“He threw me into the country living,” Derulo tells PEOPLE

By Kristin Luna
June 08, 2017 01:45 PM

Wednesday night may have been Jason Derulo’s first CMT Music Awards, but the Miami-based entertainer is already walkin’ the Southern walk thanks to his friend Luke Bryan.

The two, who performed Derulo’s hit “Want to Want Me” and also walked away with CMT Performance of the Year, first became pals after the country artist played several of Derulo’s songs on tour.

“I was like ‘holy s— … Luke is covering my songs,” Derulo told PEOPLE Wednesday night at the annual show. “We became great friends after that, and the rest is history.”

When asked who he wanted to collaborate with for CMT Crossroads, Bryan’s choice was obvious.

Derulo, who calls the country music culture “amazing,” wasted no time either getting acclimated to the laid-back Tennessee lifestyle after touching down in Nashville earlier this week — though it took a little bit of coaching from his pal.

“He threw me into the country living,” Derulo tells PEOPLE of the duo’s Tuesday bro date. “I came over [to Bryan’s house] in shiny white shoes and a white outfit, and he’s all, ‘Oh boy, you’re going to get that dirty!’ [and] gave me some new clothes.”

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Bryan loaned Derulo some of his own farm duds so the pair could go “huntin’ and fishin,’” Derulo says, adding that they spent the whole day together.

“This is like clay being thrown in the air, which is very different from what I’m used to at the gun range,” Derulo said, laughing.