A Quick Catch-Up With: Taio Cruz
Brady Kinghorn recently took a trip to London’s Sanderson Hotel to have a quick chat with one of the UK’s most successful international acts in recent times, Taio Cruz, exclusively for The Wrap Up. To date, the singer has amassed worldwide sales of 16 million and rising. Back with his new album, 'TY.O', which is set to be released in January 2012, the pop star is ready to tackle the charts once again...
The Wrap Up: The latest single off your new album, ‘TY.O’, is ‘Troublemaker’. Do you feel more pressure when you put out a single due to the international success from ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Break Your Heart’?
Taio Cruz: I wouldn’t say that I feel more pressure with this single, what I always try to do is to make music that I enjoy, that is fun and excites me – that’s all you can do and then put it out there. If you let anyone pull you in any direction, you can lose yourself, so I try not to let the pressure get to me. I’ll go in the studio and make fun songs, play them to my team and then play them to my fans.
TWU: Both the singles just mentioned sold millions around the world. Did you expect such success?
Taio Cruz: You can never really expect that much success from your singles, because when you make songs in the studio, you and your team are generally jumping about in the studio dancing around to the song thinking this is going to be a smash, but you can never tell if it’s to be successful.
TWU: Could you tell us a bit about the new album?
Taio Cruz: The new album ranges from up-tempo club bangers, to ballads and mid-tempo songs. It’s a lot more dance-heavy, as that’s what I feel my fans are into, so I wanted to give them a little more of that. We’ve got tracks like ‘Little Bad Girl’, ‘Hangover’, ‘There She Goes’ and you’ve got to check out ‘Tattoo’ as well!
TWU: You’ve cracked the US market, but was this always something you had aimed for?
Taio Cruz: As a kid, I was definitely influenced by a lot of American artists, such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. Also growing up, it helped by listening to Boys II Men and Mariah Carey – so many US superstars influenced my direction.
TWU: Why do you think you’ve been received so well in the States?
Taio Cruz: I just think I have good songs and people like them, it’s that simple! (Laughs)
TWU: The US music scene has always seemed to be a few steps ahead of the UK. Do you think the gap is or has closed?
Taio Cruz: Yes. I mean, right now, the communication across the world is definitely getting closer via the Internet by using Twitter and Facebook. It’s quite funny that I can connect to so many people who I don’t have telephone numbers for, but I can speak to them on a daily basis through the Internet. Everything is getting a lot closer and it’s great for promoting music and for word of mouth to spread about artists who people might not know in other regions.
TWU: On the subject of the UK, it’s been a great year for many artists. Who has impressed you the most?
Taio Cruz: Jessie J definitely stands out. The fact that she hurt her leg and can still come out and perform and rock it vocally is incredible. Tinie Tempah has done amazing things and continues to do so. Adele is of course, she’s really waving the flag internationally. Mumford and Sons did pretty well in America too, so there are a lot of acts doing great things.
TWU: If you could pick a UK act to work with right now who would it be?
Taio Cruz: I’m going to say Coldplay because I love them! I think they have incredible melody and they write great songs. I feel they really pull different ideas from different genres.
TWU: You’re not only a singer, but you’re a producer and writer also. What would you say sets you apart from your peers?
Taio Cruz: I think I just have a really good sense of pop music.
TWU: It would be fair to say you’ve succeeded in pop, but could you see yourself trying your hand at another genre which fans might not expect?
Taio Cruz: I actually already have an entire Motown-inspired album of songs that I haven’t put out, so that would be fun. Possibly also an album of ballads, that would be great! I also really like the big band era, the whole Rat Pack feel would be great to do.
Taio Cruz’s new single, 'Troublemaker', is out on January 2 and his new album, 'TY.O', is out on January 9.
Stay up to date with Taio Cruz on Twitter – www.twitter.com/TaioCruz
Words: Brady Kinghorn (@BradyLondon)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)