Producer and songwriter J.R. Rotem was born in South Africa, which ties in nicely with the World Goes Pop entry we published this week. Jonathan Reuven Rotem moved to Toronto when he was just two years old, and then he relocated to California when he was twelve. Rotem got his start in the industry writing the song “Fancy” for Destiny’s Child (off of the album Survivor) in 2001. He struggled to make a name for himself in the music industry until he formed his own company, Beluga Heights, and inked a joint deal with Epic Records. He began to develop a young Jamaican artist named Sean Kingston, and then produced the breakthrough single “SOS” for Rihanna. Rotem’s next major project was Jason Derulo’s debut album, and he went on to make an artist from the British Virgin Islands a star — a young man by the name of Iyaz.
J.R. Rotem’s style is very versatile. He can work within genres and disparate as dance (“SOS”), pop ballads (“Better In Time”) and hip-hop smashes (“The Boss”). He has also helped launch the careers of Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo, and Iyaz, three very successful recording artists from the last few years. His instrumentation is typically very synthetic, but J.R. Rotem deals in massive hooks that stick to your brain. Let’s check out some of his biggest smashes on this fine Friday.