British contemporary R&B singer/songwriter/producer Taio Cruz established himself as a songwriter, notably co-penning Will Young's BRIT Award-winning "Your Game" and Rihanna's cross-Atlantic chart-topper "Umbrella," before embarking on a performance career of his own. Born Jacob Taio Cruz on April 23, 1985, in London, England, to a Nigerian father and a Brazilian mother, Cruz went to school in rural Sussex and was introduced to soul music at a young age by his mother.
At age 18 he signed a publishing deal and made a big name for himself by co-writing Pop Idol winner Will Young's "Your Game" (2004), the recipient of the 2005 BRIT Award for Best British Single, as well as Rihanna's international number one smash "Umbrella" (2007), which had originally been intended for Britney Spears. In 2006 Cruz made his solo debut with "I Just Wanna Know," a Top 30 U.K. hit single released by Universal Music Group. The following year he released the follow-up single "Moving On," another Top 30 U.K. hit, but didn't release his full-length album debut, Departure, until 2008. The album featured each of Cruz's previously released singles, along with the concurrently released fourth single "Departure," a Top Five hit. After appearing on Tinchy Stryder's hit U.K. single "Take Me Back," Cruz began work on his next album.The first single from the album, "Break Your Heart," topped the U.K. charts for three weeks; a remixed version that featured Ludacris hit number one on the U.S. chart as well. The full-length Rokstarr appeared in October of 2009. ~ Jason Birchmeier, allmusic.com