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I’ve been waiting four years for American R&B star Jazmine Sullivan to release another album. In 2011, the Philly singer-songwriter announced she was stepping away from music – much to the disappointment of her fans. She said on Twitter,
‘I promised myself when it wasn’t fun anymore I wouldn’t do it. And, here I am. I’m not saying I won’t ever sing again in my life because I don’t believe that. But in this moment… right now… [I] got some things to figure out.’
The 26-year old’s last solo effort, the sophomore album Love Me Back, received lots of critical acclaim, but simply didn’t hit the highs of her debut Fearless. Having worked with Mary J Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Jennifer Hudson and Monica, to name a few, Sullivan has already had a varied and impressive career. But after her 2011 comments, it seemed Sullivan had called it a day.
Earlier this year (Sunday 28 March), I was lucky enough to catch Sullivan for her first live show in years – at Camden’s KOKO. She came on after three support acts, but she was definitely worth the wait. It was at this comeback show that Sullivan thanked the crowd and explained why her career had been quiet for three years. She discussed the professional challenges of conforming to an easily packaged image (just like Azealia Banks) and spoke of an abusive relationship that had created personal challenges too. She confirmed she was working on her third album and debuted a new song ‘Masterpiece (Mona Lisa)’ – a song about overcoming insecurities.
Then, in May this year, she released ‘Dumb’ (featuring Meek Mill), which again received favourable reviews – announcing it as the first single from her forthcoming 2015 album, Reality Show. She followed this with ‘Forever Don’t Last’ in September. Reality Show is due to hit stores 13 January, and features production from Anthony Bell, Salaam Remi, and Key Wane.
I’ve been waiting for this album, and I’m glad Sullivan is back. After the mammoth wait we all faced when Azealia Banks first came onto the scene and promised her first album, I’m hoping we get an album that shows an artist in control of her own image and her own sound. Sullivan has worked with some great talent on this album, so it promises to be a corker.