13 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jazmine Sullivan’s Fearless is defined by the Philadelphia native’s good taste and her everywoman persona. Rather than play the aspiring diva, on “Fear” Sullivan admits to the insecurities of the average woman: “I'm scared to fight ‘cause I’m scared to bleed / I'm scared of love ‘cause I’m scared he'll leave / I'm scared of drugs I’m scared to drink / I'm scared to swim ‘cause I’m scared to sink.” R&B demands bravado from its performers, but on Fearless Sullivan regards her audience with disarming trust and sincerity and her musical choices are similarly bold. The drumless “Lions, Tigers & Bears” is propelled by Sullivan’s voice alone, while the tapping piano riff of “Switch!” proves that pop music need not be syrupy to be catchy. Best of all is the Missy Elliott production “Need U Bad,” which borrows the throbbing bassline from the Jamaican riddim “Queen of the Minstrels” for a vivid portrayal of lust and infatuation. “After the Hurricane” and “Dream Big” are more generic constructions, but if it takes a few mainstream concessions to get something as exceptional as “Need U Bad” on the radio, there can be no reason to complain.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Jazmine Sullivan’s Fearless is defined by the Philadelphia native’s good taste and her everywoman persona. Rather than play the aspiring diva, on “Fear” Sullivan admits to the insecurities of the average woman: “I'm scared to fight ‘cause I’m scared to bleed / I'm scared of love ‘cause I’m scared he'll leave / I'm scared of drugs I’m scared to drink / I'm scared to swim ‘cause I’m scared to sink.” R&B demands bravado from its performers, but on Fearless Sullivan regards her audience with disarming trust and sincerity and her musical choices are similarly bold. The drumless “Lions, Tigers & Bears” is propelled by Sullivan’s voice alone, while the tapping piano riff of “Switch!” proves that pop music need not be syrupy to be catchy. Best of all is the Missy Elliott production “Need U Bad,” which borrows the throbbing bassline from the Jamaican riddim “Queen of the Minstrels” for a vivid portrayal of lust and infatuation. “After the Hurricane” and “Dream Big” are more generic constructions, but if it takes a few mainstream concessions to get something as exceptional as “Need U Bad” on the radio, there can be no reason to complain.

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About Jazmine Sullivan

Contemporary R&B star Jazmine Sullivan spent several years learning the ropes of the recording industry before signing to J Records and making her solo recording debut in 2008 with the number one R&B single "Need U Bad." The Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter began her career at a young age, making her national television debut on Showtime at the Apollo at age 11 and signing to Jive Records at age 15. Her stint at Jive lasted only a couple years, however, and she was dropped by the label before any recordings were released. In the wake of this disappointment, she began working behind the scenes, for instance working with Missy Elliott on productions for Fantasia's debut album, Free Yourself (2004), and writing a couple songs for Christina Milian's third album, So Amazin' (2006), including the hit single "Say I." Sullivan was then offered a solo recording contract with J, which released her debut single, "Need U Bad," featuring and co-produced by Missy Elliott, in 2008. Fearless, her debut album, featuring productions by Salaam Remi and Stargate, among others, was issued that September. It topped the R&B chart and crossed over to reach number six on the Billboard 200, aided by "Bust Your Windows" and "Lions, Tigers & Bears" -- both of which went into the Top Ten of the R&B chart. Sullivan followed it up with November 2010's Love Me Back, which was previewed with the July single "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)." Despite an impressive total of 11 Grammy nominations for her work as a vocalist and songwriter, Sullivan was frustrated with the industry and announced in 2011 that she was leaving it. However, she was eventually drawn back. In 2014, "Dumb" (featuring Meek Mill), "Forever Don't Last," and "Mascara" were released as the first singles from her third album, Reality Show. The set was issued the following January. ~ Jason Birchmeier

  • ORIGIN
    Philadelphia, PA
  • GENRE
    R&B/Soul
  • BORN
    April 9, 1987

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