Critic favorite and R&B powerhouse diva, Jazmine Sullivan took to her Twitter account to announce a hiatus from music. Jazmine just released her flawless and particularly eclectic sophomore album Love Me Back a month ago and would still be in the midst of promotion for the album which has yet to live up to the success of the first. Before looking deeper to the musical tragedy, take a look at Jazmine’s tweets to her almost 92,000 followers below:
Jazmine went to a performing arts school where she focused on vocal music in her hometown of Philadelphia where she sang in church choirs. At a very young age, Jazmine won a chance to perform at the famous New York venue The Apollo and at the young age of 13 sang a duet with the legendary Stevie Wonder for his grandson’s birthday.
Jazmine showed determination to become a big recording artist by being signed to the huge Jive Records (home of Ciara and Britney Spears) at age 16, where she recorded an entire album though it was never released and she was dropped before her career ever started. During this time, Jazmine met and created a friendship with veteran hip-hop artist Missy Elliott. It through this connection that Jazmine was able to make a living as a songwriter getting credits with the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Monica, and the first single of Christina Milian’s third album “Say I” (which was originally done by Jazmine–an indication of what her earlier material may have sounded like).
She continued the songwriting route, before landing a deal with J Records under which she recorded and released her official debut album Fearless. The album’s lead single (which was the closest sound to Lauryn Hill we could ask for) “Need U Bad” was offered as the iTunes Free Weekly download and eventually turned into a #1 single on the Hip-Hop/R&B charts as well as a Top 40 pop hit. The all-important second single “Bust Your Windows” became her most successful pop hit to date, and even got a second wave of popularity by being covered on massive television show “Glee.”
Fearless went on to debut at #6 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, earn 8 Grammy nominations, eventually earn Gold certification (500,000 copies sold), and land Jazmine on two of the biggest R&B tours of 2008 and 2009.
The next album Love Me Back started with less than stellar results. To begin with, the insecure title seems to give an insight into how Jazmine may feel about the industry probably stemming from over 7 years in the industry. Success-wise, the first single “Holding You Down (Goin’ In Circles)” reaching #3 on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, but only #60 on the Hot 100. The particularly incredible 2nd single “10 Seconds” (which has some big old-school Mary J. Blige similarities–a very good thing) failed to ignite either chart only hitting #31 on R&B.
With two singles failing to ignite much of a spark, a pushback (which is never a good sign) and an album release date after the busy Thanksgiving shopping weekend, it seemed Jazmine was getting her own case of jitters by admitting in interviews that she worried she was going to suffer the dreaded sophomore slump and that due to the success of the first album, there was initial pressure. The album ended up missing the Top 10, debuting at #17 with 57,000 copies sold.
Yet despite not as successful results with this album, Jazmine performed at The Soul Train Awards, began touring with fan Mary J. Blige, and was still named Billboard’s Rising Star of 2010 (the award given to Lady GaGa last year).
So what would make her want to leave the industry right now? Was there label problems? I would go to say that Jazmine is actually getting more important recognition today versus the kinds she did in the Fearless era. Unless she is focusing completely on chart position and sales, Jazmine should be extremely proud of what she’s done not only strictly musically but career-wise as well. Despite she has one of the biggest and best voices in the game, an insecure girl could lie below everything.
It’s been proven that those who look back and focus on their failures (which Jazmine could see from not winning any of her Grammy nominations, an album push back, lower chart positions, etc) rather than their successes are more likely to be unhappy and less successful in the future. Could simple insecurity be hurting Jazmine so much as to take a break from the career she has been working towards for so long? Or is this simply a cover up to some business politics? Give me your take in the comments. In the meantime, let’s just hope Jaz “finds herself” quickly and gets back to performing and recording! Check out one of my favorite tracks by the powerhouse, the Prince-inspired “Don’t Make Me Wait.”
“Don’t Make Me Wait” Jazmine Sullivan