Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BGG Chats with R&B Singer Jazmine Sullivan!

Just when you were afraid that great soul singing was a thing of the past, R&B newcomer, Jazmine Sullivan, is here to put all of your fears to rest. This 21-year-old Philadelphia native is heating up the airwaves with her soulful, reggae-infused hit single, "Need U Bad," from her forthcoming debut disc, Fearless. Signed to J Records, Jazmine's poignant, strong and sultry voice is sure to get noticed. With production by Missy Elliott, Salaam Remi, Jack Splash, Tricky, Wyclef, Stargate and more, Fearless, will definitely be the album that everyone is talking about it.

I recently had a chance to interview the budding superstar diva.

Check out our Q&A:

BGG: When did you know that you wanted to become a professional singer? Did you sing in church while growing up?
JS: Yes, I started when I was about 5 or 6. My actual earliest memory of singing was in my mom’s plays at church. She used to throw plays at church. But I decided to sing R&B professionally at the age of 12. My parents were very supportive even though my mother was really strict; we didn’t listen to a lot of R&B.

BGG: Did you grow up in a large family?
JS: I guess it’s considered large, but it doesn’t seem that large to me. They’re not a lot of singers either. My mom sang when she was younger and her sister did a bit too, but now I’m pretty much the only one who sings. They supported me with the decision to sing so my mom got me hooked up with an organization called, The Black Lily, in Philadelphia, which was started by the Jazzy Phat Nasties. It was a place for female singers to get their chance to shine. So I sang there like every other Tuesday so I would go there, sing at night and then get up early the next morning and go to school. It was crazy! (laughing)

BGG: I’m sure it was worth it since you were doing what you loved.
JS: Yeah, it was! I got a chance to watch and learn from performers like Floetry, Kindred…I got a chance to soak up all of the things that they do that make them great. I got signed when I was 16 to Jive Records…(long pause) It didn’t work out! (laughing) I think the main reason was because I was so young and I didn’t really know who I was as an artist and the vision they had for me wasn’t what I wanted. In the end, it ended up being a blessing in itself because it gave me time to grow and I got better at my writing, which eventually led me to getting signed to J (Records)!

BGG: What do you think about the constant comparisons between your voice and Lauryn Hill’s? I know you’ve heard that so many times!
JS: Yes, I’ve heard it a million times! I never thought before this song came out that I’d be compared to Lauryn because I didn’t think that we sounded anything alike. But it’s not a bad thing, Lauryn’s a great artist, I love her, I listen to her! I listened to the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill about a million times so it’s safe to say that she’s influenced me; but I think because of the reggae vibe of the first single, it’s easy to make that comparison, but once people hear the rest of the album, they’ll be like, “She’s nothing like Lauryn Hill.” I mean it’s cool; she’s a great artist.

BGG: What inspired the hit, “Need U Bad?”
JS: It was a feeling thing. I was in the studio working with Missy (Elliott) and she presented the track and it just felt good. Lyrically the song speaks to me. The sound made me want to write something to it. The track made me want to sing “need u bad.” Once we did it and actually while we were doing it, we realized that it was special.

BGG: What was it like shooting your first music video? Was it what you expected?
JS: Yeah, it was really everything that I expected. Long hours, tiring, work, but it was fun. I had a wonderful director, Jonathan Mannion, who coached me through it realizing that it was my first video. It was not a lot of pressure on set; it was kind of like, “go ahead, do your thing.” The way he filmed it made it easier. Filming me doing things that I’m used to doing in my element like, which is either recording or performing live so it was cool.

BGG: Where did you shoot it?
JS: We shot it in Brooklyn.

Check out her debut video below:

BGG: How would you describe your forthcoming debut CD?
JS: Different. It’s different from anything else. It’s real and relatable. The subjects that I’m speaking about, people feel and I don’t think a lot of people touch on the subjects that I talk about on my album. Musically, it’s all things that I’ve been influenced by so far so there’s a bit of hip-hop, of course R&B, jazz, reggae, pop, it’s everything in there.

BGG: What are some of the subjects that you talk about?
JS: What subjects don’t I talk about! (laughing) There’s one song that seems to be getting good feedback called, “Bust Your Windows.” I’m not really promoting violence or really busting somebody’s windows out. The main message in that song is about there being consequences to infidelity on anybody’s part. You know, love can really make you do some really crazy things, but know that there are always consequences to your actions.

BGG: I know that you’ve been singing since you were 5-years-old, but do you ever get nervous while performing? If so, what do you do to get over the butterflies?
JS: No, not really. I guess it’s because I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s become second nature. I just get so much love (when I’m on stage) that it just feels good to just release.

BGG: What makes your sound unique from the other R&B female artists on the airwaves today?
JS: I think first my voice, I don’t think there are a lot of people who sound like me. Secondly, I’d say my lyrics. I personally, don’t hear many females speaking about the things I speak about sets me apart. Plus, the fact that I’m a writer too; I’ve written my whole album.

BGG: I know that you’ve penned songs for other artists in the past, such as Christina Milian, are you still writing for other artists? If so, who?
JS: No, I really focus on getting my stuff out. I’ve been on the backburner for so long so I’ve just been focused all on my album. But of course I’d like to write for other artists. I would like to submit a song to Fantasia. I’m actually supposed to.

BGG: If you could choose to do a duet with anyone who would it be? Why?
JS: Andre 3000. He’s creative and I love to be around creative people. Also, Kanye West. I love being around people who aren’t afraid to be different and try different things.

BGG: What’s in the water in Philadelphia? That city has spawned so many great musical acts. Do you think that artists from Philadelphia have a unique sound?
JS: There is a rich history there of soulful music. Gamble & Huff were pioneers of hit records. They were great writers and their songs have stood the test of time and are even relevant today. I think that people who come from Philly, we know that’s what the background is and we want to carry it on.

BGG: What’s next for you? Are you going on a promotional tour?
JS: I’m doing a lot of radio promo right now and I do have a couple of shows lined up. So we’ll be probably going on tour soon.

BGG: What do you want people to know about, Jazmine Sullivan?
JS: Jazmine Sullivan is very thankful for all of the support that she’s been getting. This is what I love to do. I’m just grateful that I have this opportunity. I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long and it’s just overwhelming that I really get to do what I love.
Just keep supporting and I’ll keep making good music.

**While in the process of recording and promoting her album, Jazmine will give fans an inside look into her life by leaving voice mail updates along her journey. Fans can call Jazmine at (215) 789-4753 to hear her updates and leave messages!


kbl said...

I loved the interview, great job! She is beautiful and I love her sound! Keep R&B alive girlfriend!!!!

MeMe said...

Wow! I must admit when I heard her first single I was like, "who is this Lauryn Hill wanna be," but after reading this interview, I am definitely willing to give her cd a listen so I can check out what she has to offer as an artist. She seems like an artist worth trying.

Thanks for enlightening me BGG.

Kelli Kolors said...

You did a really great jon interviewing her. The questions you asked were goods ones for everyone to really get to know about the artist.

Stay Blessed and Focused!

Kelli Kolors

B said...

What a wonderful surprise for a Tuesday morning, BGG. She has a beauuuutiful soulful voice. Something that has obviously been lacking in mainstream music for quite some time (but don't let me start rantin'). Hope she does link up with Andre 3-thou in the future because that would be dope. Loves it!

Mrs. Kim said...


You are Awesome! The interview was very informative especially for those who are new to the Sullivan sound. You did an Excellent job.

Mrs. Kim

kitty vodka said...

this was awesome. good job!!! and u look cute in the pic :)

Product Junkie Diva said...

Totally love her music!!!!! She has such an amazing voice. I have been following her for a little while now and I hope she continues to make great music. "I'm in love with another man" is one of my favs from her.

Wes said...

I'm really feeling Jazmine.. "Need U Bad' is in heavy rotation on my ipod right now. Hip hop needs her bad!
Great interview as usual!

antithesis said...

you always do great interviews. she's a great artist. i know she gets compared to lauryn and that is not a bad thing but she is an artist in her own merit. also, it's funny she doesnt look at all how i imagined based on how she sounds on the radio, but she is as beautiful as her voice is.

K-Bear said...

BGG, you did it again. Another great interview of another great BG! I am so impressed with her very adult sound. We (slightly) vintage BGs need a grown up sound like hers right about now. She really is awesome and I just love that song. I rarely purchase music but this is one I will buy today! Thanks, BGG!

T said...

Awesome. I was sitting in the car with my best friend and she cranked "Need U Bad" up like "this is MY song." I was like who is this? She's like... I dunno... a new chick. I'm like a new chick sounds like THAT?

Then a week later, I log onto BGG and there's the new chick!


PBW said...

Great interview, BBG!

I've been listening to Jazmine's single on my ipod for a while, so this interview was timely and interesting!!!!

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview! The song sounds great, I can't wait to hear more.

Nicole said...

I am loving the new movement of artist who actually write their own music. She has a great sound and look! Great job on the interview. She is now on my artist to watch!

Aisha said...

Finally, a breath of fresh air. I loved Jazmine's single when I first heard it. I love her voice and delivery. I really respect singer/songwriters. You are truly getting a real sense of who she is. Jazmine is really talented, so I know she will make a great impact in the music business.

Deirdra said...

Nice interview! I got the feeling that I was really getting to know the artist in a personal way. This is someone I would probably support by buying her CD.

Good stuff...

De' Carr

Anonymous said...

What an awesome job. Just marvelous

Be Just said...

I just heard her song the other day. She sounds great! She has an original sound. It's funny though, she sounds like Lauren Hill. She gets my vote! 2 thumbs up!

Rashida L Williams~The Glam Doctor said...

I havent heard this artist yet BUT I look forward to doing so. This interview was slammin and very informative. I felt like I got to know Jazmine a lot.

Anonymous said...

Great interview!! i liked the song when i first heard it but never knew who it was. Now that i know im defiantly going to grab the album. hopefully she will make music with Kanye or Andre 3000!

Eb the Celeb said...


I m so so so so so jealous of you right now... I love her!!!

And cant wait for this album to drop!

Eb the Celeb said...

Oh... and you two this super duper FAB in the pic

Kwana said...

Great interview BG. Thanks for the intro.

12kyle said...

great interview!

prior to this interview, i had heard her name once or twice. i'm gonna check her out

Karen said...

This was a great interview! It gave really good information on the artist and has me looking out for her music. I wish that you could interview all new artists before they hit the radio. Keep doin' what you do!

Ms.Erika said...

I really like the sound of her voice. It's got that rough edge to it.I agree, she isn't what I expected her to look like. I will be adding this to my list of downloads.


Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

good for u
great job
now just smile more

Candace Corey said...

To be truthful, I didn't really know who Jazmine Sullivan was, but this story made me feel like I could just sit down and talk to her all day like "one of the girls". She seems very down to earth.

I was especially impressed that she has written for other artists. It takes talent to be able to sing as beautiful as she does...and with such soul, but it's another talent to be able to WRITE music too. Not many "successful" singers today can say they actually write the music they sing.

I also loved watching the video. Unlike a printed magazine, it is nice to be able to listen to her music and watch the video NOW. It makes you want to run out and purchase her CD immediately.

I wish much success for Miss Sullivan! Fantastic article!

Karmen said...

I think you have saved this talented singer from an underserved death. I heard her singing gospel before, and then on the Kindred cd. I loved her voice. When i heard the "lauryn hill" song...well i was less than enthusiastic. Karla after reading this, i am more than willing to gve this d a chance. i will even buy it on it's release date.

that guy said...

great interview, great pic, great song & video. keep up the great work bgg!!!!

Tales of a Diva Housewife said...

I heard this song, LOVED IT! and couldn't figure out who sang it. Thanks for the scoop BGG, now I know. Jazmine is fabulous

Tawanna said...

Ms.Lady sounds like Ms.Hill and I love Lauryn!! However, it was a great interview.

jodicarey said...

love the sound, great interview. liked the past history on how she started. i will look her up, thanks

Brown Girl Gumbo said...

@Everyone - Thanks for the wonderful compliments on the interview. She was such a pleasure to interview and I am a fan of her music. Thanks again for the comments. :-)

Anonymous said...

TKS! for introducing Jazmine, great voice. I want to check out her CD.

yummy411 said...

i love it! thanks BGG!!!

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