You’ve shot to fame very quickly. What advice would you give to the Taio of five years ago?
I’d probably say ‘be prepared for the extreme information flow’. There’s lots of people to speak to, it’s a lot of travelling and you need to be mentally prepared. When I first ‘shot to fame’, as you put it, it’s just an adjustment. Most people are not used to that lifestyle, and it’s just a case of getting used to it.
You make it sound like hard work. But you must have had some fun along the way?
I wish I’d had more time to spend in each city. I fly to a city, I see an airport, a motorway, a venue and a hotel, and the same on the way back.
Don’t you go out post-gig? Dubai has great nightlife…
I’d love to hang out in Dubai, but usually I’m like an old granny. I can’t go out after a show if I have to fly in the morning. I can’t stay up and party like some people.
It’s a critical time in your career. What’s the game plan to stay on the radio?
I’m just trying to keep making music that I enjoy. Obviously there’s pressure there. I hope my fans follow me in whatever direction I choose. If you listen to my new album, T.Y.O [to be released in January 2012], it’s still quite dancey, but I’m a multi-faceted individual and there are very different styles and genres I’d like to explore.
So you’re going less commercial?
When people say ‘less commercial’ it’s a bit offensive, like the music is throwaway. If I was to do the most ‘un-commercial’ thing that has been made but it had a massive commercial success, it becomes ‘commercial’.
You’ve already worked with Kylie, Usher and David Guetta. Do you have any other dream collaborations?
I’m still hoping Kings of Leon hit me back, or Taylor Swift. I want to work with people I wouldn’t normally be associated with, rather than just doing a hip-hop collaboration, which is obvious.
So you’re waiting for a call from Kings of Leon?
My manager asked them if they’re interested. Hopefully I can present them with a song that inspires them and makes them want to work with me.
I’m sure the women in Dubai would love to know if you’re currently single…
I am. I broke up with my girlfriend three months ago…
We’re sorry to hear that. So you’re not dating Cheryl Cole, as the rumours suggest?
Cheryl and I are just friends. The tabloids make a story wherever they can. It was so surprising – I’m the antithesis of tabloid, no one puts me there. It was really entertaining to be on the front of (the UK’s) Heat magazine. We weren’t dating – we worked together, we’re friends. It’s funny.
We’re glad you’re amused – many celebrities wouldn’t be.
Well, it’s not the worse claim to have made about you, is it?
For more on Taio Cruz, see www.taiocruzmusic.co.uk