J.R. Rotem

J.R. Rotem

Rotem in 2007 at Hollywood Life Magazine’s 7th Annual Breakthrough Awards
Background information
Birth name Jonathan Reuven Rotem
Born (1975-09-01) September 1, 1975
Johannesburg, South Africa
Origin Moraga, California
Genres Pop, hip hop, R&B, Reggae fusion
Occupation(s) Record producer, songwriter, music publisher
Instruments Piano, Keyboards, Pro Tools, synthesizer
Years active 2001–present
Labels Beluga Heights
Associated acts Iyaz, Maroon 5 , Britney Spears, Sean Kingston, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Jason Derulo, Rick Ross, Usher, JoJo, 50 Cent, Ne-Yo, Leona Lewis, Dr. Dre, Skylar Grey
Website belugaheights.com/jr

Jonathan Reuven "J.R." Rotem (born September 1, 1975) is a South African-born, American record producer, music publisher, and songwriter.


Early life

Rotem, who is Jewish,[1] was born in South Africa to Israeli immigrant parents in 1975.[2] He moved to Toronto at the age of two and finally to Moraga, California at the age of twelve.[3][4][5]

Rotem's entry point into music was in receiving classical piano instruction at a young age.[6] When he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston it was initially with the intention of studying film scoring, but he ended up majoring in jazz composition.[4][6]


As his first major label placement, the Destiny's Child song "Fancy", from their 2001 album Survivor, is cited by Rotem as being his first 'big break', and the song that convinced the young producer that it was worth pursuing this career path.[6] Nevertheless, further success was not forthcoming and for years Rotem struggled to make further headway in the industry.[6]

A significant breakthrough came when, through mutual friend Evan Bogart, he attracted the attention of former manager Zach Katz, a former music attorney who had previously represented rapper Rakim as well as various producers and songwriters in the Aftermath/Shady/G-Unit camp.[7] Rotem says, "One of my biggest goals for years was meeting a manager with a good reputation and with connections to get my music to people."[6] When asked in an interview with HitQuarters what made Katz decide to take the producer on, he said,

"This was a time where most of the people were beat makers, they didn't really play instruments. JR on the other hand, had a vast musical background ... So musically there were no limitations as far as what he could bring. Number two J.R he was very, very focused. He really wanted to win. And number three he was humble. If I gave him any suggestions about his tracks he would literally sit there and take notes. Then he would come back the next day with the changes I had suggested."[7]

Rotem's next major cut was 50 Cent's "Position of Power" in 2005. In 2006, together with Katz and his brother Tommy, Rotem started his own record label, Beluga Heights, inking a joint venture partnership with Epic. Sean Kingston, a young Miami-based artist, was the labels first signing. Kingston's self-titled debut album went on to sell over 2 million albums and 10 million singles worldwide. Rotem also started a publishing company under the Beluga Heights umbrella, signing "SOS" co-writer Evan "Kidd" Bogart.[8] Under a newly formed joint venture with Warner Bros. Records, the label signed pop sensation Jason Derülo, whose debut album went on to sell 14 million singles and over 1 million albums worldwide.

In 2009, Rotem was honored as BMI Producer of the Year. In 2011 he was again honored by BMI as Songwriter of the Year alongside Lady Gaga and Derülo. His trademark is a horn that follows with a stylised "J-J-J-J-J-R" and/or "Beluga Heights" at the start or end of records with which he has been affiliated.

J.R. Rotem is managed by Pulse Management, a division of Pulse Recording. In 2015, Rotem worked alongside Neyo and Timbaland on the music for Season 2 of Fox's Empire. On October 17, 2015, Gwen Stefani premiered "Used to Love You", co-written and produced by Rotem at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City which was Gwen's first single. Rotem has ten songs on Stefani's album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like which was released on March 18, 2016.


Songs and singles produced by J.R. Rotem

Year Artist Song Chart position
2006 Rihanna "SOS" 1 2 2 1
Lil' Kim "Whoa" 104 43
Rick Ross "Push It" 57
Paris Hilton "I Want You"
Sean Kingston "Beautiful Girls" 1 1 10 1
"Me Love" 14 32 48 11
"Take You There" 7 47 34
Ashley Tisdale "He Said She Said" 58 155 17
JoJo "The High Road"
Kevin Federline "America's Most Hated"
2007 Chamillionaire feat. Slick Rick "Hip Hop Police" 101 50
The Cheetah Girls "Fuego"
Britney Spears "Everybody"
Lil Scrappy "Livin' in the Projects"
Jada feat. Sean Kingston "I'm that Chick"
Nicole Scherzinger feat. will.i.am "Baby Love (Remix)" 108 14 5 58
Baby Bash feat. Sean Kingston "What Is It" 57
Plies "1 Mo Time"
"I Am the Club"
Fabolous "Can You Hear Me"
Mýa feat. Snoop Dogg "Walka Not A Talka"
2008 The D.E.Y. "Give You the World" 119
Rick Ross feat. T-Pain "The Boss" 17
Flo Rida feat. Sean Kingston "Roll" 59
Plies feat. Ne-Yo "Bust It Baby Pt. 2" 7 93[9]
Bun B feat. Sean Kingston "That's Gangsta" 122
Mann feat. Sean Kingston "Ghetto Girl"
Leona Lewis "Better in Time" 11 2 2 6
Vanessa Hudgens "Sneakernight" 88 164 98 94
Jesse McCartney "My Baby"
James Fauntleroy "Strength"
E-40 feat. The Game & Snoop Dogg "Pain No More" 111
Cory Gunz feat. Jason Derulo "Gamble on Me" 125
Plies feat. Ashanti "Want It, Need It" 96
Mike Jones feat. Nae Nae "Next to You" 63
2009 Anastacia "Defeated"
Maino "However Do U Want It" 124
Piles "Becky" 104
Iyaz "Replay" 2 1 7 1
"Solo" 32 3 25 48
"So Big" 40
Mann feat. Jason Derülo "Text"
Tynisha Keli "Lights Out"
Auburn "Superman"
"I'm at War" Sean Kingston feat. Lil Wayne
2010 Dima Bilan "Changes"
Jason Derulo "Whatcha Say" 1 3 7 5
"In My Head" 5 1 9 1
"Ridin' Solo" 9 2 24 4
"What If" 76 12 32
"The Sky's the Limit" 68 22
JLS "Everybody in Love" 1
Lindsay Lohan "Too Young To Die"
The Ready Set "Love Like Woe" 27
B.o.B feat. T.I. "Not Lost"
Sean Kingston "Secret"
"She Moves"
Auburn feat. Iyaz "La La La" 51
Romance on a Rocketship "Skin & Bones"
Sarah Connor "Fall Apart"
Fefe Dobson "Stuttering"
Ilya "Preapproved"
Cheryl Cole "Better to Lie"
2011 Kat Graham "I Want It All"
Mann feat. 50 Cent "Buzzin'" 73 6
"Fly" Nicki Minaj feat. Rihanna 19 16 18
Nicki Minaj "Girls Fall Like Dominoes'" 24 99
Mann feat. Snoop Dogg and Iyaz "The Mack" 28 68
Iyaz feat. Travie McCoy "Pretty Girls" 43
Cover Drive "Lick Ya Down" 9
Big Time Rush "Invisible"
Jason Derulo "Pick Up the Pieces" 37
"Be Careful"
2012 Mann feat. T-Pain "Get It Girl"
Chris Rene "Young Homie" 101
Nicki Minaj "Marilyn Monroe" 104 121
Machine Gun Kelly feat. Cassie "Warning Shot"
Maroon 5 "Wipe Your Eyes" 80
2013 Jessica Sanchez "Don't Come Around"
Sean Kingston feat. T.I. "Back 2 Life (Live It Up)" 109 70
Sean Kingston "Bomba"
"Ordinary Girl"
Sean Kingston feat. Busta Rhymes "How We Survive"
2014 Mike Jay feat. YG & Too $hort "For a Week"
Fall Out Boy "Centuries" 10 22 71 55
2015 "No Good for You" Meghan Trainor
Fifth Harmony "Like Mariah"
Empire "Born To Love U"
"Do It"
"Powerful (feat. Jussie Smollett and Alicia Keys)"
Gwen Stefani "Used to Love You" 52 157 57
Who Is Fancy feat. Ariana Grande & Meghan Trainor "Boys Like You" 118
2016 Panic! at the Disco "Don't Threaten Me with a Good Time"
"Crown" Empire
Rick Ross "Can't Say No" feat. Mariah Carey
Charlie Puth "Dangerously"
Gwen Stefani "Naughty"
"Red Flag"
"Getting Warmer"
"War Paint"
"Me Without You"


  1. "A 'good Jewish boy' seeks the spotlight in LA". The Jerusalem Post - JPost.com.
  2. Lamb, Bill. "Jonathan "J.R." Rotem". About.com: Top40/Pop. Retrieved 2010-07-15.
  3. de Silverio, Victoria (July 2007), "Pimpin' Ain't Easy", Blender (60), pp. 100–104
  4. 1 2 Small, Mark (Summer 2006). "Jonathan Rotem: A Piano Man Finds His Beat". Berklee Today. 18 (1).
  5. "J.R. Rotem". Beluga Heights. Retrieved March 30, 2011.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 "Interview With JR Rotem". HitQuarters. April 4, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
  7. 1 2 "Interview With Zach Katz". HitQuarters. May 3, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  8. "'Awkward pop' singer signs deal – Bristol Evening Post". Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  9. "The Official UK Singles Chart for the week ending 23 August 2008". ChartsPlus. Milton Keynes: IQ Ware Ltd (365): 1–4.

External links

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