Derulo began recording Everything Is 4 on his tour bus, channeling the energy from his live shows into the booth. "I feel like the album has an anthemic feel," he says.
Clearly the formula worked, as the very first song he recorded for the project ultimately became its lead single, "Want to Want Me."
"The first song that you write is never supposed to be your first single, that's just unheard of," he says. "The first song you do is supposed to be like, the trial run. Like, 'OK, I got that wack one out the way and now we can really start doing the album.' It wasn't until I started playing it for people that I knew how special the song was and, yeah man, it started a whole new vibe. It was the start of something new."
Today, "Want to Want Me" is on the verge of becoming Derulo's 11th million-selling single. But it's just one of several buzzy tracks on Everything Is 4, including collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Meghan Trainor, to name a few.
In ET's interview at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York, Derulo reveals that "Broke," his collaboration with Wonder and Urban, came together at a White House dinner.
"I was actually sitting with Stevie Wonder at the White House," he recalls. "I got to asking him, 'Stevie, would you want to play harmonica on one of my songs?' And he was like, 'Of course, man. We are family. I was like, 'Would you like to sing on that song too?' And he was like, 'Man, if I hear that song on the radio and I am not on it I will whoop your ass!'"
Wonder recorded his portion of the song in his own home studio, where Derulo sat and watched in awe. "He didn't need any help getting to the booth, he knew exactly where it was and he went through 15 different harmonicas to make sure he had the right harmonica. He was like, 'Nah, this one is flat. This one is sharp. This ain't right. Bring me the other bag over there!'" Derulo says. "It was crazy to watch one of my heroes do his thing, especially on a song that I did."
As for "Painkiller," his duet with Trainor, Derulo says they opted for an old-school approach.
"We actually recorded in the same booth together, which is not something that is really done in 2015," he explains. "We were feeding off of each other's energy and I think it gave the song a different vibe. You can kind of hear that synergy -- you can hear the fact that we are as one in the booth, and that song, I think that is one of the reasons why that song is so special."
Meanwhile, "Try Me" featuring J.Lo has a whole other vibe.
"We actually danced the entire night," he says. "[The song] has this addicting feel, but more importantly it has a Caribbean vibe about it and that's our roots. She is Puerto Rican and I am Haitian, so our roots are in this song...I think people are going to dig it."
Derulo's roots also played a part in the album's title.
"I actually wanted to involve four seasons," he explains. "Four is the number that follows us around. There's four legs on a chair, representing a strong foundation, and foundation is important to me because I come from a Haitian family and we literally started from the bottom and to where I am right now is just crazy. I'll always remember my foundation, I'll always remember where I came from and four seasons represents change."
"In this point in my life, it's all about fresh, new living life to the fullest," he gushes. "I've been living very different for the past eight months. Man, it's been like a new joy in my life. A new weight lifted, man, so it's been really exciting."
And yes, Derulo says that we will hear about his fresh, newly-single perspective in the music.
"I have always written songs about things that I go through, and I feel like with time and with age I am able to explain things clearly and really paint a picture," he says. "So I think on this album you will get a sense of who I am and where I am in my life at this point."