Hip hop/R&B artist Jason Derulo—known for such squalid hits as “Swalla” and “Get Ugly”—is working on a quote/unquote “big” country music project with a current country artist. This is the news coming from numerous sources, including Derulo himself who was accosted by TMZ at LAX earlier this week after rumors of the project surfaced.
“So I’m doing a country project,” Derulo confirmed. “I can’t announce exactly what it is yet. But I’m excited … I’m excited about it because I do love country music. I just won my first country music award. And I got the bug, man. I got the bug. So I’m doing a bigger project that I can’t mention what it is exactly yet … So it’s a project with me and another country act. So it’s not just me.”
The so-called country award Jason Derulo recently won was a CMT Award for Performance of the Year for “Want to Want Me” with Luke Bryan from a CMT Crossroads episode. Derulo has also worked with Thomas Rhett in the past, and is also said to be a part of Hank Williams Jr.’s Monday Night Football theme reboot.
For years Jason Derulo has been hinting he may do some work in country, but to hear the project is on the way, and way more than just a song or two is troubling for those concerned that the lines between country and other genres is becoming more blurred than ever before. With Sam Hunt’s decidedly not country-sounding summer anthem “Body Like a Backroad” becoming the longest-running #1 single in country music history, it opens up the possibility of even more performers migrating to the greener pastures of country from other genres, and not worrying if the music sounds country or not.
Obviously we’ll have to see just how “country” the Jason Derulo country project turns out to be, and who will be his chief collaborator. For all we know, it will be more country-sounding than most of what ends up on country radio. But it’s a bad precedent to let artists from other genres so easily waltz into country, especially if the music has no kinship to country’s roots. Thousands of country music artists struggle in obscurity throughout their careers with little recognition, and when a performer such as Jason Derulo arrives in the genre as a massive celebrity and is even bestowed industry awards, it steals the spotlight away from worthy artists needing attention to launch sustainable careers, including country music’s under-appreciated females.
You don’t see country artists winning hip hop awards.
Let the speculation begin of who Jason Derulo’s chief collaborator is.