

One of the best-selling, radio-dominating pop and urban music artistes in the US, Derulo has his eyes set on regaling the crowd at TimeOut72, billed as Asia's largest multi-genre music festival, to be held in Goa from December 27-29.

Wiz Khalifa, Martin Garrix, Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, Lucky Ali and Papon are others scheduled for attendance at the gala.

"This is my first time to India. Music is the soul of your country and I feel privileged and humbled to be coming to India. I feel very connected to India," Derulo said.

He said he is looking forward to "bringing the biggest party" to the fest.

"I am going to be playing some of my biggest hits including 'Swalla', 'Talk dirty', 'Whatcha say', 'Wiggle' and 'Get ugly'. I have my best dancers and musicians coming along with me, so it's going to be a grand theatrical show with a lot of energy," he added.

How does he perceive the music scene in India, especially at a time when it is attracting a whole lot of talent from the US, UK and elsewhere?

"The musical scale is so varied, vast and powerful in India. I would like to believe that India is as good as any country in the world when it comes to music," added the 28-year-old, who has penned songs for names like Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Diddy and Sean Kingston.

Is there a possibility that you take an influence back from India for a song?

"You never know because India is so magical and mystical. I can't wait to get to India," Derulo said.

He is keen to explore the country, but he is hard pressed for time.

"I'd love to explore India but I guess it's going to be just Goa this time. So here's a message to all my Indian fans - come over to Goa and I promise you the best time of your lives."

As for what's next on the anvil for him, Derulo, who famously dated singer Jordin Sparks, said he is busy working on his album "777", in which he dives in "more emotionally and more vulnerably" as it delves into some of his breakups and failed relationships.

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