He may well be the nicely-spoken son of a lawyer, but Taio Cruz is a singer to rival America’s urban best. Taio Cruz: potentially Britain’s first major international R&B star since Craig David. Last year, he got two self-released singles into the UK top 30. This year, signed to Island records, he scored a top-five hit with Come On Girl. This week, his debut album, Departure, entered the charts at number 17. If he hasn’t quite set the world on fire yet, his huge potential is demonstrated by the enthusiasm with which top American producers have welcomed him into the fold.
Since signing a publishing deal aged 19, he has collaborated with such legendary R&B and hip hop wizards as Dallas Austin and Pharrell Williams. “Sometimes I hear Pharrell talking about, ‘We’re gonna go in the studio and we’re gonna carve away at oblivion and try and pull a song out of the ether and transcend it through time and space.’ I’m like, ‘Let’s just make a good song.'”In any industry there are formulas to work with. I don’t always look for the greatest lyrical content, just get to the point, express the feeling in a way the audience can understand. The melody is like the good looks of the person and the lyrics are the personality. The first time you hear it you get the melody and you’re not really listening to what they are saying.”