"Breathing" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Jason Derulo for his second studio album, Future History (2011). It was written by Derulo, Jacob Luttrell, Lauren Christy, Julian Bunetta, Krassimir Tsvetanov Kurkchiyski, Shope Trad and Folksong Thrace, while production of the song was helmed by DJ Frank E. "Breathing" was initially released as one of four promotional singles for the album in September 2011. It was later released to contemporary hit radio in Australia on October 24, 2011, and elsewhere from January 31, 2012, as the third single from Future History. Musically, "Breathing" is a eurodance song that displays influences of electro, house and R&B, and features "tribal vocal chorales" in the background. It samples the song "Pilentze Pee", which is sung by the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. Lyrical inspiration for the song came from the death of Derulo's cousin, who died in 2011.
"Breathing" garnered positive reviews by many music critics, most of whom praised the production. The song attained moderate chart success, where it peaked inside the top-ten on the singles charts in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland. Additionally, it reached the top-thirty in France, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The song peaked at number 28 on the US Pop Songs chart. "Breathing" was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), for shipments of 140,000 copies. The accompanying music video was directed by Colin Tilley, and features Derulo in an abandoned warehouse, as well as other scenes of him shirtless in a blue tinted room. Derulo performed "Breathing" live at the Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland, to coincide with the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. The song has been covered by British recording artist Cher Lloyd.
"Breathing" was written by Jason Derulo, Jacob Luttrell, Lauren Christy, Julian Bunetta, Krassimir Tsvetano Kurkchiyski, Shope Trad and Folksong Thrace, while production of the song was helmed by DJ Frank E. The track was mixed by Manny Marroquin at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, with assistance by Erik Madrid and Chris Galland. Luttrell and Frank E played keyboards on the song, and the drums and synth programming was handled by Frank E. During an interview with Digital Spy, Derulo revealed that the inspiration for "Breathing" came from the death of his cousin, who died in 2011. He stated, "That song means a lot to me as it's serious and heartfelt". Derulo further explained that "Breathing" was heavily influenced by Africanchants, eurodance and rock guitar.
"Breathing" was released digitally worldwide on September 9, 2011, as the third promotional single for Future History. The song later impacted contemporary hit radios in Australia on October 24, 2011, as the third official single from the album. In the United States, "Breathing" was sent to contemporary hit radio and rhythmic contemporary radio playlists on January 31, 2012. In Germany, it was made available as a CD single on February 24, 2012. In the United Kingdom, a CD single and digital EP, which contains the album version, an instrumental version and three remixes of "Breathing", was released on February 26, 2012.
"Breathing" is three minutes and fifty-four seconds long. It is a eurodance song that displays influences of electro, house and R&B. "Breathing" is written in the key of B♭ minor and is set in common time with a tempo of 120 beats per minute. Derulo's vocal range spans from the note of F4 to the note of F6. The song features "tribal vocal chorales" in the background, and samples the song "Pilentze Pee", which is sung by the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. The song contains lyrical content about winning back a past love. "Breathing" opens with a "slow build-up of synths and a quick club beat" before Derulo sings: "I only miss you when I'm breathing / I only miss you when my heart is beating / You are the color that I'm bleeding / I only miss you when I'm breathing." Scott Shetler of PopCrush noted that he appears to be screaming the vocals during the chorus line: "I only miss you when I'm breathing", writing that "his final note [is] stretched out for several seconds".
"Breathing" received positive reviews from music critics. Robert Copsey of Digital Spy described the song as "hypnotic" and "an impressive club pumper". He praised "Breathing" for being a perfect tribute to Derulo's late cousin. Nicole James of MTV Buzzworthy viewed the song as a "more subtle route" than the album's previous promotional single "Pick Up the Pieces". She praised Derulo for knowing "how to make a dance song" and wrote that "Breathing" is the type of song you would add "to your Girls' Night Out playlist". Aaron-Spencer Charles of Metro wrote that the song is "an anthem for the clubs" that fans of pop and dance music would love. Pete Rivas of The AU Review praised the song's hook and likened its catchy production to the album's other two singles "Don't Wanna Go Home" and "It Girl" Scott Shetler and other reviewers of PopCrush wrote that "'Breathing' is a song we could definitely get down to in a club". Ben Chalk of MSN Music viewed "Breathing" as one of the standout tracks on Future History. He concluded by writing that in the song, "Derulo's energy overshadows the kitchen sink production and inane lyrics". Meena Rupani of DesiHits noted that "Breathing" is "more tribal" than his previous singles. Rupani also noted Derulo's continuation of past themes, "as he tries to romance the ladies with his cheesy lyrics but also keep the guys dancing in the clubs with the beats".
In Australia, "Breathing" debuted at number 36 on the ARIA Singles Chart on November 14, 2011. It peaked at number nine in its fifth week on the chart, becoming Derulo's sixth top-ten single in that country. "Breathing" also charted on the Australian Urban Singles Chart at number four. It was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), denoting shipments of 140,000 copies. "Breathing" debuted at number 37 on the New Zealand Singles Chart on December 12, 2011. It ascended to number 30 in its third week, but descended the chart for the following two weeks. "Breathing" managed to peak at number 28 in its sixth week. In the United States, "Breathing" peaked at number 28 on the Pop Songs chart, but failed to impact the Billboard Hot 100.
"Breathing" achieved commercial success in Europe. It peaked at number one on the Bulgarian Airplay Chart, and number four on the Slovak Airplay Chart. In Austria, "Breathing" debuted at number 43 on February 10, 2012, and peaked at number eight in its fifth week on the chart. It peaked at number five on the German Singles Chart, becoming Derulo's third top-ten single in that country. The song was certified gold by The Federal Association of Music Industry (BVMI), denoting shipments of 150,000 copies. In Switzerland, "Breathing" debuted at number 33 on March 11, 2012. It descended to number 50 in its second week on the chart, but managed to peak at number seven in its seventh week. The song was certified gold by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), denoting sales of 15,000 copies. "Breathing" peaked at number 19 on the Irish Singles Chart and spent a total of 10 weeks in the chart. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted at number 101 on January 28, 2012, and ascended to number 49 the following week. It managed to peak at number 25 in its seventh week on the chart. "Breathing" also charted on the UK R&B Singles Chart at number nine.
The accompanying music video for "Breathing" was directed by Colin Tilley and premiered exclusively on PopCrush.com on November 3, 2011. The video begins with Derulo on the balcony of a building at night, as well as scenes of him sitting in an old chair surrounded by cobwebs inside an industrial warehouse. There are then scenes which feature Derulo standing shirtless in a dark, blue-tinted room, digitally showing the insides of his body to show the intensity of his emotion. After the first chorus, Derulo then rises out of the chair and begins to dance. During the bridge, Derulo is shown kissing his former love interest, before several female backup dancers join him to perform choreography in the final chorus. Aaron-Spencer Charles of Metro noted that the video had "some impressive footwork and a great 'straight jacket' dance move with the choreographed piece with female dancers." A reviewer for 4Music also praised Derulo's dance routines in the video. Contessa Gayles of AOL Music described the video as "creepy" and compared it to Rihanna's "Disturbia" (2008) video.