Born on April 4, 1972 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jill Scott is an R&B singer-songwriter, poet, and actress best known for her musical career, which so far has earned her three Grammy Awards, and her lead role on the BBC/HBO series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She attended Philadelphia High School for Girls and eventually Temple University. She held two jobs while studying secondary education. After three years working as a teacher’s aide, however, she was disillusioned by the teaching profession and altogether dropped out of school. She worked a lot of jobs, including a number of retail positions plus ice cream parlor jobs, until she finds a good break in the music industry.
Scott started her performing career appearing at live poetry readings to perform her work. After being discovered by Amir Thompson of The Roots, she was invited to join the band. When Erykah Baduh and The Roots won the 2000 Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group, she got a chance to fill in for Badu. She later on collaborated with Eric Benet, Will Smith, and Common, as well as toured Canada in production of the Broadway musical Rent. She released her debut album “Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1” in 2000, with her single “A Long Walk” earning her a Grammy nom in early 2003 for Best Female Vocal Performance. While she didn’t win that one, she compensated with a 2005 Grammy for Best Urban / Alternative R&B Performance for Cross My Mind. She released her second album in 2004. All the while, Scott continued to write poetry, with a compilation of her poems coming out in April of 2005.
In 2000, Scott made her acting debut in several episodes of the fourth season of UPN’s Girlfriends, where she played Donna, a love interest of the lead. Her other screen credits include the Showtime movie Cavedwellers opposite Kyra Sedgwick. She then landed the lead in the adaptation of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which is broadcast as a 13-part series on HBO.