It’s clear that multi-platinum award-winning artist and international R&B superstar Jason Derulo has a deep understanding of music’s power to impact lives.
“[Music has] really been the main thing in my life since I was a kid,” Derulo said before taking the stage to headline the annual VH1 Save the Music Foundation Hamptons Live Benefit in Sagaponack on Saturday. The event, which has raised almost $800,000 and counting, supports the nonprofit VH1 Save the Music and its goal to provide music education in schools.
Music benefits even those who don’t pursue it as a career, Derulo said, explaining that music teaches correct discipline, which can be transferred over into other disciplines in life. Music also fosters creativity, and “Creativity allows us to find ourselves when we’re kids,” Derulo added, revealing that Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the first album he ever purchased.
The event’s star-studded crowd, which included Bethenny Frankel, Bobby Flay, Miesa, Jenna Ushkowitz, LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin, Selenis Leyva, Eric Lively, Timolin Cole and Tiffany Trump, was rocking all night, as Derulo showcased such chart-topping hits as “In My Head,” “Trumpets,” “Ridin’ Solo” and his current single “Want to Want Me.”
Known for his melodic voice and signature dance moves, Derulo’s success is also attributed to his songwriting. Writing lyrics about his own life, he said, makes his music more relatable. “Writing songs, I always pull from direct experience. It just makes things a lot easier. I always have something to write about. And it connects to people more, because we all go through very similar things. I feel like people can relate to those songs a lot better.”
The event, which was held at summer estate of socialite and former hedge fund manager Julie Macklowe, featured an opening act by DJs Hannah Bronfman and Brendan Fallis.
“We were really psyched when VH1 asked us to participate in this, because obviously we really care about education and VH1 Save the Music promotes music education in schools, so we really jumped at the opportunity,” said Bronfman, who grew up coming to Amagansett. She now visits Bridgehampton regularly, and lists Loaves & Fishes, Round Swamp Farm and Mary’s Marvelous among her favorite Hamptons spots. “Otherwise, it’s just nice to hang out and relax!” Bronfman said.
The red carpet was abuzz with celebs discussing the role music has played in their lives.
“This is really apropos. I heard Donald Trump a long time ago say the most important thing in the world is music. It’s the biggest thing in the world. And he’s right because it just touches everybody in every different way,” noted Flay, whose personal experience underscores the importance of keeping the arts in schools. “I dropped out of high school in 10th grade to find something I could do with my hands, to do from a creative standpoint, like cook, it really saved my life basically. So I completely understand what this is all about.”
For those seeking a bite to eat before the summer fades, Flay recommended Navy Beach in Montauk. “You go to Navy Beach and you figure you’re going to get a great piece of fish. I had the fried chicken and it was slamming! It’s so good,” he said, recalling a recent trip to the waterfront hotspot.
“Music is really important for children to pursue and to be involved in,” said Singer, of The Real Housewives of New York City fame. “And they say that all work and no play is not good.” Singer revealed that she listens to an album titled Polynesian Spa whenever she needs a release. “It’s the best music. You just play this and you think positive thoughts, and it is like you just had a massage. It’s so soothing.”
A Hamptons regular, Singer lists Coopers Beach in Southampton among her favorite local destinations. “I love the fact that you can go there, rent the chairs, rent the umbrellas.” But, she added, the attendants take the chairs away too quickly. “Can we do a petition about taking the chairs and the umbrellas at 6 o’clock please? Because 4 o’clock is way too early! It’s terrible,” she noted playfully.
Off the red carpet, the starts aligned to save the music. Since 1997, the Foundation has provided nearly $51 million in new musical instruments to almost 1,900 public schools around the country, impacting the lives of more than 2.3 million children. Last year, after its inaugural Hamptons event, the Foundation donated Taylor guitars to Bridgehampton School. The Save the Music organizers plan to make another community donation in conjunction with this year’s Hamptons Live event.
“Music has always been a great part of my life, it kept me off the streets,” Derulo told the crowd during a brief break onstage before finishing his set. “I feel fortunate that I have this platform where I can speak about things that I actually care about—music is one of those things.”