For almost a decade now, Philadelphia raised R&B songstress Jazmine Sullivan has been recording and making music. Whether delivering silky smooth vocals on hits like “Need You Bad” and “Lions, Tigers and Bears,” or getting revenge on an ex in the sensational, “Bust Your Windows,” Ms. Sullivan has proved that she’s got what it takes to deliver some true R&B flavored goodies. Last month, after a long four year music hiatus, the sultry singer released her latest set, ‘Reality Show,’ to critical acclaim. Tonight, she is taking her ‘Show’ front and center at the TLA, and she was kind enough to stop by and spill some music tea with Philly Mixape. The two of us had a fab music gabfest, as the diva dished about her Philly upbringing, what’s it like working side-by-side with Missy Elliot and if “Bust Your Windows” is indeed about anyone in particular. Take a sip of some music tea with the lovely Jazmine Sullivan below.
PM-Kicking things off, let’s talk about your Philly upbringinging. Which part of Philly are you from?
JS-I’m from the Strawberry Mansion section, I lived there from when I was three until I was just about seventeen.
PM-Any favorite memories? Maybe any favorite spots that you like to go to these days?
JS-Really just kicking it. I loved going to the studio. I went to Larry Gold studios for years and years, that was one of my favorite spots because I love making music. Let me see, okay, you know what I love now? Delaware Ave, and also the (Spruce Street) Pier. It’s so cool there, I love it. Last summer, I went a few times, layed in the hammocks. It was the best.
PM-Now, growing up in Philly, you must have been influenced by a ton of local Philly music artists. Any particular ones that inspired you?
JS-Oh,yeah! I started performing at night at at event called the Black Lily, which was at 5 Spot, which you know, sadly burnt down. There were so many memories there. There was Kindred, I don’t know if you remember them, but that’s who I made my first recording with. There were a lot of Philly artists that came through every Tuesday night. Let’s see, Jaguar came through, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild. Pretty much all of the major Philly artists performed there and I got to see the perform as a young kid. There was nothing like it.
PM-I know you must be excited to bring it back to Philly. What can your fans expect from your show?
JS-We’re gonna do some older songs, most from the first album, ‘Fearless.’ And then maybe like five, six songs from the new album. It’s gonna be fun. I just did my first show for the tour a couple days ago in New Orleans, it was great. I’m most excited because my whole family’s gonna be there. And I just recently lost an aunt, so it’s going to be emotional, knowing that she was gonna be there, watching me and cheering me on. So, there’ s definitely going to be a lot of emotions running for me during my time back.
PM-Let’s talk about your breakout hit, “Bust Your Windows.” Now, I know that you’ve probably been asked this questions a million times, but I just have to know, is it about anyone in particular?
JS-(Laughs) Yeah, that was actually a true story. I did that. I was young, you know. Me and my girlfriends, I was very upset. At the time, I didn’t quite know how to handle my emotions. So, that’s the way it came out. I don’t know, in some kind of way, I decided to channel all that anger into a story and actually doing it into a song. People got with it. Because they know how it feels, to lose control with it all sometimes.
PM-Diving into the new set, ‘Reality Show,’ explain the title a little bit to everyone.
JS-Of course, with all the names of the albums, I usually speak on my own reality and the things that I experience. So this album was pretty much just saying that I was in a relationship that was really bad and some of the songs reflect that as well as my own personal journey. There’s a song called “Masterpiece” which is about my journey with self love, getting to that place where everyday I’m loving myself more. Also…it’s about my addiction to reality T.V cause I watch a lot of it during my hiatus as well! So, it’s pretty much all of that wrapped into one. It’s different stories, it’s my stories. All that.
PM-Just to put you on the spot a little bit, name one album you can’t live without and why.
JS-Okay…’The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.’ It kinda changed a lot for me. I was a kid at the time, and I know there were a lot of us kids who listened to the album. We just felt we could relate to what she was talking about. In some kind of way, we felt we understood it. Musically, it was just so different. It wasn’t pretentious. It was really just free and flowing. It was really vibey. She was saying something at the time.
PM-I also know that you’ve worked with Philly Mixtape’s favorite music gal Missy Elliot in the studio. Tell everyone about how what it’s like to work side-by-side with her making music.
JS-Missy is such a hard worker. She taught me the meaning of staying up all night and just getting it done. What I love most about her is that she just really loves music, she loves vocals and vocalists. When she works with somebody, she like really believes in them. It’s never about anything else but the music. She’s just quality.
PM-One last question, one that I love to ask everyone who I spill music tea with. What would you say to somebody who was just starting out in this crazy music business?
JS-Be yourself, don’t try to replicate other artists. Find that thing about you that’s unique. People are drawn to uniqueness, so just be you.
To get lost in Ms. Sullivan’s new album, go right here.
If you want to go see tonight’s show, you should check this out.