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What You Should Know About… Taio Cruz


Find it hard to keep track of the newest pop music phenoms but don’twant to look dumb at a party? We’re here to help. Here’sSPIN’s handy cheat sheet to pop’s flavor of the month:

Who: Taio Cruz

Huh? It’s pronounced Tie-o, not Tay-o.

Why you’ve heard the name: This British R&B smoothy’s dancefloor-friendly pop smash “Break Your Heart,” featuring Ludacris, recently hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100. His sophomore album, Rokstarr, entered the Billboard Top 200 at No. 8.

How he got started: The 27-year-old Cruz was a successful songwriter and producer for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Usher, Ke$ha, and Britney Spears, so he knows his way around a hook.

He might remind you of: A slightly less randy Akon.

Favorite video props: Speedboats and hot women.

Blimey! Cruz has “slightly more sex appeal than JLS basted in turkey grease by Louis Walsh,” says NME.We don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound good.

Girl trouble: Cruz had planned to release a version of “Umbrella” as an early single, but Rihanna called dibs and scored a huge hit. More recently, Brit pop chanteuse Corrine Bailey Rae threatened to sue Cruz, claiming that his “She’s Like a Star” plagiarized her “Like a Star.” The case never went to court.

He’s got a fever: And it’ll only get worse. Cruz is writing songs forJustin Bieber’s next album.

WATCH: Latest video, featuring Ke$ha