In January, one of the greatest singers of our time, Jazmine Sullivan, released her third album entitled, ‘Reality Show.’ The album, deemed as a sort re-invention of the singer, came after a 5 year hiatus from the music industry. Recently, we caught up with the lovely Jazmine Sullivan to talk about her new album, that 5-year hiatus, her inspiration on a new generation of singer, her ‘Reality Show’ tour, and tons more. Check out our interview below:
Recently, you stepped away from the music industry to take care of your personal life. Talk to us a little about that decision and what you learned during that time.
I decided to step away from the music industry a few years back because, at the time, I felt I had nothing left to give it. The little I had left, I chose to invest in my personal life, which led ultimately to the road of discovering who I am. I learned that I had to give myself some T.L.C. so that I could give it back to the world. I started that journey, and wrote about it, along with other things I saw, in my album. Upon my return, I found that music and the music industry itself was changing. And that was a frightening discovery. However, it was a perfect opportunity to use my renewed faith to jump in there and give it all I had!
Was music always something you knew that you’d come back to one day? Or did you have every intention on retiring after your last album ‘Love Me Back’?
I don’t think I ever said that I was giving music up for good. How could I? I knew I was born to sing my whole life. But at the same time, music is not my whole life. So I had to address what was broken so that I could continue to do what I knew I was meant to do.
Talk to us about the process of making this new album ‘Reality Show’. Was it therapeutic for you to get back to writing and singing in the studio?
It was absolutely therapeutic because writing allowed me to reflect and to let go of the things that were holding me down. I’ve always loved the recording process. But this time, I altered my routine by recording most of it in Philly (my hometown), and surrounding myself with only a few people like my engineer and occasionally my mom. People I felt safe around.
Your last album was released almost five years ago, and R&B has changed so much since then. So was it a conscious decision to make this album more contemporary in terms of sound and lyric?
Yeah, I was discovering that things were changing and yeah, I think I made a conscious decision that this record had to be special. I had a fear that people might have forgotten about me or simply moved on, so I knew I couldn’t half step since I’d been gone so long. But in my absence, and even at my lowest, I’d always had a sincere love for music, so I was open to all possibilities. Not to mention, my love of reality shows and just living and learning in this current day, it all contributed to a more contemporary sound.
One of our favorites, and a fan favorite from the album, is “Masterpiece (Mona Lisa).” The title is so fitting because the song truly is timeless and masterful! It gave us instant Michael Jackson vibes (especially towards the end)! Talk to us about making that record in particular.
“Masterpiece (Mona Lisa)” was the very last song that I recorded for this album! I was at home when the song came to me and I started to work out chords on my keyboard. I called my good friend Anthony Bell to help produce it with me because he gets me and I knew he would bring to the table exactly what I was looking for. He hand picked a choir consisting of some of the best gospel singers in Philly and there was a moment when I just knew that this record was bigger than me or anyone else in that studio that day.
What’s your personal favorite song on the album?
I’m very proud of all of these songs but I think “Mascara” might be my favorite because, I really enjoyed the process of using my imagination to tell a story. I also loved Key Wane’s track and what he and Salaam did with the music.
In recent months, we’ve seen people like Sam Smith and Jessie J speak out about their love and admiration of you, and how they’d like to collab in the future. Are their any plans to work with them soon?
I am equally enamored by Sam Smith and Jessie J! When Sam graciously invited me to open for him in Detroit a few months ago, I was so humbled. I got to see his show and saw that he truly deserves all the love he’s getting! I met Jessie J a while ago and knew that her day would come, and I’m so happy for what’s going on with her now! As of right now, there are no plans but I am definitely open because they both a great artists!
Are you back to writing songs for others, or is the focus more on just Jazmine right now?
I have been so focused on my own project right now, but I have written some hooks a few rappers including Ludacris’ upcoming album. I have so much music out there that you never know when a Jazmine Sullivan song will pop up!
You named your named ‘Reality Show.’ So is reality television something we can expect from you in the future?!
One of the things I love about reality shows are people’s ability to bare it all on camera — both good and bad. That’s something that I am not comfortable with at this time, but I’ll never say never. I guess you’ll have to stay tuned. 🙂
If you did do a reality show in the future, what would surprise fans about your life?
Maybe the normality of my life or how much I like to joke and laugh.
Lastly, since you’re album is titled ‘Reality Show’, we wanted to play a quick game of ‘Would You Rather’ with you, based on your favorite TV shows.
Okay, let’s go!
‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ or ‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’?
I love them both and hate to choose, but if I had to, it would be ‘Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta’ because it’s just a tad more ratchet, like I like it!
‘Basketball Wives’ or ‘Bad Girls Club’?
I’m a fan of both shows but I’d have to say ‘Basketball Wives’, especially since they featured my song “Good Enough” off my album, ‘Love Me Back’ a few years ago.
‘Mob Wives’ or ‘Dance Moms’?
Mob Wives is definitely another one of my favorites!
Thank you so much Jazmine for talking with us! Any last words for your fans?
Last words? Just that I love my fans and I thank them for supporting me and this new project. I am grateful for those who love music enough to support it, even in this ever changing culture and industry. Let us hold on to it!