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Taio Cruz

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Taio Cruz
Background information
Birth name Jacob Taio Cruz
Born 23 April 1983 (1983-04-23) (age 28)[1]
London, United Kingdom
Genres Pop Electropop, R&B, Dance-Pop, Hip-Hop Soul
Occupations Singer, record producer, rapper, entrepreneur
Years active 2002–present
Labels Rokstarr Entertainment Division, Island, Republic, Mercury (U.S.)
Associated acts Kesha, Kylie Minogue, Ludacris, David Guetta, Cheryl Cole, McFly, Travie McCoy, Flo Rida

Taio Cruz (born Jacob Taio Cruz, 23 April 1983)[2] is a British singer-songwriter, record producer, occasional rapper, and entrepreneur.[3] In 2008, he released his debut album Departure, which Cruz wrote, arranged and produced himself. It achieved initial success in the UK and earned him a MOBO Award nomination. In June 2010, Cruz released his follow-up album Rokstarr, which includes the number one singles “Break Your Heart” and “Dynamite“. Cruz has collaborated with Kesha and Fabolous on the single “Dirty Picture“, as well as Kylie Minogue and Travie McCoy on his single “Higher“. Additionally, Cruz penned and recorded the song “Telling the World” as the lead single from the soundtrack to the 2011 animated film Rio.



[edit] Early life

Cruz was born in London, to a Nigerian father and a Brazilian mother.[3] He attended Bilton Grange, a private prep school in Rugby, Warwickshire.[4]

[edit] Music career

[edit] Career beginnings

Cruz began writing songs when he was 12. His songwriting career began at age 19 as part of Tricky Stewart‘s writing collective, RedZone Entertainment.[5] Cruz achieved notability in 2005 when he was awarded a BRIT Award for co-writing Will Young‘s 2004 single, “Your Game“.[6]

Cruz is the founder and chief executive of Rokstarr Music London, which in 2006 released his debut single “I Just Wanna Know“. The single attracted significant attention from radio, and also from music industry insiders, who were already well aware of the artist’s potential; manager Jamie Binns, who began representing Cruz at this time, later told HitQuarters: “He was a guy that everyone had earmarked to do damage in the future.”[7] Although the single received a reasonable amount of radio airplay, it did not perform as well as expected in either territory.[7] However, rather than lose faith in Cruz, the labels were eager to negotiate an album deal, as by this time they had listened to his other songs and were ever more convinced by his capability.[7]

Cruz’s admirers included Island Records‘s Darcus Beese and Universal Republic‘s Monte Lipman, whom, according to Binns: “Both believed ‘I Just Wanna Know’ fitted the format on both sides of the Atlantic.”[7] In 2006, Cruz signed a split single deal with Universal Music Group companies, Republic Records and the UK branch of Island Records.

[edit] Departure (2006–2008)

Taio Cruz released his second single “Moving On” in September 2007 which made the top 30 in the UK. In March 2008 his next single, “Come On Girl,” featuring Luciana, peaked at No. 5 on the UK charts. The related album Departure appeared on 17 March and peaked at No. 17.[8][9] This was followed by the single “I Can Be,” which reached No. 18 in May. On 18 August, “She’s Like a Star” was released, which was a remix of the previous single and featured American rapper Busta Rhymes and girl-group Sugababes. The remix later appeared on the Sugababes studio album Catfights & Spotlights, which peaked at No. 20. It was later revealed that Cruz narrowly missed out on the chance to record the song “Umbrella” which was eventually recorded by Rihanna and ended up topping charts around the world.[5]

[edit] Rokstarr and International breakthrough (2009-2011)

Cruz was featured on Tinchy Stryder‘s breakout single “Take Me Back” which peaked at No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart. According to Cruz’s official Myspace blog, as of 1 January 2009, Rokstarr Music London officially changed its name to Rokstarr Entertainment Division and abbreviated to R.E.D Inc.[citation needed]

During 2009, he worked on his follow-up album entitled Rokstarr.[10] It was released on 12 October through R.E.D Inc/Island Records and is entirely written and produced by Cruz, with co-writes and co-productions predominantly with UK producer Fraser T. Smith. The album’s lead single “Break Your Heart” was released on 14 September and reached number one in the UK, where it stayed for three weeks.[8] The success of the song attracted the attention of David Massey and Daniel Werner from Mercury/Island Def Jam who were excited and aggressive about releasing “Break Your Heart” in the US on their label.[7] According to Cruz’s manager Jamie Binns, the relationship with Monte Lipman at Universal Republic had “gone a bit quiet” by this point and as Taio wanted to be with the label that was most enthusiastic about his music, a move from Universal Republic to Mercury/Island Def Jam was engineered.[7]

The single reached the top spot in the US for one week on the Billboard charts.[11] In an interview for The Guardian it was stated that “Cruz was clever to have hooked up with a US rapper Ludacris on his breakthrough hit”.[12] In order to introduce Cruz into the US market, David Massey had suggested that the single feature an American rapper with chart credibility.[7] The album spawned two other UK singles, “No Other One“, and the top-ten hit “Dirty Picture” featuring American electropop singer Kesha. The album’s fourth single (second in the US) titled “Dynamite” debuted at 26 [11] and despite peaking at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, “Dynamite” peaked at number 1 on US top 40 earning Cruz his second US number 1 record.

[edit] The Rokstarr Collection

Rokstarr was followed by the compilation album The Rokstarr Collection which includes songs both from Departure and the international version of Rokstarr.[13] Cruz later released four versions of his single “Higher” – one featuring Kylie Minogue, one featuring Travie McCoy, one featuring both, and one with just himself.

Cruz has also been featured on the soundtrack of American reality TV series Jersey Shore.[14]

[edit] TY.O (2011)

Taio’s third album is expected for release on 2 January 2012. The album was preceded by the lead single, “Hangover” featuring rapper Flo Rida, which was released on 4 October 2011, and a second single, entitled “Troublemaker“, is expected for release on 26 December 2011. Troublemaker receieved an early release in France, made available from 15 August 2011. The title of the album stems from Taio’s frustration with the incorrect pronunciation of his name. The title is the phonetic pronunciation of the two syllables “TY” and “O” creating TY.O or Taio.

[edit] Writing and production

Cruz has written songs on albums by Cheryl Cole, JLS, The Saturdays, The Wanted and David Guetta. Cruz wrote and featured on Tinchy Stryder‘s hit single “Take Me Back“. Pop rock band McFly recorded “Shine a Light” which not only features, but was also penned and produced by Cruz for their fifth studio album.[15] 2011 will see him writing for Justin Bieber‘s next album.[16] Jennifer Lopez‘s 2011 single “I’m Into You“, featuring Lil Wayne, is also penned by Cruz. He also contributed significantly to David Guetta‘s fifth album Nothing but the Beat, penning two of his hit singles “Without You“, featuring Usher and “Little Bad Girl“, featuring Cruz himself and Ludacris.

[edit] Other ventures

[edit] Rokstarr brand

On 1 September 2009, Cruz launched the brand Rokstarr; the fashion and accessories brand has a focus on sunglasses. Musicians & Artists such as Kanye West, Shontelle, Keri Hilson, Steves Peeps and Kelly Rowland have been seen wearing them. Speaking in October to R&B writer Pete Lewis, Cruz stated: “There’s a load of US celebrities that are all rocking the sunglasses already – Kid Cudi, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West… Then in the UK we have The Saturdays, JLS, Daniel Merriweather – who’ve all been twittering and writing on their blogs how much they love them. So yeah, it’s definitely my new album ‘Rokstarr’ and the fashion brand that are my two main focuses at the moment.”[17]

Meanwhile, speaking again to Lewis in April 2010, Cruz revealed: “We’re currently looking to expand the brand and possibly go into things like watches. I’ve also got a new subsidiary of Rokstarr called ‘Rok By Rokstarr’. And we’ve just started doing things like jeans and T-shirts, and stuff that more of the fans of Taio Cruz can buy. Because with Rokstarr in itself being so expensive, a lot of the kids out there who want to buy Rokstarr things can’t. So we’re bringing in stuff that’s a little bit more High Street and more affordable.”[18]

[edit] Discography

Main article: Taio Cruz discography

[edit] Awards and nominations

This biographical section of an article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (April 2011)
Year Award Category Work Result
2004 BRIT Awards Best British Song Your Game Won
2008 MOBO Awards Best UK Male Nominated
2010 American Music Awards Breakthrough Artist Nominated
2010 BRIT Awards Best British Song Break Your Heart Nominated
2010 iTunes Best Album & Song Best Song Dynamite Nominated
2010 Ascap Vanguard Award Recognition of Album Departure Won
2011 BRIT Awards Best British Song Dynamite Nominated
2011 Virgin Media Awards[19] Best Male Nominated
2011 Best Collaboration Dirty Picture Nominated
2011 Best Video Nominated
2011 Billboard Awards Top New Artist Nominated
2011 Top Hot 100 Song Dynamite Won
2011 Top Digital Song Won
2011 Top Radio Song Nominated
2011 Top Streaming Song Nominated
2011 Top Pop Song Won
2011 2011 MuchMusic Video Awards Most Watched Video Dynamite Won

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