From unsung poet to international icon, Grammy-award winning Jill Scott is a force to be reckoned with. Teaming peerless raw passion with unerring vocals, it’s no surprise the Philadelphia-born songstress has taken the industry by storm, leaving cynics in her wake. With her debut Australian tour currently underway, in-between filming for her role in the upcoming James Brown biopic, ‘Get On Up’, Scott lives up to her self-confessed need to “do all I can.” Taking time out from her busy schedule, the Queen of neo-Soul sat down to talk about the ‘Evening with Jill Scott’ tour.
Welcome to Australia! Are you enjoying your time so far?
Thank you! Yes, so much! We’ve been here since Sunday night, and I got a chance to have a walk around and have a wonderful meal. The folks are here are just so pleasant. I’m really enjoying it – I needed it!
Have you had a chance to experience the city yet?
Well, not much, but thus far I have taken a few walks, I’ve met some people and had great casual conversations about nothing. It’s been wonderful! I love how friendly you all are, it’s been really good!
You must be quite busy with the tour – what can fans expect?
Well, a lot of passion, a lot of honesty. Great musicianship. Different styles and genres of musician. Storytelling – quite a bit, actually. It’s a full blown show.
On top of your tour, you’re set to release two new albums
Yeah! One of the albums is called the Lullaby album, and it was created with Robert Glasper, a Grammy-award winning musician, as well as Derick Hodge, Little John Roberts and Andre Harris. It’s a little bit different – the project is meant to help people sleep, particularly infants and adults with insomnia. There’s lots of beautiful lyrics and positive affirmations to rest to, along with a shock-world tones to affect and calm the body and the spirit.
Will you be performing any tracks from the new album on your tour?
I’ll be performing.. well, it’s quite a lot of music. I’ve had four albums so far, so you know, trying to incorporate all the things you want to hear as well as the things I believe you should hear is the daunting task. So you’ll hear a lot of music you’ve heard, as well as some you don’t know.
You’re clearly a very busy woman! Aside from your music career, you’ve landed a role in Get On Up – how did all that come about?
I got the script from my agent and loved it. I thought, “this is something that I really want to be involved with!” I’m a big James Brown fan, all of that passion and guts and bravado, I just love him for it, as well as his appreciation for his own folks. So I was willing to do anything really! There was a small role that was maybe a day of shooting if I was lucky, and I auditioned for that role, and the director and casting agent – in their brilliance – decided to create a role for me. So, I’m playing James Brown’s second wife, Didi.
Is acting something you’d like to see yourself move more into, or will music always be your number one passion?
Well, I don’t really have a number one passion unfortunately for some. My management understands me, and know that I need to do all that I can do. So you know, I’m writing poetry books, I’m writing a novel, I’m writing screenplays, I’m producing shows, you know, I’m doing all the things that I can do because I have to. It’s my nature to do all that I can, as well as I can. Luckily, people get it and my supporters continue to flock the movie theatres and watch the TV shows, and just dig what I do.
How do you manage to strike a balance between all these things that you’re doing, as well as your family life?
Well, I need to take a break in between. I have to spend time with my child, I have to speak often with my mother and father. Those things just mellow me out, they help me reboot in a sense, you know, to begin again. Because everything that I do is a challenge, and I think that’s the best part of it all, none of it comes easy to me.
Photo Credit: Gomillion & Leupold
You can Catch Jill on her remaining Australian Tour Dates
Monday 25th November 2013
Enmore Theatre Sydney (Ticketek – www.ticketek.com.au)