Jason Derulo: Coming into His Own

Pop singer opens up about making a name for himself and keeping his body "Wiggle"-worthy.
8:24 | 08/08/14

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Transcript for Jason Derulo: Coming into His Own
He's the man behind the soundtrack to summer. But that's not Jason derulo's only impressive body of work. He's picked up many talents on the path to pop stardom. And tonight, he's talking dance and romance. ABC's Cecilia Vega got a private show for our series, "On the town." Reporter: When most other musicians are still asleep, at 7:00 A.M., Jason derulo is lunging up the Hollywood hills. People probably think I'm fit for my shows. But it's not that at all. I probably workout twice besides the show, every, single day. Reporter: Those moves do require stamina. But here's the funny thing about the pop star known for getting down while talking dirty. ? Talk dirty to me ? Reporter: And wiggling. ? Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle ? Reporter: Known for his rock-hard abs and his rock-solid relationship with singer Jordin spar sparks, is also a classically-trained musician. Derulo studied opera, ballet and -- do you tap? I do. Reporter: You do? Hard-core. Reporter: Show me. Do your best shuffle. Three, two, one. Reporter: Whoa. That's impressive. Yeah. Reporter: But not nearly as impressive as his resume. Three number one hits, more than 20 million singles sold in the U.S. Alone. And more than a billion views on youtube. And by the way, this industry veteran is only 24. Give me a list of the people you were working with when you were 16 years old. Anybody from pitbull to candy cane to Cassidy to Sean Kingston. Reporter: Raised in Miami, the son of immigrants was still in high school when he was writing for some of the biggest names in music. I was jealous of all these people. I was always this close. Reporter: What's that feel like when you pour your heart and your mind, your brain, into these songs and then someone else gets the credit for it? If you're a song writer and you like to be behind the scenes, it's all good. But if you want to be the person in the spotlight, it's like torture. It's like hanging a steak in front of a dog. Reporter: He's in the spotlight now. Deru derulo's latest album has been called the soundtrack of the summer. This fall, he takes his tour to the U.S. At this Los Angeles dance studio, we found derulo scouting backup dancers for his performance at this weekend's teen choice award, where he's up for four awards, including best male artist. All these performers, waiting for this exact moment, a shot to show off their moves to the man in the corner. This was you for a long time, right? You know exactly what they're going through. I know what they're going through. But that's rough. You're waiting all day for your chance. And your chance comes and they tell you, okay, thank you. You just have to go home. You literally got 30 seconds. It's brutal in this industry. Only the best survive. Reporter: He speaks from experience. He's faced his fair share of critics. The word misogyny keeps coming up. Sexism. You can taken song and say anything about it. But I'm in the booth and I'm making a song called wiggle, you know what to do with that big, fat butt. Nowhere in my mind am I thinking, I'm objectifying women. I'm just making a fun song. It's not necessarily to tell a woman, you know what to do with that big, fat butt, like I'm being like abusive or anything like that. It's literally just a fun song that's not really supposed to be taken in that light. Reporter: Even though he's been on the charts for years, this was his breakout song, "What you say." ? How I live with myself knowing that I let love go ? Reporter: It seems he hasn't managed to break into the ranks of top superstardom. And he has a theory why. I make pop music. Besides Rihanna, you don't see african-americans on the pop charts like that. Reporter: Do you think you had to knock a little louder, work a little harder, jump a little higher to get noticed because you're african-american in pop? Yeah. Still at this point, for sure. Reporter: Now, with this new album, hip-hop keeps coming up as a label. Is that a fair box to put you in? Not even close. If you call me hip-hop, you're completely just saying you're hip-hop because you're black. Reporter: Despite all of that, he says it's his fighting spirit that has propelled him forward throughout his career. Derulo has earned a reputation for an insane work ethic inside the studio and out. After all, these abs don't come easy. You kind of feel like rocky when you get up to the top. You know what I mean? You feel like you've done something. Reporter: These days, he's even working out with a broken wrist from a recent basketball injury. My body, actually, after breaking my rib, I got a little -- got a little pudge happening. I'm trying to get this thing back together. Reporter: He's been hurt much worse. Two years ago, while rehearsing a back flip, derulo fell and broke his neck. I was either supposed to be paralyzed or not here at all. It's totally a miracle. Reporter: His new song, "Trumpets," a celebration of love. ? The trumpets they go ? Reporter: His comeback, he says, taught him to be truer to his music. At the beginning of my career, I was playing a role. Now, somebody doesn't like it, give them the finger. Reporter: And truer to himself. I really feel like I'm in the prime of my life. And I think a lot of people don't notice when the prime of their life is. And they kind of miss out on it. Reporter: At the center of his life today, his girlfriend of more than two years, former "American idol" winner Jordin sparks. Derulo's song "Marry me," yeah. It's all about her. I wanted her to know that when the time is right, it will happen. It will be the most amazing time when I do get down on one knee. It will be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. When the time is right. Reporter: What do you love about her? She is exactly like my mother. Always thinking about others before she thinks about herself. Supercharitable. We're such opposites. Just like polar. Reporter: Really? I think that's what works. Reporter: The other ladies in derulo's life. ? I'm not that kind of girl ? Reporter: Sweet suspense, an up-and-coming girl group he signed to his record label and now is coaching. That special something. Reporter: Today, derulo has what he wanted years ago, when he was that song writer, jealous of others in the spotlight. So, is site all he hoped it would be? He says, sort of. More money, more problems. You know, that's what they say. Reporter: Has it been true for you? Yeah. But nobody wants to be broke. Reporter: Is it lonely? It can get lonely. For sure. You feel like you're by yourself when there's hundreds of people around. Reporter: Despite the loneliness that can come with success, derulo says his songs, whether raunchy or romantic, are really about connecting with people and their emotions. You're having a bad day. And your favorite song comes on the radio. And it brightens your day. You know, it's there for a reason. "Marry me" is for a specific reason. "Trumpets" is for a specific reason. All these songs are worlds apart. And I made them for a reason. ? Vertigo ? "Vertigo," it's the best in the world making songs out there. Reporter: That's the reason for that song? Yeah. Absolutely. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Cecilia Vega, in los Angeles.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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