Photos - Jive Records
In 2007, Jordin Sparks became the youngest winner of American Idol when she won the competition at age 17. Since then, she has performed for two presidents, sung the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and earned a Grammy nomination for "No Air," her duet with Chris Brown. Last year, Sparks returned with Battlefield, featuring the powerful hit single of the same name.
Sparks is now in the midst of a headlining tour that will hit the Palace Theatre in Greensburg on Tuesday, June 8. We chatted with Jordin via email to discuss her dream duet partner, her upcoming Broadway debut, and what she thinks of new Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres.
Your current tour includes a number of intimate venues. What appeals to you about playing these kinds of places?
I love how intimate it is. I love touring big arenas, don't get me wrong. But in a smaller venue I can practically see each face. I’m able to make eye contact and hopefully can touch someone through my songs because we're so close.
Well, I don't have crazy props, costumes or a million dancers. It's just me, my band and the music. I love being able to sing every night for my job! I have a blast up there so I hope you do too!
You co-wrote some of the songs on Battlefield. Is songwriting something you’d like to do more of as your career progresses?
I would love to do that. I've written poetry since I was in the first grade, and it wasn't until I was a little bit older that I realized poetry could be put to music and become a song. When I got to write for the Battlefield record, it was almost therapeutic. I had gone through a few things in the two years prior and it was really nice to take those thoughts and emotions and get them out. I definitely want to hone that side of my artistry.
What was it like taking part in the "We are the World 25" recording?
The song is legendary, so when I heard Quincy (Jones) and Lionel (Richie) were going to remake it, I told my management that I would love to be a part of it. At the time it was just a rumor, so when they said they'd love to have me, I was ecstatic. Walking in that room and seeing all the different artists coming together for something bigger than us was amazing.
Who would your dream duet partner be (dead or alive) and why?
That's a really good question. I always wanted to work with Michael Jackson. His music will live forever and with technology nowadays... maybe I could. But I would love to work with Celine Dion. I don't know whether we would be singing or writing together but she is amazing.
You’re one of popular music’s most prolific tweeters. Do you feel that you’re able to genuinely connect to your fans via Twitter?
Yes, I definitely do! It gives me a way to let my fans know what I'm doing (no matter how boring, haha.) But it comes directly from me. Sometimes I'll go on a Twitter spree and reply as much as I can. Talking to my fans is so much fun even if it is in 140 characters or less. :)
Oh my goodness... I've always wanted to do Broadway but I wasn't making it my mission to happen this year! It just kind of fell into my lap. I'm playing Nina Rosario, and the first time you see her she's coming back from college. She has to tell her parents that she lost her scholarship due to not being able to study because she was working to pay for the other half.
She has this sense of anxiety because she has to tell her parents, who worked to get her there. She also feels she represented her neighborhood and feels she let everyone down. She deals with that throughout the play and falls in love along the way. But I don't want to give too much away - you'll have to come and see!
I know you continue to follow American Idol. How do you feel about Ellen DeGeneres’ performance this season? Do you think the show will be able to survive Simon’s departure?
I thought Ellen did a great job overall. I thought she started out a little unsure of herself. I mean, I would too - that's a big seat to be in! But once she got the hang of it she was great.
I think people are still going to watch the show because it's the American Dream. It's still giving unknowns the chance to become something big. I don't want to ratings to fall because I love the show but without Simon and Paula, it could be possible only 25-29 million will tune in. ;)
Jordin Sparks plays at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg on Tuesday, June 8 at 7 pm. Kate Voegele is the opening act. Find Jordin online at www.jordinsparks.com and follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEREALJORDIN.