Pre-Show Q&A: Jill Scott

Who is Jill Scott? Read on
  • Who is Jill Scott? Read on

R&B singer Jill Scott made quite a splash when she released her debut album in 2000, the Grammy-nominated Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1. The record reflected Scott’s poetic sensibilities and instantly made her star. She and Maxwell are co-headlining a tour that launches tomorrow at Quicken Loans Arena. Scott — who also has a role in Tyler Pretty's latest movie, Why Did I Get Married Too and contributes a regular column to Essence magazine — recently spoke to us about the tour. —Jeff Niesel

Are you excited about touring with Maxwell for the first time?
I don’t have words to describe it. “Wow” is first. I think he’s an amazing artist and brought such a passion for live music. We fit together really well.

Are you going to perform any songs together?
We’ll see how it goes. Who knows? We’ll go into rehearsal together in a few weeks and at that point we’ll decide what to do.

Cleveland is the first date of the tour. Was that just mere chance?

Yeah, but Cleveland rocks. I don’t remember the time I played there, but I think it was July or August of 2008, and there was a music conference going on in the city and there was music everywhere. It was fantastic. First thing in the morning there was this area right across the street and there was music all day. I was there for three or four days. It was cool.

I read that you initially thought you’d become a teacher. Was that the case?
That was my first idea. I couldn’t afford to finish my education. I was working two jobs and it just wasn’t coming together. I was trying to be an A+ student and it wasn’t working out. I was writing and I had been writing for years. I went to a couple of poetry jams. One thing I enjoy about Philadelphia is that there are places to get your craft together. I found these places and got really comfortable being on stage. I don’t do slams or things like that, and I wasn’t trying to win anything. I was performing in front of people with just words, and it felt good to me. One day, I started to sing. The reaction was so strong I thought I would continue. Later, came the little clubs and libraries. I was shy when I was a child. I didn’t want to give that to everybody. That was my private little joy.

Did singing come easily?
Sometimes it just comes and sometimes I have to work at it. It’s a gift and I can’t take it for granted. What I learned about myself is that I’m a method singer. I just found this out four five months ago. I have to live inside that moment so truly. I admire singers who get on the microphone and just sing. I think that’s great. I have to feel the words. I’m a writer first. I have to know what I’m saying and I feel it. That’s me.

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