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American pop singer Jason Derulo, set to headline Dubai’s inaugural EarthSoul fest this weekend, joins our Zoom call from a bumpy road in Morocco. Despite the patchy internet connection, Derulo shares that he’s collaborating with Bollywood star Nora Fatehi, who has Moroccan roots, and pans his phone to showcase the vast desert landscape outside.

As soon as he’s done with that shoot, he will head to his beloved Dubai to participate in the UAE’s first eco-conscious festival at the Coca-Cola Arena on June 15.

“It’s one of the best locations on planet Earth,” said Derulo, a frequent visitor to the city.

“I love Dubai and it’s one of the places that I most frequent. My love affair with Dubai is so strong that it’s pretty amazing that it’s reciprocated. I have an amazing fan base there and they are all pretty special,” he added.

While Dubai was initially a stop in his global Nu King World Tour, the ‘Want To Want Me’ singer was thrilled to realise he could be part of a worthy cause if he attached himself to the EarthSoul initiative. 

Jason Derulo will headline the EarthSoul Fest in Dubai this Saturday on June 15

“While I wanted to bring my world tour to Dubai anyway, I was thrilled with this opportunity to combine my big performance with a cause … So now, it’s not just going to be a fun night, but a fun night with a great cause. And eco-conservation is a much-needed cause to take up. We have to stand up for planet Earth and for this world. If you don't what will we be left with?,” said Derulo.

This American pop sensation, known for his chart-topping hits like “Wiggle” and “Trumpets,” has established himself as a global music icon with his dynamic stage performances and catchy melodies. He has sold over 250 million records and boasts at least 70 platinum hits.

His social media game is strong, with more than 60 million TikTok followers and over 35 million Instagram followers. But can popularity on social media boost a musician’s career? Is it half the battle won if you have millions following you virtually?

“No, it’s a bonus, but it’s definitely not half the battle. The songs have to connect. If you can’t make your songs connect then even having a billion followers is not going to matter. People have to ingest these songs within their life somehow. And just because you are on social media, it doesn’t mean that I am going to like your song. We have seen it a million times where a creator or an influencer works on some songs, but you never hear much of them,” said Derulo.

He’s also big into collaborations and has worked on songs with a galaxy of stars, including Michael Bublé and Pitbull. So, does he choose his collaborators or do they choose him?

Jason Derulo will be the headline act. Joining him the same night are talents including Pakistani sensation Shae Gill, of ‘Pasoori’ fame, Emirati Soul singer Arqam, and rising star Celine Dee Matahari. Lulia Vantur will also be a part of EarthSoul Music festival, organised by Orbit Events.

“The song chooses them. For me, it’s all about the song and creating the best product. When I am creating a song, a lot of times I get this feeling that this singer will be perfect for it and I just call them up and see if they are into the idea as well. We go from there,” said Derulo.

While he downplays his ascent to fame and his superstardom, this pop musician had a near-fatal accident in 2012 when he fractured his neck during a dance rehearsal for his show, putting him on the verge of paralysis. He was in a brace for more than seven months, but in three years, he bounced back with a bang.

So what motivates him to make music and move forward? It’s not for fame or money, he claims.

“When I was a child, I had a dream to make music and dance. I didn’t know anything about making money or about fame. All I knew was that I loved to sing and I loved to dance. Those were my driving forces back then and that child continues to propel me and motivate me to go through this journey.”

He has a long way ahead, believes the prolific singer who claims that the world hasn’t even heard five per cent of the songs that he has written.

“I make a lot of music … But when you reach a certain level of songwriting, it becomes a numbers game. The songs that you may like may not be the songs that connect with people for some reason or the other. It’s not really an explainable thing, but once you become a master, it becomes all about what do people really connect with …” And the upside?

“I am one of the few people in this world that likes to work all the time.”

While he will be working hard this Eid to light up our weekends with his hits, Derulo isn’t worried about not taking any downtime.

“Performing during Eid makes my Dubai stop even more special.”

Don’t Miss It!

Date: June 15, Saturday

Where: Coca-Cola Arena

Tickets: Dh199 onwards

Time: Gates open 7pm, show begins 7.45pm

Did you know?
Pakistani sensation Shae Gill, of ‘Pasoori’ fame, Emirati Soul singer Arqam, singer Lulia Vantur, and rising star Celine Dee Matahari will also perform at the EarthSoul Music festival, organised by Orbit Events.