Jordin Sparks, the teenager from Glendale, Arizona, was the surprise winner of American Idol’s sixth season, taking down heavyweights like Melinda Doolittle, Blake Lewis, and Lakisha Jones along the way. Her big voice and infectious personality made Sparks a beloved figure, and America voted accordingly, crowning Jordin American Idol champion last May. Since then, Jordin has enjoyed a whirlwind Idol tour of America, followed by a fevered stint in the recording studio. Her first album, entitled Jordin Sparks, was released today with heavy expectations. Jordin spoke with us yesterday about her first album, her time on the Idol tour and what she has in store for the future.
Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview.
How excited are you right now? Tomorrow is a pretty big day.
I don’t even know what to say to describe it. I mean I held a copy of my CD in my hands just like a couple days ago and it’s all becoming so real. Like it’s finally starting to sink in that this is actually happening. I’m ecstatic.
The response has seemed to be pretty good so far. What have you heard?
Um, well I saw that Rolling Stone gave me three and a half stars out of four and my jaw literally dropped to the floor. I was in complete amazement. A couple of interviews that I’ve seen, a couple of the reviews that I’ve seen they’ve been really nice and they’ve all liked it. So I’m really excited. I really hope that people like it because I worked really hard.
Is that a huge weight off your shoulders to see some positive reviews? It must be. The anticipation for that must be difficult.
It really kind of is. Because I mean with recording everything and having it, and knowing what you have on the CD and nobodies heard it yet and you’re kind of just like: ‘Wow. I wonder how this is going to go over.’ So for them to give me the reviews that they did, I feel very lucky and I’m very excited they liked it. But I’m not going to get my hopes up too high because I know there are going to be some people out there that wont like it, so. But I’m just kind of trying to hold onto it, so.
So the album is called Jordin Sparks, can you tell us specifically about the songs on the album? The influences? What fans can expect?
Well, I guess there’s a little bit of everything for everybody. There are songs that are more guitar driven. There are songs that make you want to think. There are songs that are more rhythmic. There are definitely some ballads on there because everybody knows that I love to do ballads, so there’s some of that also. But I guess it’s just like me, just a good mix of everything and I really hope that people like it. I think works. I think it works out.
I know for you especially ever since American Idol ended it’s kind of been a whirlwind. You had the tour and then recording. How much influence did you get in the song writing process and picking and choosing your songs of what was going to be on the album?
Actually I feel very lucky because I got a lot more say than I thought I was going to get n the album. And I had an opportunity to write, which they said that usually don’t get a chance to write on the first album. So I feel very lucky with that to. So I came out here after the tour; I came out here for about a week and I got to write some songs and record some songs. One of the songs on the album is called “Freeze” and I co-wrote that with Amanda Ghost who wrote “Tattoo.” And it’s basically about freezing the moment and just soaking up all the details and trying to remember everything. And there’s no part more to my life than right now because I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already and I can’t remember what I’ve done, like half of what I’ve done. So, it’s been pretty crazy. And there are two songs that are being used for bonus, one of them I wrote and the other one I co-wrote. So I’m very excited about that. And it terms of the songs, I have a lot of say of the songs that are on my album because I had to like them and they had to be me, so. The songs, basically they would play them for me and I’d be like: ‘Yeah, I really like that. Let’s do that one,’ or ‘No I don’t like that.’ And if they liked a song that I didn’t like, I’d be like: ‘Okay, well tell me why you liked this,’ and they they’d ask me why I didn’t like it and we would kind of compromise. What usually happened was I would put my voice on it, and if it would grow on me then we’d be like: ‘Okay. I can totally see that. I can totally see why you like it.’ If it didn’t, then we kind of tossed it.
You’ve obviously had a ridiculous schedule for the last year, the tour and then the album. Do you get a sense that you kind of like, crossed the finish line now? I know you have more promotions, but are you going to be able to take a breather anytime soon?
I definitely haven’t crossed the finish line yet but I’m getting closer. I will be pretty busy this next month and the beginning of next month. And then I’m pretty sure I get like, two weeks off for Christmas so I’m pretty excited for that, before everything starts up again. Next year is going to be pretty crazy. I think I’m going to tour, but I just don’t know when.
There’s the writers’ strike going on in Hollywood and that’s affected a lot of people promoting movies and albums and what not. Has that kind of altered your promotional scheme? I’d assume we’d usually see you on Letterman and Leno and all those shows, right?
Right. I guess. I guess it’s still planned. I’m pretty sure they’re still on the schedule but if I can’t do it, then I guess it’s just a day off for me. (Laughter)
There’s a rumor going on a while back that you might be performing the national anthem at the Super Bowl, is there any truth to that? It’s in your hometown Glendale, right?
Oh my gosh. I would absolutely love to do that. I would … I would … I hope so. I hope I get to do that. I think it would be so much fun.
You’ve got clout. I know your career is still very very young, but is there a singer/artist whose career you’d really like to emulate?
Well just thinking of past Idols, I mean, Carrie Underwood has done phenomenal. She still continues to climb and be amazing and win awards and sell millions and I’m just … she is just amazing. And Kelly Clarkson I mean, she’s the original idol and she sold millions. So I think either one of them. I would love to. How they started out and stuff like that would be awesome to do. I hope that next year maybe it’s me at the AMA’s getting an award. It’d be really, really cool.
Can you go back and talk a little bit about the whole idol tour. What was the experience like? What did you learn on that tour? How exhausting was it?
Um, well, okay. So exhausting, exhilarating, exciting … it was very very fun. I was touring with 9 of my best friends across the country all summer. It was a blast. It definitely taught me a lot about myself. It was the most I’d ever studied in my life. We were singing like five nights a week and I was singing eight songs a night. So it was very very crazy for me and I was recording on top of that. So that was very crazy. But it taught me how I could push myself, how much my voice can take, how long it takes me to recover, what audiences respond to, what they don’t respond to. How to work a set, how to work the stage, like it taught me so much. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m still kind of sad it’s over.
What do you do to stay away from losing your voice when performing so much like that?
You know I have no idea because there were sometimes I lost my voice no matter how hard I tried. I guess it’s just all in moderation you know. If I’m singing a lot, I probably shouldn’t scream. Like that’s common sense, right? But when you’re with nine of the goofiest people that you know and you constantly screaming and laughing, I kind of have to learn to discipline myself in that way so it doesn’t give out.
Was there any of those 9 on the tour who kind of broke out and maybe impressed more so than they did on the show?
I really think that Chris Richardson really showed a different side to him because he played the drums and played the guitar and he did a whole bunch of different genres. Like he did the duet with me that was country. He did Maroon 5. He did Jason Mraz. He did Gnarles Barkley. Like it was really crazy to see how versatile he was. I actually think that kind of applies to everybody actually now that I think about it. We did so many different things on the tour that we didn’t really get to show on TV, so I really think it applies to everybody.
Alright Jordin, do you have any sort of final thoughts? Anything you’d like to say to the fans?
Oh my gosh. I would just like to say thank you. Thank you thank you so much for putting me where I am and I really hope that you like the album and I hope it will not disappoint you.
-Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of FOX)