Reality TV

The Voice Australia’s Jason Derulo talks Aussie slang & fatherhood

''Australia feels like home.''
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Since his solo career began in 2009, Jason Derulo has made his name heard all over the world, in more ways than one. Known for his social media presence, slick dance moves and singing his name out loud in songs, the US singer has become a chart-topper and globally recognised brand. Now, he’s sharing the secret to his success on The Voice Australia.

Speaking to TV WEEK, the Miami-born star explains that he knows the music industry “like the back of my hand” and wants to give back by mentoring young talent in the hope they will have a smoother experience than he did.

How does Jason feel when contestants on the voice sing his songs? “It’s flattering, but it won’t earn them cool points,” he says.

(Credit: Getty)

Growing up as the son of Haitian immigrants, Jason, 33, knew what he wanted, but had to fight for every break. He was inspired by pop icon Michael Jackson from an early age and modelled his career on his legacy. Then, with hard work, persistence and “speaking it into existence”, he became more successful than he ever dreamed. But there was still a lot to learn.

“I wanted to be like Michael, but slowly I grew into myself and found my own identity,” he says.

“I drew from Caribbean music, classical music and a lot of different genres and eventually found my sound. I’m still doing that today, because as I change as a man, my music does too.”

Fame hit hard and fast, and Jason still had to find who he was amid the noise.

“It can get cloudy, and being sure of yourself can come off as cocky, so it’s a fine line,” he says of success. “But I come from a great family, so I didn’t struggle [to stay grounded] from that perspective. I’m able to be humble now because I know there’s always room to grow. I don’t know it all and I haven’t done everything – and I probably won’t, at any stage of life.”

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Having released his own memoir, Sing Your Name Out Loud, this year, Jason is eager to help artists – or anyone – pursue their dreams. The Voice Australia reminds him of what talent can do.

“I’ve had some awesome moments and not-so awesome moments in my career,” Jason says. “I’ve shared a lot of stories since joining The Voice because it reminds me of my own beginnings and my past. I try to share what helps me so these artists won’t have to bump their heads as many times as I did.”

Jason, who joins retuning judges Guy Sebastian, Rita Ora and Jessica Mauboy on The Voice judging panel, says the on-set rivalry is real – but it’s all left on the floor.

“They’re so nice, but I’m not fooled by the smiles – deep down, they all want blood,” he says with a laugh.

“But we’ve spent time together [away from the set] and they’re great people.”

Jason is finding fatherhood an uplifting experience.

(Credit: Instagram)

Despite his role as a mentor and coach, Jason confesses he was a rookie when it came to Aussie culture.

“It was a crash course, for sure,” he says with a laugh. “I love the moments when an artist uses Australian slang and I have no idea what they’re saying. Australia is probably my favourite place on Earth, so it’s been a wonderful experience. It feels like home.”

As he’s always done, Jason is going full speed to achieve his dreams – and yes, there are many still to pursue. But right now, being a dad to his two-year-old son, Jason King, has his full attention. It might be a world away from music, but fatherhood is his greatest achievement yet.

“You don’t really understand it until you’re in it, but it’s life-changing; he’s my whole world,” Jason says, adding that his son is already showing interest in music.

“He’s so in love with music and obsessed with the guitar. When we hang out, he’ll say, ‘Daddy’s song’, so I have to play one of my songs. Then, when he doesn’t enjoy a song, he says. ‘No, no – I don’t like it.’ He’s very opinionated!”

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