Taio Cruz

  • British singer, songwriter, rapper born Adetayo Ayowale Onile-Ere in London England in 1985. His English name is Jacob Taio Cruz.
  • He learned to play piano as a youth, and in school he expanded his talents, using digital production software. He shared his music with his friends – a friend of his used one of his demos for his “on-hold” music on his cell phone. A music talent manager heard the background music when he called Cruz’s friend, and the manager asked about it. Soon, Cruz was signed to a songwriting firm at the age of 17, and in 2005 he won a British music award for co-writing the song Your Game, which Will Young took to #3 on the British charts in 2004.
  • In 2006, Cruz founded his own record company, Rokstarr Music London. That year, he released his debut single, I Just Wanna Know. The R&B song reached #29 on the UK charts, and it caught the attention of larger record companies. He signed a deal, and his debut album Departure was released in 2008. Five singles charted in the UK, but his music did not break into the international scene.
  • During this period, he continued to write for other artists, and he had hits with songs performed by British artists Cheryl Cole, JLS and Tinchy Stryder.
  • He gained international fame with his second album, Rokstarr, released in 2009. The album included 2 mega-hits – Break Your Heart (featuring Ludacris) topped the Hot 100 in the U.S. and was certified 3x platinum as a single, and Dynamite reached #2 in the U.S. and was certified 8x platinum. Break Your Heart set a record for the biggest jump of a debut single to #1 in chart history, moving from #53 to #1 in one week. Another single from the album, Higher, also was certified platinum, reaching #24 on the Hot 100. The album is an interesting blend of hip-hop/R&B/rock, and is very much a dance album.
  • His third and most recent studio album was released in 2011. Titled TY.O, it had a more electropop sound compared to his earlier work. Singles from the album were more popular internationally than in the U.S. – the only song to chart in the U.S. was Hangover, which featured Flo Rida on vocals for one of the verses. While it only reached #62 on the Hot 100, it peaked at #2 on the Dance Songs chart, and rightly so – it is a party anthem, uptempo and energetic, and full of hooks that work for inebriated dancers (personally, I love the song, especially after adult beverages).
  • While he has not gone underground, Cruz has been away from the limelight since his last album. He announced in late 2013 that a new album was forthcoming, but it never was released. He has released 5 non-album singles since 2015, but nothing has charted. Songs co-written by Cruz have been performed by artists like David Guetta, Jennifer Lopez and Nick Jonas, but nothing has been heard since 2015. In 2017, he said that he was taking a break from posting on social media – now, his social media accounts mostly show photos of him from years ago. Hope things are OK with Mr. Cruz. In the meantime, watch his video for Hangover, one of my favorite party songs!

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