By Jessica Ganga
At the College Union Board’s Spring Concert on Tuesday, April 5, the last thing on anyone’s mind was going home. Multi-talented R&B singer Jason Derulo kept the College’s students’ feet moving and voices singing all night in the Recreation Center. The concert, featuring Boston-based rapper Sammy Adams, was one that students will never forget.
Flooded with bright, white light, Derulo took to the stage to the sound of the screaming audience, who had their phones at the ready for the singer’s anticipated performance. Derulo started his set with his hit song “Trumpets,” from his 2013 album “Talk Dirty.” The melodic beat had the crowd swaying and singing along.
Derulo performed a balanced mix of old and recent songs for the College and had students belting out lyrics to hits like his first single, “Whatcha Say,” which debuted at No. 1 in August 2009 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart off his self-titled album “Jason Derulo.” The single ladies in the crowd made sure their voices were heard as Derulo performed “Ridin’ Solo” off the same album.
A lucky girl had the chance to sit on stage and be serenaded by the debonair Derulo as he sang the 2011 crowd-favorite “It Girl.”
“Is my ‘It Girl’ in New Jersey tonight?” Derulo asked before the song, as he was greeted with screams from females left and right.
Sadly, many hearts were crushed, as only one girl got to stare into his sparkling eyes.
“Much more than a Grammy Award / That’s how much you mean to me / You could be my it girl,” Derulo sang to the lucky student.
Not only were Derulo’s vocals on display during songs like “It Girl” and “In My Head,” during which he showed off his undeniable range, but he also effortlessly glided and took control of the entire stage with his slick dance abilities. Alongside his “Derulo Dancers,” the suave singer kept everyone’s eyes on center stage as he executed his mesmerizing moves.
Derulo also treated the crowd to a performance of his brand new single, “If It Ain’t Love,” that he released earlier this month.
He performed the song for the first time on the iHeartRadio Music Awards stage in Inglewood, Calif., which he also hosted, just two days before his show at the College. The song was one that Derulo did not originally have on his setlist, so everyone in attendance got to share in the special moment of watching him perform the smooth new single.
Derulo’s fourth studio album “Everything Is 4” has seen success for the veteran performer. “Everything is 4,” which was released in June 2015, has had four singles make the Billboard Hot 100 chart. For the new record, Derulo teamed up with Grammy Award-winning music producer Ian Kirkpatrick, who helped produce and write songs such as “Cheyenne” and “Want to Want Me.”
“He’s an amazing producer,” Derulo said of Kirkpatrick in an interview with The Signal. “I’m someone who is always searching for new talent. I’m constantly looking for people with a new sound that has something fresh and new that will stand out and he is no different. He had something that was special, so I wanted to work with him.”
Derulo capped off the night with the Michael Jackson-esque song “Want to Want Me,” which is the most recent hit single off his new album. The crowd, which was already pumped by Derulo’s non-stop performance, bursted with even more energy — everyone couldn’t help but sing along.
Before Derulo’s performance, Adams got the crowd’s energy right where it needed to be, springing himself into the audience at the beginning of his set. Like Derulo, the lively rapper played a variety of his songs, dipping into albums such as his 2010 EP, “Boston’s Boy.”
Bathed in colored, flashing lights, Adams commanded the stage and got the crowd going with songs like “Fall Back” off his 2012 pre-album mixtape “OK COOL.” The song is representative of the diversity found in Adams’s music, which could be described as a mix between rap and electronic dance music.
“It’s electronic, but at the same time, it’s just a big mix of my favorite types of music,” Adams said in an interview with The Signal. “Sometimes I’ll throw in a weird country, classical rock hook on a hood-trap song. That’s fun to me.”
Adams made sure it wasn’t just him having the time of his life on stage, but that everyone at the concert was having a night to remember. The crowd sang along to well-known songs, such as “Driving Me Crazy,” “Comin’ Up” and “Only One.”
Adams continued his energetic set with new tracks off his recently released March 2016 album, “The Long Way.” “Overboard” had the crowd jumping up and down to its dance-floor beat. The song “Helluva” was the perfect mix of club-anthem weaved with Adams’s rap verses describing a wild night — a theme of most his songs.
The album marks Adams’s first time in his career releasing a full-length record — his last two albums, in 2010 and 2013, respectively, were shorter EPs. In an interview with The Signal, Adams said that the decision to release an LP in 2016 was one based on the fans and how long they’ve stuck by his side during his eight-year career.
“It’s probably the biggest example of music I’m really proud of,” Adams said. “In and out of major labels, in and out of indie deals, working with my favorite producers, I was able to finally cultivate what I wanted to be my LP, which is such a special feeling.”
“All Night Longer,” Adams’s notorious 2012 college party anthem, was the perfect end to the rapper’s performance. The crowd screamed the lyrics “I wanna go all night longer,” as Adams took videos and pictures of everyone going wild for his song.
Despite the high life and partying that most of Adams’s songs describe, the Cambridge, Mass.,-born rapper began his career humbly, cutting tracks at home and in his Trinity College dorm room. The song, “I Hate College (Remix), ”which he performed for the College, is a remix of rapper Asher Roth’s song “I Love College” and was the first song Adams publically released on YouTube in 2009. The song became an instant success and is what led Adams to create “Boston’s Boy.”
Adams attributes his time growing up in Boston, Mass., for making him the rapper and person he is today, as he pulls inspiration from the New England city.
“The first album was very Massachusetts-, Boston-centered,” Adams said. “It was crazy because I was this Boston kid from a middle-class family who definitely didn’t think I would become this or anything close to playing the amount of shows that I do. It’s awesome. It’s sort of a testament to the city for influencing me.”
Like Adams, Derulo also began his career small. The Miramer, Fla., native began his career ghostwriting songs for artists like Danity Kane, Pitbull and Lil Wayne — an opportunity that he didn’t necessarily seek out, but something he didn’t let pass him.
“It kind of just fell into my lap,” Derulo said. “I always wanted to be the person delivering the message. I always wanted to be the front man. Life kind of takes you on twists and turns and I was going to make it by any means necessary.”
Derulo eventually went from being a behind-the-scenes writer to the triple-threat frontman he is known for being today. To date, Derulo has had 11 platinum singles and sold over 50 million records worldwide.
Even after so much success, Derulo still appreciates how he began his career.
“Whatever cards life dealt to me, I was going to make the best out of those cards,” Derulo said. “So, if I had to write songs to make my way in, that’s what I was going to do. Eventually, I got noticed and the rest was history.”
Thanks to our friends at Lions Television for filming the interviews.