On Thursday, July 23, starting at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET, Yahoo Live will live stream Jill Scott concert from Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Tune in HERE to watch!
Jill Scott’s fans love her because she’s a badass.
On “Gettin’ in the Way,” the famous first single from her debut, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, Scott confronts her man’s ex. In the video, she walks to her nemesis’s residence and gives her a piece of her mind, snatching her wig off and all.
Who Is Jill Scott? turned 15 last Saturday, and Miss Scott is possibly even bolder today. Aside from being known for her incredibly poetic and soulful voice (her onher fifth studio album, Woman, out on July 24), she also has several lauded acting credits under her belt, includiing roles in Why Did I Get Married? and the HBO series The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
“I can’t believe it’s been 15 years,” she tells Yahoo Music via phone. “People keep telling me, ‘I grew up on your music and am playing it for my kids.’”
One of the things that's consistent about Scott is that her music comes first. The initial promotion for Who Is Jill Scott? did not include any photos of the vocal powerhouse. Scott remembers making that decision.
“I didn’t want any pictures. I didn’t want to be pulled apart,” she recalls. “I’m not very interested in being pulled apart by strangers or by people who love me. I just thought, let the music speak for itself and if you like it, yay! If not, I’ll live. ‘I hope you enjoy it. I really worked hard on it.’”
But it would only be a matter of time before the world would get a glimpse of the beautiful, full-figured diva, via the “Gettin’ in the Way” video, and thankfully, she was immediately embraced.
Today, she’s not shying away from photo shoots, or much else, but when asked to explain why it has been nearly four years since her last album, 2011’s The Light of the Sun, she offers a typical matter-of-fact response: “I just have to take my time.”
Scott is not interested in being rushed into the studio if the timing isn’t right. “It’s not some outline that I just fill in,” she explains. “I’m waiting. I have to wait to be inspired because whether you love it or feel great about it — which I hope you do — I have to sing these songs for the rest of my life. For the rest of my life. So I’d like it to be something that touches me. I don’t want to sing an empty song where I don’t even want to sing it because it didn’t mean anything to me… So I can tell it fresh and new every time.”
Scott’s ability to bring her songs to life onstage is a part of her magic, and you can hear it on the Woman songs released thus far: “You Don’t Know,” “Fool’s Gold,” and “Closure.” Though these tracks all deal with heartache, especially the bluesy “You Don’t Know,” Scott says they only reflect some of the emotions represented on the album.
“That’s just pieces of the album,” she says. “There are parts that are funny, that are introspective, revealing, and beautiful.” She compares the tracks to journal entries. “Journal entries are months apart,” she says. “There’s different portions of a life.”
Scott’s 6-year-old son, Jett, is part of the inspiration behind Back Together," which Scott says is "a song for anyone whose ever stopped believing or kind of lost their way, and they have someone, whether a child or a friend or a partner or mate, that has their eyes, their heart, a hug, something about them, that can piece it all back together again. It’s actually one of my favorite songs to perform.”
When asked how Jett may have specifically influenced “Back Together,” Scott offers to share a story about her wise child. “Jett gave me some great advice recently,” she begins. “He told me that women have to tough up! Coming from a 6-year-old! Children are remarkable in that way. I said to him, ‘You know what? You are absolutely right.’”
Scott can likely see a bit of herself in her child. She also has a mature way of communicating with people when she was growing up. She describes the young Jill Scott as a “flower child” who loved to teach other kids.
“I always got along with a lot of children, especially children that were younger than me,” she reflects. “We’d go to the grocery store or a mall or a department store and my mother said I would always have a train of kids that were younger than me that would follow me… I would tell them stories. Their mommies never worried about them because I took care of them while their mommies shopped and we had a ball. They didn’t even know me.”
Maybe it was that material instinct kicking in back in December, when Scott initially came to the defense of Bill Cosby when the iconic comedian and philanthropist came under fire after being accused of drugging and rapping several women. Scott took the bold and controversial stance of taking on Cosby’s critics on Twitter and faced a harsh backlash. She argued that she did not side with Cosby, per se, but “with substantiated proof when media/society is attempting to destroy a magnificent legacy.”
Earlier, this month, she expressed regret after the Associated Press revealed their findings from a 2005 deposition. In the legal documents, Cosby admitted to obtaining drugs with the “intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with.”
Scott said she was disappointed by the news. “Sadly his own testimony offers PROOF of terrible deeds, which is all I have ever required to believe the accusations,” she said via Twitter. “I stood by a man I respected and loved. I was wrong. It HURTS!!!”
During her interview with Yahoo Music, Scott still expressed concern for iconic black male figures. “Let me say this,” she began, “I think that if we stop and pay attention and just pay attention, take emotions, all of that, out of it… Beloved black men tend to… Once you become beloved is when you’re in trouble in this society. Beyond your color. Loved because of your talent and skill and your generosity. I think that’s when the trouble comes. It just can’t be a coincidence is what I’m really trying to say.”
Scott is fearless. She’s always quick to speak her mind and to stand by her words. The brutal honesty has made her songwriting so compelling, and that magnificent voice, speaks for itself.