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Former 'Idol' Jordin Sparks Gets Personal on New Album

Jordin Sparks (file photo)
Jordin Sparks (file photo)
Larry London

Singing star Jordin Sparks rose to fame in 2007 on the popular television show American Idol.  After winning the title at age 17 Jordin has scored three Top 10 Billboard Chart hits and appeared in a Broadway musical.  Now at 21 Jordin is putting the final touches on her third album. 

Many artists who gain fame on the U.S. television show American Idol fade quickly into obscurity.  Not so for Jordin Sparks, who defeated thousands of other contestants during the show’s sixth season to become the youngest winner ever. Jordin’s life has been a whirlwind ever since.

“It has been nonstop ever since, it has been a steady rise and really cool," Sparks says.  "I am just glad that four or five years later people still want to talk to me and want to hear me sing.  It is just awesome … I love being able to do what I do.”

Just getting into the contest was a daunting task. Jordin was rejected by the judges the year before she won the show.

“I auditioned in L.A. [Los Angeles, California] and I was told [by the judges] ‘no’ and I was 16 [years old] so it was fine," recalls Sparks. "I thought there was something that needs to happen and I can always audition next year because I was in the youngest age group at the time.”

That can do attitude and her love of music were apparent at a very young age.

“My grandmother found some tapes … old family videos, and I was just 18 months old and singing ‘Jingle Bells’ before I could even make sentences," Sparks says.  She [grandmother] was playing it on the piano and I am singing every single word at 18 months … so music has always been something that is just in my blood … like I was born to do it.  

I feel like this is what I am supposed to be doing and I will be doing it after the lights go off and the stage is not there," she adds.  "I will be singing to grandchildren or whoever but music is what I always wanted to do and I knew I would be a singer I just did not know when it would happen."

Jordin's debut single “Tattoo” peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Her follow up hit, “No Air”, was recorded with Chris Brown in 2007 and reached number three.

A second album and other hits followed including her top 10 anthem Battlefield.  

The first single from Jordin’s upcoming third album is "I Am Woman".

“It is definitely different for me [the song].  It has more attitude and a little bit more edgy," Sparks says. "It is a side of me I have always had and I have not been able to show it yet … but it worked out and now I can do that.  I have always had a little bit of rhythm but I wanted to step my game up and do something different and it was cool because my fans had no idea”.

The style is different, yet Jordin is confident her fans will embrace her new sound.

“Not necessarily too farfetched that my fans will not know it is me," notes the former American Idol.  "I tend, when I get to write and I get to be a part of the music making process, to write from things I have gone through or am going through or things I am thinking of at the moment or the way I am feeling.  It is really cool to put songs on a record that I was part of … that I sing and there is a different connection to that song then there is say with somebody who just sends in a song”.

Jordin Sparks shuttled between New York and Arizona to work on the new album, but there are no specifics yet on a release date.

“I am not sure, we are still working on it," she says.  "We have got some songs from it is fun to be dancing with you and now we are floating because we are together and a ballad and a song like I cannot believe you said that to me, get out of my sight … different things like that so we are trying to make it all cohesive.  When I heard “I Am Woman” (for the first time) I thought that is the song I need to put out there and for the rest of the album I want to make sure it all fits together”.

Despite a busy schedule that includes a concert tour, her clothing line ‘Sparks’, and a recent Broadway performance, Jordin still has time to give back supporting a number of charities including ‘Alex’s Lemonade Foundation’ which helps raise money for children with cancer.

“Not giving back just does not make sense to me.  I get to do all this, travel overseas, and what is all of it if I cannot go and put a smile on somebody’s face or I cannot give back or give a little of my time.  I love being able to do things like that," Sparks says.

Jordin Sparks is a true American Idol.  Look for her new album before the end of the year.

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