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Jill Scott

Jill Scott performing at the 2007 Black Lily Film & Music Festival (World Cafe Live).
Background information
Born April 4, 1972 (1972-04-04) (age 37)
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres R&B, Soul, neo soul, jazz, spoken word
Occupations Singer-songwriter, poet, actress
Years active 1999–present
Labels Hidden Beach

Jill Scott (born April 4, 1972) is an American soul and R&B singer-songwriter, poet, and actress. In 2007, Scott made her cinematic debut in the films Hounddog (as Big Mama Thornton) and in Tyler Perry's feature film, Why Did I Get Married? That same year her third studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3, was released on September 25, 2007. She has won three Grammy Awards. She currently appears in the lead role of the BBC/HBO series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.


Early life

Scott grew up an only child in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was raised by her mother, Joyce Scott, and her grandmother. She indicated in an interview with Jet Magazine that she had a happy childhood and was "very much a loved child".[1] Scott attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls and after graduating, attended Temple University while simultaneously working two jobs. She studied secondary education for three years and had planned on becoming a high school English teacher, but after spending time as a teacher's aide, Scott became disillusioned with the teaching profession and dropped out of school.[2]

Prior to her breakthrough in the music industry, Scott worked at a variety of jobs, including a number of retail positions and stints at a construction site and an ice cream parlor.[3] She remains close to her mother and grandmother, nicknamed Blue Babe, and currently resides in Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey.

Music career

Scott began her performing career as a spoken word artist, appearing at live poetry readings to perform her work. She was eventually discovered by Amir "QuestLove" Thompson of The Roots. QuestLove invited her to join the band in the studio, and the collaboration resulted in a co-writing credit for Scott for the song, "You Got Me." In 2000, Erykah Badu and The Roots won the Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group for "You Got Me",and Scott debuted as an artist during a Roots live show, filling in for Badu and providing her own variation on the song.[4] Subsequently, Scott collaborated with Eric Benet, Will Smith, and Common, and broadened her performing experience by touring Canada in a production of the Broadway musical Rent.

Scott was the first artist signed to Steve McKeever's 'Hidden Beach Recordings' label. Her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was released in 2000. She experienced some chart success and notice with the single "A Long Walk", which eventually earned her a Grammy nomination in early 2003 for Best Female Vocal Performance. Scott lost that award, but won a 2005 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance for "Cross My Mind." The live album, Experience: Jill Scott 826+, was released November 2001. Scott's second full-length album, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, followed in 2004.

Scott continues to write poetry; a compilation volume of her poems, The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours, was published and released by St. Martin's Press in April 2005.[5] In early 2007 Scott was featured on the George Benson & Al Jarreau collaboration "God Bless The Child", which earned Scott her second Grammy award, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony. Scott shared the win with Benson & Jarreau. Recently, Scott was prominently featured on hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco's 2006 single "Daydreaming" which won a 2008 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance and also appeared on a new Scott collection called Collaborations on January 30, 2007.[6][7]

The Collaborations collection served as "an appetizer" for her next studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 released September 25, 2007.[8] A clip of the title track was released on a bonus disc from Hidden Beach Records and included with Collaborations. The lead single "Hate on Me", gained airplay in May 2007 with a video released in mid-July. In advance of the album's release, Hidden Beach released a 17-minute album sampler through their forums.[9] Interspersed between the dozen songs previewed on the sampler was a personal explanation from Jill for the inspiration behind some of her songs.

In 2008, Scott released her second live album "Live In Paris+", which consists of 8 songs recorded during her "Big Beautiful Tour". The bonus DVD contains the same concert, plus some live cuts from The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3. In the same year, 'Whenever You're Around', a single from "The Real Thing" which features George Duke, was a moderate hit on urban radio.

Following up to 2007's Grammy nominated Gold certified album The Real Thing, Jill is currently in the studio recording her 4th studio album titled The Light Of The Sun: Words and Sounds, Vol. 4. The album embarks Jill on a flurry of emotional poetry as both her career and personal life have skyrocketed with success in Hollywood and birth of first child. The album is expected to be a Spring/Summer 2010 release.[10]


Other appearances and song-writing

Her live performance in 2004 with members of The Roots, which also includes a joint performance with Erykah Badu, is featured in Dave Chappelle's 2006 concert film, Dave Chappelle's Block Party. UK dance duo Goldtrix covered Scott's song "It's Love", re-naming it "It's Love (Trippin')" with singer Andrea Brown taking over vocal duties. The song became a top ten hit in the UK, peaking at number six. "It's Love (Trippin')" was also covered by South West Beats (Featuring Claudia Patrice) in 2008. The song Golden is featured in a R&B themed radio station[11] in the Rockstar Games video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

Vocal profile

Scott is a vocalist who infused jazz, R&B, spoken word, and hip hop among other genres to create a distinct style that many refer to as neo soul. Her vocal capabilities are so rich that a reviewer on Pop Matter, referring to Scott's vocal ability, stated 'Scott draws on her upper register, recalling the artistry of the late "songbird" Minnie Riperton and Deniece Williams'.[12] The same reviewer in another article stated, 'The song evokes the artistry of Minnie Riperton as Scott sings in the upper register that makes its only appearances on Who is Jill Scott? on the teasing "I Think It's Better" and "Show Me."[13] Scott has "a very rare facility to hit notes in the sixth octave as displayed on songs such as 'Gimme' where she hits a D6 with full vibrato, and on 'Spring Summer Feeling' where she hits a C7 in the background".[14]

Film and television

On the advice of her good friend, director Ozzie Jones, she began pursuing a career in acting in 2000.[15] She joined a fellowship at a theater company in Philadelphia. For two years, she took small, menial, jobs in exchange for acting lessons.

In 2004, Scott expanded her resume by appearing in several episodes of season four of UPN's Girlfriends, playing Donna, a love interest to main character, William Dent. She also appeared in the Showtime movie Cavedwellers, starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick,[16]

In 2007, Scott appeared in Hounddog (as Big Mama Thornton) and in Tyler Perry's movie, Why Did I Get Married?

In 2008, Scott appeared as Precious Ramotswe in Anthony Minghella’s film adaption of Alexander McCall Smith's series of books The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency playing a detective. Scott then filmed additional episodes for the series in Botswana in late 2008, co-funded by the BBC and HBO that were broadcast as a seven-part series on BBC1 in March 2009; and on HBO, which debuted March 29, 2009. BBC and HBO are contemplating whether to produce a second round of episodes of the series. ((

Jill will reprise her role as Sheila in Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010). The movie is set to shoot in August for an April 2, 2010 release.[17][18]

In 2010 Jill will appear in the film adaption of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

On March 24, 2010, Jill Scott will guest-star in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [19]

Personal life

Scott and longtime boyfriend Lyzel Williams, a graphic artist and DJ, married in 2001 in a private Hawaiian ceremony during a vacation. The couple dated for seven years before they wed.[20] Scott wrote and recorded the song "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)" about Williams. After six years of marriage Scott and Williams divorced in 2007.

On June 20, 2008, at a concert in New York's Carnegie Hall, Scott shared a long on-stage kiss with her drummer, Lil' John Roberts; the couple then told the audience that they were engaged.[21] They expected their first child on April 25, 2009[22][23] but the baby boy, Jett Hamilton Roberts, arrived five days earlier. On June 23, 2009, Scott announced that she and Roberts had broken up, with Scott breaking the news to Essence. Despite the break-up, Scott hopes for both parents to have an active part in their child's upbringing, stating that "We definitely love our son and we are co-parenting and working on being friends. It is what it is. I have a lot of support, so I want for nothing as far as that’s concerned."[24]

Charity work and advocacy

Scott has established the Blues Babe Foundation, a program founded to help young minority students pay for university expenses. The Blues Babe Foundation offers financial assistance to students between the ages of sixteen to twenty-one, and targets students residing in Philadelphia, Camden, and the greater Delaware Valley. Scott donated USD$100,000 to help start the foundation. The foundation was named after Scott's grandmother, known as "Blue Babe". On the foundation's website, it defines its mission statement as one where it "seeks to provide financial support and mentoring for those students who have shown the aptitude and commitment to their education, but whose families may not have the resources to ensure completion of their undergraduate degrees".[25]

In the spring of 2003, the Blues Babe Foundation made a donation of more than $60,000 to the graduating class of the Creative Arts School in Camden, New Jersey. Any student who maintained a 3.2 GPA received a yearly stipend for the next three years that was put toward his or her college education.

At the Essence Music Festival in July 2006, Scott spoke out about how women of color are portrayed in the lyrics of rap songs, and in rap music videos. Scott criticized the content for being "dirty, inappropriate, inadequate, unhealthy, and polluted" and urged the listening audience to "demand more".[26]



Year Album U.S. U.S. R&B UK[27] RIAA certification
2000 Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 17 2 69 2x Platinum
2001 Experience: Jill Scott 826+ 38 7 Gold
2004 Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 3 1 27 Gold
2007 Collaborations 11 3
The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 4 2 Gold
2008 Live In Paris+ Gold
2010 The Light of the Sun: Words and Sounds, Vol. 4


Year Song U.S U.S R&B Hot A.C. UK[27] Album
2000 "Gettin' In the Way" 115 28 30 Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1
2001 "A Long Walk" 43 9 54
"The Way" 60 15
"Shining Through" (Fredro Starr featuring Jill Scott)
Save The Last Dance (Soundtrack album)
2002 "He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)" 125 46
Experience: Jill Scott 826+
"Gimme" 107
2004 "Golden" 110 31 59
Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2
2005 "Whatever" 112 34
"Cross My Mind" 38 6
"The Fact Is (I Need You)" 63 19
2006 "Daydreamin'" (Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott) 83 25
Food & Liquor / Collaborations
2007 "Hate on Me" 107 24 9 The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3
"My Love" 31 11
2008 "Whenever You're Around" (featuring George Duke) 56 20


Award history

List of Jill Scott's Awards and Nominations


  1. ^ Waldron, Clarence (August 20, 2001). "Jill Scott: SINGER KEEPS IT REAL WITH SOULFUL, DOWN-HOME SOUND - Interview". Jet. 
  2. ^ Touré (April 26, 2001). "Soul Sister Number One". Rolling Stone. 
  3. ^;col1 Aug 01 Jet Mag
  4. ^ Jill Scott: Who Is Jill Scott? -Ink Blot Magazine
  5. ^ "Who is Jill Scott? Now she's a poet too". NPR. April 27, 2005. 
  6. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (December 26, 2006). "Hidden Beach Rounds Up Jill Scott's 'Collaborations'". 
  7. ^ "Jill Scott". Hidden Beach Recordings. 
  8. ^ "Jill Scott And Friends Team Up On Collaborations". Chart. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  9. ^ The Hidden Beach Family Reunion -> Download Manager -> Jill Scott -> Jill Scott's "The Real Thing" Sampler
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Jill Scott: Experience: Jill Scott 826+ - PopMatters Music Review
  13. ^ Neal, Mark Anthony. "The Isley Brothers Featuring Ronald Isley aka Mr. Biggs: 'Eternal' (DreamWorks)". Pop Matters. 
  14. ^ "Book Jill Scott". 1-800-4ENTERTAINMENT. Retrieved 2007-01-02. 
  15. ^ Jill Scott on Acting, Singing, and Divorce. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  16. ^ Find Articles 404 File not found
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Detective Agency to be serialised". BBC news. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  19. ^ "Exclusive: Jill Scott and Blind Side's Quinton Aaron Guest on SVU". http:// 
  20. ^ Karu F. Daniels (June 15, 2007). "Jill Scott: Divorce Neo-Soul Style". AOL Black Voices Blog. 
  21. ^ Reported by Khari Shabazz, in attendance, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, June 20, 2008
  22. ^ R&B Singer and Actress Jill Scott is Pregnant, January 10, 2009
  23. ^ Jill Scott Pregnant With First Child
  24. ^ R&B Divorce Court: First R Kelly/Tyrese, Now Usher/Jill Scott?
  25. ^ Blues Babe Foundation
  26. ^ BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Singer attacks 'degrading' images
  27. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 485. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links


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