Jason Derulo knows how to sell.
Coming into 2020, the 31-year-old musician was in the headlines for an underwear photo so raunchy that Instagram took it down, and for his appearance in the movie musical disaster that was “Cats” (remember that?), in which he played Rum Tum Tugger.
Today, Derulo is more popular than ever. The multihyphenate continues to branch out from music and has delved deep into some of 2020’s most beloved pastimes: alcohol and TikTok.
“I’m always just constantly trying to one-up myself, and how do I continue to get better? How do I learn from every situation?” Derulo says.
After being a longtime fan of vodka brand Bedlam, Derulo made it official this winter by forging an official partnership with the company.
“Everything that I do always comes with me being a fan of at first,” he says, over the phone. He’s at his house in L.A., which has been thoroughly decked out for the holidays: inflated Santa Clause, snowman and reindeer, reindeer on the roof of the house, snow machines, “all the lights you can imagine,” many a Christmas tree.
“It’s like Santa’s enchanted forest back there,” he says (and yes, he’s planning TikTok performances out there).
The Bedlam relationship began after the brand sent bottles for one of his videos years back.
“After they were in the video I continued to ask for bottles, because I liked the vodka so much, so I was trying to get my bar stocked with it,” he says. “It just was an organic growth; it wasn’t forced by any side, it really just happened. I really try to lead with being a fan of a product first, and then that’s where I took this from.”
His favorite vodka memory, which involved his preferred way to drink the spirit, in a vodka soda, was this past Thanksgiving at his home in L.A.
“This was my first Thanksgiving without my parents, but we made it happen. Jena [Frumes, his girlfriend] cooked a ton. I cooked a little bit. It was a proud moment,” he says. “I made stuffing — that was it.”
Elsewhere in quarantine, Derulo, who boats 41.5 million followers on TikTok and 7.5 million on Instagram, has been picking up baking — all for the likes, of course.
“Making desserts is a new skill of mine,” he says. “I always do these ‘milli-meals’ on TikTok: Every time I get to a new million followers I do what’s called a ‘milli-meal.’ Basically it’s a really outlandish dessert. I made deep fried pancake tacos with ice cream in the middle, I’ve made a cotton candy sandwich, all kinds of things like that.”
He favors “creative” videos on TikTok, and liked trends such as the “wipe it down” challenge and, of course, the “Savage Love” challenge, with his own song.
“That was pretty awesome for me,” he says.
Next year, Derulo is all about return on investment.
“In 2020, there’s been a lot of planting,” he says. “TikTok being a major piece of 2020; garnering 41 million followers on that app just changed things a bit. I started a comic book on TikTok — I was introducing this character and it just blew up, so I decided to make a comic. I’m working with the editor at Marvel on this comic, and that’s coming out pretty soon. Bedlam, obviously. I just dropped another song called ‘Love Not War’ internationally. It’s not in America yet, but it’ll be coming to America probably later this month. Yeah, so there’s a bunch of things going on — 2021, I just hope just to watch those seeds just come to fruition.”
For his ever-growing investment portfolio, Derulo takes it “one day at a time.” In addition to vodka, he’s invested in the club/restaurant Catch LA, as well as Rumble boxing.
“Yeah, I’m just going with the flow,” he says.
So does Derulo see a future less about music and more about business?
“No. I mean, my newest song ‘Take You Dancing’ just went top 20 in America on the radio. Yeah, so I’m still that guy,” Derulo says. “I mean, my Spotify is still in the top 10 in the world. I’m still the guy.”