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Taio Cruz - Fast Car



Katalognummer: 3713642
VÖ-Datum: 21.09.2012
Konfiguration: eSingle
Label: Universal Music

 

TAIO CRUZ – ROKSTARR

It’s hard not to like Taio Cruz. At 27 he has the world at his feet and you could forgive him for having an ego the size of a Californian condo but there is not a hint of that to be found. On the eve of the release of Rokstarr (Taio’s second album) we meet in a west London recording studio, trademark sunglasses in place, he is not only affable, amiable and polite he is also on time! Hardly the behaviour you expect from the man who is currently spearheading a resurgence of interest in British pop music in the USA. His latest single, the super catchy ‘Break Your Heart’, has sold an unbelievable 2 million downloads worldwide already and earned him an American No.1, an achievement not seen for over a decade. His new track, ‘Dirty Picture’ featuring Ke$ha (with probably the best video of the year), is creating global waves and gives Taio another top 10 hit in the U.K.

Not exactly what you might call an overnight success, Taio has been working hard for over a decade – mainly producing and writing for other artists and now with release of Rokstarr it’s time for Taio the artist to step up.

His first taste of mainstream success came with the song ‘Your Game’, written for Will Young, it earned Taio a Brit award, a pressure he was all too aware of at the time: “I thought, how can I top that?” But top that he did, and in his own industrious style he worked harder than ever; “There’s no such thing as a day off”, he proclaims, “there is always something to do. I find it hard to sleep sometimes and I’m driven because I believe you can achieve what ever you want to.” Taio Cruz definitely takes care of business and his ambition has also seen him add his own record company and clothing line to his portfolio.

Taio’s love of music was always present (“my Mum told me I used to sing Sexual Healing when I was little, which I probably shouldn’t say!”) but his journey into turning his dreams into reality started in his teens, making tunes with, and for, friends and news of this talented kid soon started spreading in the music industry. Since then his songwriting, production and now performance talents have seen him on a fast track to the big league. His list of musical productions reads like a wish list; The Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears, Leona Lewis and, more recently, Cheryl Cole have all been touched by his alchemy and members of the American music royalty such as Ludacris, Dallas Austin and Tricky (Rhianna’s Umbrella producer) are all on his speed dial.

His first solo album ‘Departure’ saw him take centre stage for the first time with a keenly observed mix of a la mode styles underpinned with a strong pop sensibility, something Taio is very proud of: “People like to put things in little boxes but pop music just takes from everything and makes it popular. I’ve never been r’n’b to the core like Jodeci, I rap but I’m not Jay Z and I make dance music but I’m not David Guetta. I call it pop ‘cos that’s what it is.”

‘Rokstarr’ (named after his own record label, clothing line and production company) is an energetic fusion of many styles and moods bringing ballads, dancefloor anthems and heavy r’n’b grooves together with undeniable skill. Featuring the enormous hits Break Your Heart and Dirty Picture (featuring Ke$sha), Taio’s flare and talent shine through, though it is unashamedly romantic lyrics that are most telling. Ballads such as ‘Feel Again’ show great emotional intelligence and not as Mr Cruz puts it “just Taio being soppy and writing another love song”. Though his music may be pop there’s obviously something a bit deeper going on. ‘Forever Love’ lyrically is seen through the eyes of an old couple worrying they’ve fallen out of love, whilst I’ll Never Love Again deals with an age old problem: “It’s about thinking the grass is greener but actually it isn’t!”. Lighter moments are ever present on Rokstarr in the shape of the live favourite Falling In Love (“I wanted to write a song for people in the sunshine with their hands in the air”) and the totally optimistic 11th Hour, a track that will no doubt be on heavy rotation in Ibiza this summer.

Taio splits much of his time between the U.K. and the U.S.A and he obviously loves the vibe and positivity stateside. “I think I have an American mentality in that I always think ‘let’s make it as big as I can’ and then I have to reel it in afterwards! In America people collaborate more and it’s starting to get like that over here.”

But as one of the most successful British artists in a decade, Taio admits with the release of Rokstarr he has a lot of weight on his shoulders but he definitely won’t be letting it go to his head; “I’m flying the flag wherever I go because of my accent but I generally try to not let stress get to me. It’s amazing to think that I have all this success and I’ve broken records and I’m really thankful for all the success around the world but I’m just trying to be me and do what I do.”

Ever enthusiastic and energetic Mr Cruz talks about his ambitious plans to spread the word of ‘Rokstarr’. “There will be live shows and tours. I think we’ll have a choir of 200 people!” he jokes optimistically with a cheeky glint in his eye.

Thrust into the spotlight as a hugely popular performer Taio is equally happy behind the mixing desk, no matter what musical hat he happens to be wearing; “As a producer you can be totally free. You can jump between styles. Tomorrow I could be producing Korn or Slipknott and nobody would say anything. I would love to work with Kings of Leon Coldplay, or Beyonce and Jay Z. There’s a million people I would love to work…just everyone who’s making really good music because I’m a fan”.

Surrounded by a busy studio full of record company managers, a film crew, make up girl and yours truly Taio is completely unphased at being at the centre of it all,. Despite having performed four acoustic versions of tracks from Rokstarr he sits patiently laughing with us and even entertains us all on the conveniently placed grand piano. It’s hard to believe that Taio, along with Jay Sean, is at the forefront of this new British invasion of the American pop charts. The music industry is always announcing a new British artist ‘breaking America’ and for the most part they have one hit and they disappear back to London never to be seen again but with Mr Cruz I can’t help feeling this will never be the case. He is big news stateside; already a respected performer, producer, writer and businessman he has been accepted by the American music royalty with open arms and, for once, this is no hype. When he talks you can see that everything about him has star written in BIG letters but no sign yet of any diva-ish attitude. He arrives today at the studio with no entourage and without a long list of impossible demands, only drinking water throughout our interview. Taio is not a ‘caviar, white puppies and repaint the studio in pink’ sort of chap.

The key to Taio Cruz’s success is that first and foremost he is a fan - a man obsessed with music of all styles, all genres and all era’s and you get the sense when you meet him that this is just an early chapter in what will be an epic book. His combination of talent, drive, charm and a refreshing self effacing attitude has seen him conquer the world at just 27 and he’s only just getting warmed up. Taio Cruz is not just hot at the moment, he’s on fire and the world better be ready to melt.

TRACK BY TRACK

Break Your Heart
A massive global hit and originally written for Cheryl Cole, this is the track that has propelled Taio Cruz into the big league. With it’s infectious melodies and unforgettable chorus hook everyone who has heard it is hooked straight away. “It was written after I had broken up with my ex-girlfriend and I felt very single, and as you do I was going out and meeting new girls. When you’ve just split up with someone you don’t want to go straight into a relationship but a lot of the girls I would meet would do. It was about saying don’t go out with me because I might ‘Break Your Heart’”.

Dirty Picture
With it’s amazing video this duet with Ke$ha is already repeating the success of Break Your Heart. “This one’s quite self explanatory! It’s just about sending sexy photo’s to someone when you’re in a loving relationship. Sometimes when you’re far away from someone you just want to see a picture of them…something cute, sexy and fun” explains Taio shyly.

No Other One
Originally produced for Chris Brown this track has it’s feet firmly on the dancefloor and is described by Taio as “a nice reassuring love song…which I think we all need sometimes”.

Forever Love
Highlighting Taio’s romantic side, lyrically Forever Love is as sweet as they come: “This is about an old couple being worried that they’d been together a long time and maybe one of them thinking the other one isn’t into it anymore but they say to each other “no, you’re my Forever Love””.

Take Me Back
This track has a heavy groove and showcases Taio’s keyboard skills to great effect. “Fraser (T. Smith, long time collaborator) had a beat and Tinchy Stryder had the lyrics and he was talking about how he’d cheated on his girl and he was sorry and I thought it would be cute to put ‘Take Me Back’ into the chorus”.

I’ll Never Love Again
Featured on Taio’s debut album Departure, this epic song is a wonderful ballad with sweeping strings and a beautiful sentiment. “This is one of those songs about thinking the grass is greener but actually it isn’t and I was a bit stupid there! It’s not from personal experience though!.”

Only You
“I wanted to have a combination of sounds from a production point of view so this has electro sounds but a rock feel but really it’s just Taio being soppy and writing another love song!”.

Falling In Love
Already a live favourite the piano heavy Falling in Love has a wonderful optimistic feel. “I played a lot of festivals last year and I wanted to write a song for those people standing in the sunshine wearing straw hats with their hands in the air!”

Keep Going
Using driving as a metaphor Taio describes this track as one of determination. “It’s about never giving up, never leaving the road no matter how long you’ve been on it for. Just ‘keep going’ until you reach your destination”.

Feel Again
Another track with a ballad-esque vibe to it Feel Again is a personal favourite of Taio’s: “I love all those Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey songs that are just heart wrenching. Normally the sad songs are the best songs. It’s that feeling when you’ve lost somebody and your heart is on the floor but you know eventually you will feel again”.

The 11th Hour
Another chance for Taio to display his keyboard dexterity 11th Hour has a groove that wouldn’t be out of place on the terrace of Pacha in Ibiza this summer. “I wanted to start it off very r ‘n’ b sounding and then surprise you. I wanted to make this weird dance/trance r ‘n’b fusion!”.

 

 
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