Written by FrontPage Detroit
Known for her powerful vocals and head-turning curves, Jill Scott is fabulous, fierce and living her life like it's golden in the new year. The Grammy award-winning singer whose double-platinum debut album Who is Jill Scott? captivated the music world more than a decade ago, remains at the top of her game today.
The world-class diva with home-girl charm just completed her six-city US Summer Block Party Tour and world tour in London, Madrid, Istanbul and Spain. She shows no signs of stopping and recently shared the screen alongside Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Queen Latifah and Adepero Oduye in Lifetime's Steel Magnolias. Ms. Scott wants it to be clear that motherhood is her first priority. "I enjoy every bit of motherhood and I happily embrace being single." She sat down exclusively with FRONTPAGE Detroit to talk about her career and personal evolution, living through the rumors and being able to have faith through it all.
FRONTPAGE Detroit: From your first album until now you have remained at the top of your game. Talk about your personal evolution.
Jill Scott: Everything about me is evolving but it's mostly that my life keeps changing. I think my music changes as my life changes. I've traveled a lot and I'm still listening to an abundance of music from all over the world and I've just always hoped for longevity. I look to Frankie Beverly and Bette Midler as role models for longevity because they know how to connect with their audience. Some are going to trail off and others are going to hold on. You just have to be true to yourself as much as possible in any direction you go in. And that's just my path.
FPD: You've been hailed as the new Sonya Sanchez and Sarah Vaughn, all rolled into one. What's been your overall direction in how you've positioned yourself within the industry?
JS: Wow. I wish I had a plan. I wish I was smart enough to have a plan on how to position myself. All I know is to keep going and as long as I enjoy it that is what I will do. If by chance I do not enjoy it then I will stop and do something else. This is my life and to share it with everyone in this way musically is such a pleasure. I wish I could tell you what I'm going to do next. I want to act because I love to do it and I want to sing because I have to do it. I'm still in that place within myself where I have to sing and that's good.
FPD: What are your proudest career moments?
JS: One of my proudest moments was having Stevie Wonder and Prince in my dressing room at the same time. Stevie Wonder was beat-boxing and Prince was signing one of my songs. That was crazy. I still get chills when I think about it. Another moment was being invited to the Nobel Peace Prize Awards and I did not know I was closing act. There was a moment where I was exiting the stage for the next person to come on and I realized that I was it. There are so many moments. I have just had such an incredible journey as an artist.
FPD: Your writing is prolific. What inspires you and what message do you want to send?
JS: If I could sum of my existence as an artist, it would really just be one message and that is to please be all of yourself. Trying to fit into a box is only going to make your back hurt. You must be every last ounce of yourself because it will propel you forward and keep you happy even during the midst of hurt and confusion. I wholly believe that. The saddest moment of my life is when I wrote Whenever You're Around and Hear My Call. And there is a blessing even in the darkness. You have to find the blessing and own it when you are upset. Allow yourself to be yourself. It's okay if you're mean for a few days. The people that love you will understand and you can apologize later. That's what my music is about. Sometimes it is spiritual, sometimes sexy and sometimes erotic. Sometimes it's emotional or light- hearted. There is a whole world going on inside of everyone.
FPD: What changed in your life when you turned 40?
JS: I just said that I am going to be all of myself without holding anything back. And, girl, wait until you turn 40. It is a beautiful freedom in that as mother, a lover and as a friend. There's a beautiful freedom in all of it.
FPD: How are you balancing motherhood?
JS: Now I do what I have to do and what I love to do is a challenge. My son--whew that boy is so good. He is so good. Everything about him. I've never loved anyone like him. I never knew it was even possible. I am a working mom and so I really have to utilize my village. I surround him with people that not only love him but love me as well. He and I are a unit. So while I am on tour he's with my family. There are nine kids all together. His vocabulary becomes better. His playing skills become better. He is so funny. He's picking up on things. I do not tour with my son because touring is hard. I know he is very resilient but traveling is pretty hard. So he's surrounded by love. When I am not traveling it's all about he and I. We just do what we like to do. We swim a lot and play. We color and we sing. He's got a karaoke machine. And I just try my best to work hard and enjoy my work. In between that, I find some time for myself to settle myself and, of course, make sure that I educate my son and enjoy him and have him enjoy me.
FPD: How do you overcome the rumors and speculations that people say about your life?
JS: I'm on Twitter a lot (laughing). Sometimes I address these things and sometimes I don't. I take it with a grain of salt. I give it to who it belongs to. I take the admonishment with a grain of salt as well. Sometimes people have a point and I look at that too. I don't own either...the praise or any of it. I do what I do because I have to and because I love to. Because I need to. And I would still perform, act, work, direct and do all of those things without an audience.
People are always going talk about you. They will always have negative or positive things to say about you. It doesn't really define you at the end of the day. Who can define another person? I'm still trying to define my damn self (laughing). Life is coming and it's here. We are blessed. That means in the next minute something miraculous can happen and can change everything about you. You have to hold yourself through anything. I try to have faith in the face of crazy. I try my best to have patience in the middle of chaos. I try but I don't always win.
FPD: What inspires your fashion these days?
JS: Recently I've been inspired by African texture fabrics and colors. I've been enjoying wearing colors. I have a new haircut and it's beautiful and so that changes things up a bit.
FPD: What words do you live by?
JS: I'm enjoying my body. I feel strong. As long as I am healthy and as long as my doctor is not looking at me crazy and I get in the gym and work out at least four to five times per week I'm good. If someone else doesn't like it, that's okay. They don't have to. It's not mandatory. I will not ever allow the opinions of others to destroy what I believe. And I've been loved my whole life by my mother, my father, grandmother and grandfather, aunt, uncles and cousins. I have been loved and that is so empowering. And now I got this little boy. Girl, please. Please.
FPD: It sounds like your life really is complete at this point.
JS: Well, I don't know about that. Someone said to me the other day and I took it literally and maybe I should not have. They said well, I guess that's your little man now. And I said well no, that's my little boy. My man is my man. That's a whole different party. I'm just grateful that he came. I'm grateful that he came at this time. Then I thought well, I'm 40 and I should not be having a three year-old but I'm glad he came when he did. I believe that I will be a much better mother to him now than I would be at 23. I was told that I could not have children. I think ladies must be specific about their partner. I don't think raising a child alone is a good choice. You know, there are others who think differently and that's okay. I think pregnancy alone is cruel (laughing).
FPD: Do you want to get married again?
JS: I'm very positive about love. I'm not concerned about it though. It's not heavy on my mind. I need to be earned. Because I have love to give doesn't mean I have to. I need to be earned and so I am waiting for someone who thoroughly deserves me. In the meantime, I am going to have a good time and let a couple of handsome men take me out on dates and tell me that I am pretty. It's about feeling good about yourself. If love happens then it is the will of the Creator. I am no longer in the love business because apparently I do not make great decisions. So I am no longer trying to decide. FPD
To stay connected with the songstress, visit her official website, www.jillscott.com