Jazmine Marie Sullivan (born April 9, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Philadelphia
, her debut album, ''Fearless
'', was released in 2008 to commercial and critical success. The record topped ''Billboard''
's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
chart and was certified gold
by the Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA). It spawned four singles, including "Need U Bad
" and "Bust Your Windows
", both of which peaked in the top 40 of the ''Billboard'' Hot 100
chart and the former of which became Sullivan's first and only number one on the ''Billboard'' Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Sullivan followed this with her second studio album, ''Love Me Back
'', in 2010, which was received favorably by critics. After taking a three-year break, Sullivan signed with RCA Records
and released her first studio album under the label, ''Reality Show
'', in 2015, and it became her second album to peak at number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 2021, she released her first EP, ''Heaux Tales
Sullivan has received one ''Billboard'' Women in Music
Award and one BET Award
over the course of her career. She has also received 12 Grammy
nominations, making her one of the artists with the most Grammy nominations without winning
Life and career
1987–2006: Early life
Jazmine Sullivan was born on April 9, 1987 to Don and Pam Sullivan.
Her mother is a former backup singer for Philadelphia International Records
When she was five years old, her father landed a position as a curator for the city's Historic Strawberry Mansion
in the Strawberry Mansion
section, and her family moved into the historical landmark.
Sullivan is a 2005 graduate of the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts
where she was a vocal music major.
Sullivan began singing as a contralto in the children's choir, and later in the adult choir. Sullivan's exposure to secular music
was initially limited.
2003–2009: Career beginnings and Fearless
At fifteen, Sullivan signed to Jive Records
. She recorded an album, which was never released, and she was eventually dropped from the label.
Sullivan provided vocals for Kindred the Family Soul
's song, "I Am", as well as background vocals on the song "Party's Over", and the title track to their 2003 debut ''Surrender to Love
'', and it was during this session she first met rapper Missy Elliott
, who would go on to produce both the majority of her debut album, ''Fearless,'' and tracks on ''Love Me Back.'' Sullivan wrote and recorded with producers Cool & Dre
titled "Say I
" was given to Dre's then-girlfriend Christina Milian
for her third album, ''So Amazin'
''. The song became the lead single, peaking at number 13 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as well as number 21 on the Hot 100
. Sullivan's breakthrough song, "Need U Bad
", was released in May 2008.
The song, which featured additional vocals by Missy Elliott
and Sandy "Pepa" Denton
, later debuted at number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100
and spent a total of 34 weeks atop of the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs
Sullivan's debut album ''Fearless
'' was released on September 23, 2008. At the time, she wrote and composed many of its songs and served as the album's executive producer alongside Missy Elliott
, Salaam Remi
and Peter Edge. The album received production from Elliott, Remi, Stargate
, Carvin & Ivan
, Jack Splash
, and Fisticuffs. ''Fearless'' debuted at number 1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums
and at number 6 on the ''Billboard'' 200
. Sullivan followed her début single with the release of the second single from ''Fearless'', "Bust Your Windows
", which reached number 4 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming her most successful single on that chart to date. "Bust Your Windows" appeared on the debut episode of the Fox hit television show ''Glee
'' and was also nominated for a Grammy
for Best R&B Song
. In 2014, Stevie Wonder
claimed he considered "Bust Your Windows
" a classic song. "Lions, Tigers & Bears
" was released as the album's third single in December 2008. It scored her third consecutive top ten on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, reaching number 10, and garnered some mainstream success by reaching number 74 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sullivan later pursued success in the United Kingdom when she first released "Dream Big
" as a single in the UK on February 2009. The song was later released as the fourth and final single from the album in April 2009. The album has a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America
, and has sold more than 510,000 copies in the United States.
Sullivan was featured on a song entitled "Smoking Gun" with Jadakiss
on his third studio album ''The Last Kiss
''. The song was influenced by a family friend, Devonte Wongwai, from New York City, who wanted to hear the duo on a record. She was also a supporting act for fellow American R&B
on his 2008 US tour and was the opening act for Ne-Yo
's 2009 ''Year of the Gentleman
Tour''. She additionally appeared on Ace Hood
's second studio album, ''Ruthless
'', on the song "Champion". She went on to headline a few dates with Ryan Leslie
, before participating in the Essence Music Festival
in June 2009. That same year, Sullivan appeared in commercials for Cotton Incorporated
. Additionally, Sullivan made a guest appearance on Snoop Dogg
's tenth studio album ''Malice n Wonderland
'' on the song "Different Languages".
2009–2011: ''Love Me Back''
Sullivan began working on her second album, ''Love Me Back
'', in 2009.
Producers contributing to the album included Missy Elliott
Lamb (electronic band)|Lamb
, Anthony Bell, Los da Mystro
, Ryan Leslie
, and Salaam Remi
, who was also a major contributor to ''Fearless''. Songs recorded for the album include "Love You Long Time", "Don't Make Me Wait" (a tribute to Prince
), "Redemption", "Excuse Me", "Good Enough", and the reported sequel to "Bust Your Windows" titled "You Get On My Nerves", which was co-written by Ne-Yo
The album was completed in June 2010 and released on November 30, 2010.
The album debuted at number 17 on the ''Billboard'' 200
and sold 57,000 copies in its first week.
In an interview with National Public Radio
, Sullivan explained that the album was about her personal experiences, stating:
The album's lead single, "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)
", was released on July 10, 2010. The song debuted at number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100
. The music video for the song premiered on August 30, 2010. The song would later be nominated for a Grammy Award
for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
in 2011. The album's second single, "10 Seconds
", was released to radio airplay in late September, and debuted at number 15 the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
. The song was later released for digital download on October 25, 2010. An accompanying music video was later filmed and was released on November 12, 2010.
In early December 2010, ''Billboard''
honoured Sullivan as the 'Rising Star' for 2010. She later announced that she was working on her third studio album.
2011–2020: Hiatus and ''Reality Show''
In January 2011, Sullivan announced via Twitter that she was indefinitely leaving the music industry, stating, "I promised myself when it wasn't fun anymore I wouldn't do it. And, here I am. I'm not saying I won't ever sing again in my life because I don't believe that. But in this moment… right now…
got some things to figure out".
On October 7, RCA Records
announced it was disbanding J Records
along with Arista Records
and Jive Records
. With the shutdown, Sullivan (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) were removed the label and later redirected to RCA.
In 2014, she returned to music with the announcement of her new album, ''Reality Show
''. In an interview with ''Billboard'', Sullivan described her return as inevitable, saying she "...can't escape er
She based ''Reality Show
'' on watching reality shows during her hiatus which inspired the namesake. The album consists of 14 songs, and features production from Key Wane
and Salaam Remi
The lead single "Dumb
", featuring American rapper Meek Mill
, was released on May 12, 2014. The song debuted at number 45 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay
. The second single "Forever Don't Last
" was released on September 16, 2014. It peaked at number 10 on the Adult R&B Songs
On January 13, 2015, Jazmine Sullivan released ''Reality Show
'' to widespread critical acclaim, with the album reaching number one on the ''Billboard'' R&B Albums and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
''Reality Show'' sold 30,000 copies in its first week. Slant Magazine
commented, "Despite what the rasp in her voice might suggest, Sullivan clearly sees herself as something other than R&B's next great queen of pain. Her central themes—love and self-image—don't stray far from genre convention, but her musical versatility and keenly observed characters make her one of the most captivating artists in R&B today."
The album earned Sullivan three Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Album and Best Traditional R&B Performance ("Let It Burn
In 2016, Sullivan was featured in the visual album
" by Frank Ocean
. Sullivan lent her vocals to four songs from the album: "Alabama", "Wither", "Hublots", and "Rushes". Sullivan was the lead writer for these four songs on Mary J. Blige
's album ''Strength of a Woman''
, and sang backup vocals on the first three of them: "Thick of It", "Set Me Free", "Glow Up", and "Thank You." ("Strength of a Woman" album liner notes). She in partnership with fellow American singer Bryson Tiller
" for the soundtrack for the second season
of the HBO series of the same title
. Also in 2016 she performed the national anthem at the first game of the 2016 NHL Stadium Series
game at TCF Bank Stadium
featuring the Chicago Blackhawks
and Minnesota Wild
. In 2019, Sullivan was featured on Pentatonix
's Christmas collection ''The Best of Pentatonix Christmas
'' on the group's cover of "Joyful, Joyful
2020–present: ''Heaux Tales'' EP
On August 27, 2020, Sullivan announced the release of a new song titled "Lost One
", marking her return to music. Within hours of the announcement, the phrase "New Jazmine" trended on Twitter across the United States. The song was released the next day along with the confirmation of her extended play
(EP), ''Heaux Tales
The EP was released on January 8, 2021, and reached number one on the R&B Albums chart, also earning Sullivan her career best peak on the ''Billboard'' 200.
In February 2021, it was announced that Jazmine is nominated for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards
, which will take place on March 27, 2021. She is competing with artists such as Beyoncé
and Alicia Keys
for the Outstanding Female Artist
category. On February 7, she performed "The Star-Spangled Banner
" alongside country artist Eric Church
at Super Bowl LV
Musical style and artistry
Sonically, Sullivan's voice alternates between "modern productions" and a "1980s-influenced sound" which music critics say gives her "old-school hip hop
sound". Her voice type is contralto
. Her voice has a solid agility in all registers and is well connected between an A2
and a G5
said that she has a "raspy voice". She describes her writing style as "flashbacks", in reference to her songs about failed relationships that were both physically and emotionally abusive. Her music displays her responses to these relationships famously with her song "Bust Your Windows
". She likes to write about how she is feeling, which in turn, taking a day or up to a month to complete. During the recording of the album Reality Show
, Sullivan spent so much time revising and re-recording, that the producers had to force her to release the album to prevent a delayed release. Sullivan is well known for writing her own songs which amplifies her universal critical acclaim from critics and fans.
Sullivan's song "Bust Your Windows
" was listed at number 137 on National Public Radio
's list of The 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women.
On May 11, 2020, Sullivan announced that her mother Pam had been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer
in October 2019.
In the Instagram
post, she wrote: "If being your daughter has taught me one thing it is how to work with something ugly, painful even, and make it a work of art".
* ''Love Me Back
* ''Reality Show
* Always Have Jazmine (2008–09)
* The Reality Show Tour (2015)
Awards and nominations
* List of Billboard number-one R&B albums of 2008
* List of R&B number-one singles of 2008 (U.S.)
Category:African-American female singer-songwriters
Category:American soul singers
Category:Musicians from Philadelphia
Category:American neo soul singers
Category:RCA Records artists
Category:American hip hop singers
Category:American female hip hop singers
Category:Singers from Pennsylvania
Category:Songwriters from Pennsylvania
Category:American contemporary R&B singers
Category:21st-century American women singers
Category:21st-century American singers
Category:Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts alumni
Category:American reggae musicians