ICYMI: Jordin Sparks Talks Inspiration, Life Advice, and More in InStyle Chat
Jordin Sparks is busy promoting her new album, Right Here Right Now, which just dropped on August 21. She has been running around New York City all week, including busting out her new single "They Don't Give" on Today this morning. In between stops, the busy 25-year-old singer and American Idol alum made one of her stops the InStyle fashion closet. Because where better to find refuge than amongst pretty dresses and accessories?!
She was there for a reason: To answer InStyle reader questions live on @InStyle's Periscope channel. She talked about her influences, her new album, the best life advice she ever received (from Papa Sparks), and even busted out singing a few bars of "Casual Love" when a reader asked her to during the 10-minute unfiltered discussion.
The Periscope will be available to view until 4 p.m. EST on today. But in case you missed it, scroll down to read some of the highlights. Plus, stay tuned for more celebrity Periscope chats in the future—just follow @InStyle on Twitter for updates.
How would you describe your new album?
"I would describe as [having] a little bit of something for everyone. I grew up in the '90s, and '90s R&B is my favorite—Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Boys II Men, Baby Face. Those power ballads that you know me for and love are on there, as well as some slow, sensual songs. There are some turn-it-up-loud and get-ready songs, there are sad songs, some happy songs, love songs. So I really think that that’s reflected in the album, [and] that there is something for all of you."
What is your favorite song on the album?
"It’s kind of hard to pick a favorite off the album, because it has been so long and I have held them so close to my vest forever. They are all kind of like my babies. But I would say songs that I really got to write on are my favorites, [like] 'They Don’t Give,' '11:11,' '100 Years,' 'Boys in the Hood,' [and] 'Work from Home.' It was amazing to be able to write on those. '11:11' was good because we started thinking [about] it because my mom texts me at 11:11 and says 'wish' or 'make a wish,' and every time I look at a clock, I hit it on 11:11. So that’s why it’s special."
Why did you name the song “Right Here Right Now?”
"Well, because those are the lyrics! But also, I named the album [after] the song because when I was doing the album sequencing, I still hadn’t come up with a name for the album. Everything I had come up with was totally lame, so while I was sequencing the album and moving things around, I was saying the title of the tracks out loud. And that is when I said 'Right Here Right Now.' I said, that makes so much sense—it applies to my life. I am making music right here, right now, I am coming into my own right here, right now. All we have is right here, right now. So that is why I named it that."
Who or what is your biggest influence?
"I feel like my biggest influence in life is my family. They just inspire me every day. I get a lot of amazing traits from my dad and my mom. My mom is very headstrong, and so is my dad. They both are very resilient and never gave up on anything, so I definitely get that from them. If I make a decision on something, you are not going to move me—so good luck with that! But [my] inspiration[s], musically, are a lot of different people: Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera. Just lots of people with big voices. Martina McBride when I was younger and I was singing. It was kind of weird to have such a big voice, and [it was] weird to try to figure out if that was normal or not. When I heard Mariah and Whitney, I was like, 'Oh these girls have big voices like me, it’s okay.' So [they] are my inspirations, as well."
Has a song ever changed you?
"Yes, actually. There have been times on all three of my albums, [when I've been] able to get into the studio and write a lot of [songs that] you actually haven’t haven’t heard. The songs that were able to change me were so emotional that it was like, I would never be able to perform this. But I do have them. On my first album, there was a song I wrote called 'Blue Eyed Angel' that I wrote for my best friend that passed away. She died of a drug overdose, and [then] I wrote the song. It was a very good form of therapy. On Battlefield, you did actually get to hear it, it’s called 'Faith.' So if you have the Battlefield album, please go listen to that. And then on this album, there were a few songs actually that I wrote…I don’t know, maybe one day I will let you guys hear them. But yes, songs have changed me for sure."
Who has given you the best advice about your career, and what was that advice?
"The best advice I have received that I can remember, [was from] my dad. When I was doing American Idol, he told me, 'Jordin, there is always going to be somebody faster, younger, better, prettier than you who is going to come up and want your spot. What you need to do is not be concerned with them but be the best that you can be. What ever you are doing now, you need to top yourself—focus on making yourself and improving.' My dad played football, so all of us in my family are very athletic [and have an] athlete's mindset. It is very regimented. You see a goal, and you are going to go for it. We are going to practice and do whatever we need to do to get there, so I have always carried that with me. When I was on Idol, you would think I was in competition with everybody else, but I was really in competition with myself. I was trying to top myself each week, and it worked out pretty nicely. But I feel like it is the same, still. I'm continuing to try to make myself better, and to grow, and to learn. And I feel like in this industry, there is room for all of us, so I am not really competing with everybody else. I am unique and so is everybody else. And we all have different stories to say and different perspectives. So that advice came from my dad."
Who do you want to collaborate with next?
"Oh my gosh. So I have been able to collaborate with some really amazing people. If I could collaborate with anybody dead or alive, I would collaborate with Nat King Cole. And with technology today, I feel like maybe we could make that happen. It might take a second, but I would love for that to happen."
Would you collaborate with Tinashe?
"It would be really cool. I would love to see all of the women to come together and do something. I really loved when Jessie J, Nicki [Minaj], and Ariana [Grande] did 'Bang Bang.' I just thought it was so great, because you don’t really see girls coming together to do something together. So I would love to see more of that happen."