Jazmine Sullivan has a voice that is nothing short of magical. Indeed, it “imbues her lyrics with boundless depth and emotion as she sings of love, lust, and heartbreak (and the infinite expanse in between),” Apple Music writes.
So it’s easy to see why she is nominated for an Image Award for Outstanding Female Artist for her Heaux Tales track, "Lost One." She is also scheduled to perform alongside Maxwell during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards airing LIVE on BET and simulcast across ViacomCBS Networks including CBS, BET Her, VH1, MTV, MTV2, and LOGO on Saturday, March 27 at 8/7C.
Even certified industry giants like Maxwell are excited by her talent. “So excited to perform on the 52nd @NAACPImageAwards, March 27 2021 on @BET,” Maxwell tweeted recently. “Much love to my sister @JazmineSullivan who is also performing!”
Sullivan, 33, is a Philadelphia native who began singing in her church choir. And as a preteen, she performed on It’s Showtime At The Apollo. Performances at Philly’s weekly Black Lily showcase led to a demo deal, and a fateful encounter with Missy Elliott, who wasted no time signing and producing Sullivan’s debut album, Fearless. The veteran rapper even performs on the lead single, “Need U Bad.” She has written for Jennifer Hudson, Christina Milian and Monica. She’s also collaborated with Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Fantasia and Snoop Dogg, and won a BET Centric Award in 2009.
Here are 10 times she showed up and showed out on a song:
Sullivan shut down the 2020 Soul Train Awards on BET in November, 2020 with a powerful performance of ‘Lost One.’ Sullivan’s voice soars in this melancholy guitar-based ballad about a breakup. Written by Sullivan, the song was released by RCA Records on August 28, 2020, as the lead single from her extended play Heaux Tales. Upon its release, she hopped on Instagram to thank followers for their support. "Thank you everyone for the love so far!" she captioned a photo. "I know ‘Lost One’ is hella stripped [and] short. It just felt like the most appropriate offering from the EP considering everything that’s happening these days!" Check out the post below:
She hits all of the notes in this single that hit No. 1 on Billboard's Adult R&B Airplay chart in March 2021. The single represents Sullivan's first chart-topper out of eleven entries, according to ABC News Radio. Her previous singles, 2008's "Need You Bad" and 2015's "Let It Burn," both reached the top five on the Adult R&B Airplay chart at #2 and #4, respectively, the report notes. Check out the music video below:
"Insecure," with Bryson Tiller, released in 2017, was featured on Issa Rae's Emmy-nominated HBO series of the same title. The single found new life during the global pandemic in September 2020 with the viral #insecurechallenge. Participants made videos of themselves doing their best to glide the melodies like Sullivan, but not like the singer herself. Sullivan eventually showed up and showed out for her fans in a how-to video on Instagram. But she only made the challenge seem all the more difficult because no one could take it to church like her. Check out the music video below:
"Need You Bad," released in 2008, was Sullivan’s debut single from her first LP, Fearless. The single introduced the world to her “style of relationship-heavy music and visual concepts,” Vibe magazine writes. Fearless was first released on May 13, 2008 in the United States by J and Arista Records. It featured two collaborations with Missy. The single also achieved success on the charts, peaking at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and at number thirty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100. It remains one of the artist’s most successful singles on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs to-date. Yes, she showed up and showed out again. Check out the music video below:
The song’s title is evocative of the The Wizard of Oz, which represents her career in the music industry. “Even though it can be pretty scary and overwhelming at times, I've been doing it for so long (most of my life) that I can handle that,” she says, according to Songfacts. “That's what I do. Now, that love thing is a different animal--You can't see, hear or smell it. It can reach out and grab you at the supermarket, the bus stop or even during a performance. Being afraid of love and everything that goes with it, like not having complete control of your emotions and putting your heart in someone else's hands to do with it what they please. Having to pick up the pieces and try again if things go wrong (and they do), that's scary.” She definitely showed out on this one, despite painting a scary picture of love. Check out the music video below:
As Vibe puts it, this track from her Fearless album was penned for you if you've left a good partner for a not-so-good one, whose love you can’t shake. Sullivan’s soaring vocals highlight the pain and ecstasy of forbidden love, and bad timing. In 2008, the single won her a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Check out the music video below:
The track from Fearless earned Sullivan a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Song in 2008. The tune is worth listening to, Vibe notes, “when you’re about to do something crazy for your cheating ex, you always need theme music.” She declined to say whether the song was biographical in an interview with DJ Booth, saying, “We're just not gonna get into that. But, it definitely is a real situation, and I've run into a lot of men and women who've experienced that. It needed to be said, and I was the chick to do it. [laughs]. All you guys have to do is be honest, be faithful, and your windows won't get busted out." Check out the music video below:
She recorded this song for Heaux Tales, where she explores feminism, body-shaming and how some women use their allure to gain material wealth. In this single, she sings wistfully about a girl stuck in a dead-end job, who is struggling to pay her rent, while dreaming of a lavish lifestyle and concludes her only way out is to utilize her beauty to hook a millionaire. She wrote the song, she tells The Guardian after observing models on the Gram. “I was surfing Instagram and seeing a lot of beautiful girls, and I was fascinated with their lives and obviously, their physical appearance and what it brought for them," she says. "Me, I've never experienced that kind of attention for, you know, that particular thing. So I can't write about her enough!"Check out the music video below:
This song is for you If you have an ex (as we all do) with whom you cannot have a decent conversation. "You should never have to call pretending/You should have known I was done when I busted your windows," she sings in the Ne-Yo produced song, a sequel to her 2009 hit single, "Bust Your Windows." In the single, exes briefly consider reuniting. Ne-Yo joins her on the single, where they sing: “Any time I think about missing you/I remember the stress you put me through.” We thank this duo for this ultimate breakup anthem.
The single from her second album, Love Me Back (J Records), is worth a listen if you need to shed an ungrateful partner. She sings, “If I’m not good enough, then baby, there’s the door.” Love Me Back, was released in late 2010, and Billboard honored her as the “Rising Star” for 2010. She also scored three top 10 hits and seven Grammy nominations.
Watch the 52nd Annual NAACP awards on BET on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8/7C
(Photo by 2020 Soul Train Awards/via Getty Images)