Interview by: Shantel Noel
She sang her heart out on records like Need You Bad, Lions,Tigers and Bears and Bust Your Windows. There is no replicating her talent. Upon quitting the industry, it felt as if she left center stage while the spotlight was still on her. Now that Jazmine Sullivan is back, the show must go on.
An artist’s career is often short lived and it is nearly impossible to re-win over the hearts of fans. Put it this way, you are only as good as your last hit song. This need not apply to Jazmine Sullivan as she is even better than ever on her newly released album, Reality Show. Her new album has been well received and the world is curious to know what else she has in store. Please allow her to re-introduce herself.
hGRL: Let me start by saying that everyone has been anticipating your return. You sort of left us hanging.
JS: There were some things I needed to take care of. Those things helped me grow. Without a break I could have never made a comeback.
hGRL: I hear you on that one. Your new album, Reality Show is absolutely beautiful. It pretty much mirrors what society has become given the power of the Internet and our obsession with beauty. Songs like Mascara, Dumb which features Meek Mill touch on those very subjects. The girl that is being paid to be pretty but has no real talent but somehow she cannot afford to not be pretty. Then there is the guy who acquires fame and his character changes. Do you ever feel pressured by industry standards?
JS: I think everybody feels pressured at some point in their lives. Everyone wants to look and feel beautiful. What works for me is being comfortable with myself. We all aren’t supposed to look or be the same.
hGRL: I think your talent trumps everything. Your beauty is just a bonus.
JS: Thank you.
hGRL: Does your life ever feel like a reality show and would you sit back and watch it?
JS: At one point in time yes, but that was because of my circumstances and what I was going through at the time. Would I watch my own reality show? If it wasn’t me playing the role then yes, maybe I would watch it.
hGRL: Do you feel like you’ve had to re-learn anything?
JS: In some respects yes. The industry has changed quite a bit.
hGRL: I personally live by the words “Nothing Changes, if Nothing Changes”. This has helped me with all the transitions I’ve had to navigate in life. Do you have a saying or words that you live by?
JS: I don’t think there are any words I necessarily live by [laughs].I just think that as long as I believe that the way I am is good enough and I am comfortable with who I am then that is really all I need to get by. You just have to see the beauty in everything.
hGRL: Most people in the music industry don’t get a second chance. Taking a break often means your time is up. Why do you think the world, the new and old fans have welcomed you with open arms for your second shot?
JS: I am still very amazed by that. You know coming back and realizing that people still believe in you is still something I have to digest. I think that we all have something different to offer. I think people appreciate that I am authentic and I am not trying to be anything more than myself.
hGRL: I can honestly say that your music is the script to everyone’s life events. Your song Forever Doesn’t Last gave me chills. We all have moments we wish to relive but forever often means for as long as this thing lasts. That goes for just about everything in life. What song on the album, would you say you are most attached to?
JS: It would definitely be Masterpiece (Mona Lisa). That song will always be one of those songs within my music catalogue that I will return to for years to come.
hGRL: I would like to get your opinion on the way in which Black women are portrayed on reality TV. They are often the aggressor, angry and negative in more ways than one. You mentioned in previous interviews that you love reality TV and I quote “the more ratchet the better”. Does the thought about how Black women are portrayed ever cross your mind and how do you feel about it?
JS: Yeah of course. To me, it is just entertainment. There are far more positive things out there that we can focus on. There are a lot of Black women doing positive things in the world. Women in general are making huge strides and I’d rather focus on that.
hGRL: Yes, I agree. Let’s focus on the positive. We can save all that other stuff for another day. Lastly, you will be performing in Toronto on Wednesday, April 22nd at The Phoenix Concert Theatre to a sold out crowd. What should those attending expect from your show?
JS: I heard somebody say that my shows feel like a big house party. I think that describes it perfectly. It is just my fans and I talking shit and walking through different scenarios in life while having a good time [laughs]. The overall show is pretty intimate for the most part.