Jacob Taio Cruz is an English singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer.
Cruz was born Adetayo Ayowale Onile-Ere; 23 April 1985 to a Nigerian father and a Brazilian mother. He went to a school in rural Sussex and developed a love for the Eighties pop/dance of Madonna and Michael Jackson. In music classes, he chose to spend his time, playing the piano. He started writing music when he was twelve, beginning to find professional work as a songwriter at age nineteen.
Recording his first demos as a teenager, Cruz began taking his songs and productions more seriously during his college years – resulting in him prestigiously signing a U.S. publishing deal at just 18 years old.
He formed a record label called Rokstarr Music in London and released a single called “I Just Wanna Know” in 2006 when he was just 21 years old. In the same year, his talent was recognized by people in several major labels and he signed joint-venture partnership deal with Universal Music Group Company.
LiDubbed as “a toss-up between Babyface, Justin Timberlake and John Legend”, the British singer/songwriter began working on his debut album soon after the deal was sealed. In between his hectic schedule to get the album done, he was sent to the U.S. to work on new music for Britney Spears, Brandy and Justin Timberlake. He released his first effort “Departure” in 2008, the same year he was nominated for Best UK Male at MOBO Awards.
While already busy juggling his time in writing songs for other artists and making his own, he opted to try his hands at fashion business. He launched a fashion label called Rokstarr, which focused on sunglasses, in 2009. Such stars as Shontelle, Keri Hilson and Kelly Rowland have been seen wearing his brand.
He dropped another effort, again titled “Rokstarr” on May 18, 2010. The lead single “Break Your Heart” ruled Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in a row, becoming his first chart-topping single in the United States. The song was also nominated as Best British Single at 2010 BRIT Awards.
“We chose it as the single because I thought it sounded like a really catchy song that people would enjoy listening to – or the shortened version of that is, we thought it would be a HIT! And the meaning behind the song obviously is quite self-explanatory,” he said.