Early Life and Career
As a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia, born April 9th, 1987, Sullivan started her career from a young age. Like many African American artists, she found her talents behind the pulpit of her church in their children’s choir. At age 11, singing Accept What God Allows, she wowed the audience of Its Showtime at the Apollo Kids with her contralto sound and already uniquely raspy voice.
And at 13, Sullivan sang with Steve Wonder for his grandson’s birthday. Though she never released her album, at 15 she signed with Jive Records but was later dropped. She still maintained a relationship with Missy Elliot, who later produced her debut single, Need U Bad, which climbed the Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop song charts to #1
Sulivan’s music has influences of soul, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, reggae, and pop, alternating between modern soul and that of the 1980’s. Her style, along with her crisp and raspy voice, give her a unique, identifiable, and classic old-school sound. She sites her musical inspiration to come from artists like Brandy, Kim Burrell, and Lauryn Hill. Her vocal range spans from a clearly audible A2 to a C6. Sullivan’s voice tone is strong, rich, and deep, her chest voice remaining completely intact at a G5.
Much of Jazmine Sullivan’s music is known for complicated and clean runs or melismas. She has had this talent for riffs from a young age, exemplified in her rendition of “Home”, from The ‘Wiz at 11 years old.
Sullivan characterizes her writing style as “flashbacks”, much of her music stemming from memories of failed or abusive relationships and past experiences. One of her most famous “flashback” pieces, “Bust Your Windows”, depicts her retaliation against a past partner breaking her heart by cheating.
Discography and Awards
Sullivan has released many singles, her latest entitled “Insecure” featuring Bryson Tiller. She has also released three albums, Fearless (2008), Love Me Back(2010) and Reality Show (2015).
Jazmine Sullivan has won and been nominated for numerous awards. She’s been nominated for 11 Grammy’s, 3 NAACP Image Awards, and 4 BET Awards. In 2009, she won the BET Centric Award and in 2010 she won the Billboard Women in Music Rising Star Award.