The singer/songwriter on Solange, Emma Stone, the Spice Girls — and the ‘Gram
“I’ve tried,” says Jazmine Sullivan. “But I’m not that great with ialial media.” Between Twitter and Instagram alone she has a 1.25 million-member community, and still feels about social media the way lots of people do: “I’m on it a lot — but I don’t use it as much as I could.” It was five years ago that Sullivan took to the tweets to announce a hiatus from music. Devastated fans and followers wondered when the “Bust Your Windows” (from ’08) singer would return — and if she would at all.
At the time, Sullivan had just released her 2010 album, Love Me Back, featuring bold, melodic singles “Holding You Down (Goin’ in Circles),” and “10 Seconds.” She was also going through what she calls an “unhealthy” time in her first real relationship. Sullivan gradually began to re-emerge in 2014, and as faithful fans stood by, she graced them with her third project, Reality Show. Grammy-nominated, it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B Album chart, and soon after, Sullivan, who has 10 other Grammy nods, re-established her social presence. Next up? A possible collabo with Mary J. Blige, starting work on her new album, and life on Instagram — Sullivan’s grown more comfortable and confident in her interactions with fans. She even got into Barbie cosplay recently for a party. “I love taking pictures,” she said. “And my selfies.”
What’s the Twitter feed you’re currently obsessed with?
Solange — I think she’s the best thing. So creative, and the way she sees things is so beautiful. She’s fly to me.
Your most frequently used emoji?
Let me check … right now, it’s probably the eye-rolling one.
Which emotion makes you the most creative?
Unfortunately it’s pain and sadness, but it’s therapeutic for me. It’s like I have to get it out so it doesn’t tear me apart. That’s just my way of coping. Some people go to church, which is also what I do. Some people work more. I have to write about it and then I can move on.
Last show you binged through?
Last show I binge-watched was Game of Thrones and it’s on now!
What question are you asked most by fans?
‘When is the next album coming out?’ That’s always the question. And ‘Did you really bust the windows out the car?’
Ah, in the video … and what’s your response to the last one?
Yes, of course [laughs].
What is the last thing you Googled? Why?
It was today. The Beatles. I was having a Beatles day. Today, I was just in my zone and listening to the catalog and how great they were.
What did you learn about yourself during your hiatus?
That I was very strong and resilient. I also learned that my biggest enemy and my biggest obstacle was myself — my own feelings about myself — and all that self-doubt. Once I got past that, and was able to truly love myself, nothing really could stop me.
What helped you?
God. Praying a lot. My family and friends who were there to kind of remind me who I was, which I felt like I kind of lost a little in my relationship. But I had people who loved me for who I was and they helped me through it.
What did you miss most about being in the spotlight?
I don’t know [laughs]. I missed performing because I wasn’t performing at all and it’s something about being on stage and connecting with the fans who know and love the music and that’s amazing.What is one thing you did this past year that you never thought you’d do?
I can’t say that [laughs]. Let’s pass on that one because what’s coming to my mind, I can’t say.
Last stamp on your passport?
Who would you want to play you in your biopic?
I feel like it would be a mix between Taraji P. Henson because she got that hoodness about her — and Emma Stone. That’s like my sister in my head.
What is the most embarrassing music you have to admit you listen to?
I’m not embarrassed because I thought they were the greatest thing — the Spice Girls. My mom used to be so mad. She’s like ‘what are you listening to?! I don’t get this!’
Which pro athlete would you never want to trade places with?
Probably a boxer because I can’t be getting hit in my face. I guess Floyd [Mayweather].
Last print magazine you purchased, or subscribe to?
The last magazine I got was probably the Ebony that I’m on the cover of.
Where do you get your serious news?
Probably social media, or my mom. She’s like, ‘Did you hear this?’
Where do you get your entertainment news?
Instagram, or Facebook.
Last concert you went to?
Rihanna. It was awesome.
I don’t remember my first concert, but it was probably a gospel artist. I listen to a lot of gospel.
Last talk you gave?
I just spoke to an all-girls’ high school in New Orleans. I enjoyed myself so much, more than anything I’ve done in awhile.
How does it make you feel knowing that so many people can relate to your experiences?
I’m amazed by it, but I also know we’re all the same no matter what you do, what your occupation is. We’re all the same, and I’m glad we all have something to connect us because … a lot of the pain that you deal with makes you feel like you’re alone in your feelings. I feel like when I write about it, and people hear it, it connects us all and we don’t feel like that anymore.
Where does your courage come from?
My courage comes from my belief in God — there are things that are bigger than me.