Jazmine Sullivan Discusses Putting Herself First, Breakups and Her New Album [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
When you attempt to make a comeback in the music industry, you have to return sounding even better than when you left. Jazmine Sullivan understands this. She made her return to music last year with the release of her third album, ‘Reality Show,’ last month, following a five-year hiatus and a decision to leave music for good.
However, her fears and personal issues couldn’t keep her away from her passion. In fact, they made her stronger. With her first single, ‘Dumb’ featuring Meek Mill, released in May 2014, it was obvious the soulful singer-songwriter and occasional producer was back and hopefully here to stay.
Jazmine, a 27-year-old Philadelphia native, has had time to grow. She’s made it through a tough breakup, dealt with her insecurities and laid out all of her idiosyncrasies on ‘Reality Show.’ The Boombox sat down with the songstress recently, at a listening session for her new album, to discuss her return, freeing herself of the need to impress people and her growth as an artist ("I just wanted to do me"). She even reveals a gem that didn't make the album. Get involved in the conversation below.
What is one life experience that has helped in your personal development since 2010's 'Love Me Back?'
Something that has helped me definitely was the relationship that I went through.
Yes, you can hear it pour out of this album. You passed the mourning period -- where you are crying your eyes -- now you are this new evolved woman like on ‘Masterpiece.’
Yeah, I’d say the relationship certainly helped me to learn things about myself. I am glad that I finally got to a place where I realize that he wasn’t the guy for me and I deserve so much more. Talking about ‘Masterpiece’ it took all of those things, those horrible situations that I went through, to get to a place where I can learn to love and appreciate myself. But I had to feel like crap probably to get to that place where I am like "I am better than this."
Watch Jazmine Sullivan Perform 'Masterpiece'
Is there a song that didn't make this album that you really wanted to be on there, but it couldn't for some reason?
No clearance issues, but If I had it my way it would be more than 12 songs because I feel like I have so much more to say. So I guess maybe that is clearance? [Laughs] I have a whole lot of songs.
Tell us more about that. You have been gone for a while; you probably have a catalog of hits.
Well, I don’t know if it’s hits, but I definitely think there is more to my story. There was this song called ‘Champagne Tears’ I put a little bit on Instagram. It’s actually the opposite of ‘Masterpiece.’ It’s one of those songs where you just feel s---ty! You wake up and you are looking at yourself like "Ugh." That was one of the songs, where I felt like maybe I could have shown more, you know, because I feel like people feel like that some days. Artists or the person that you look up to the most feel like crap some days too. Ultimately, I just really wanted people to know that we all go through the same things as humans. Also, I felt like on the album I could have done another ballad.
Watch Jazmine Sullivan's 'Dumb' Video Feat. Meek Mill
You say that, but on the album you can really hear your maturity as a vocalist. You have more restraint and control over you voice. It’s refreshing.
Thank you. I definitely was more focused on telling the story. So at times if it meant restraining particular things or changing the sound of my voice I wanted to get the story across. I think that’s where I have grown. I wanted people to get my story as opposed to trying to show that I can sing every song. Now, I’m more focused on people understanding the song and I think I helped by going into it trying to tell it right.
What is one thing you learned about yourself while recording 'Reality Show' that you were surprised by?
One thing I learned about myself is that I don’t have to try so hard to impress people. I think that once you start being comfortable with yourself and what you have people appreciate that too. I chose not to sing or do all the riffs and runs on certain songs. I think when I did it it was like an ego thing -- trying to prove what I could do. Even though I don’t think I did it so much with every album, but I feel like with this particular album, I was really done with trying to impress. I just wanted to do me.