It’s been 15 years since “Who is Jill Scott – Words and Sounds, Vol. 1.,” and Jill Scott can hardly believe it’s been that long. But it has and in her own words, she has grown up and she has “something on her back that she needs to get off.”
When we caught up with Scott, she had just performed before a sold-out crowd at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles. Performing songs from her fifth studio album, Scott admonished, encouraged, empathized with lyrics grounded in realism, and plain old common sense as she journeyed across the landscape of love and life as only a master storyteller could. Who else could say, “ I would ride the Greyhound next to the toilet and let the baby mama spend the night” for love and have a crowd of women roaring their approval? Or have all male background singers called the Pipes? Only J-I-L-L-S-C-O-T-T.
LAS: Can you believe it’s been 15 years since ‘Who is Jill Scott? – Words and Sounds, Vol., 1’?
JILL: Hardly…I’m really happy that people still love that album. You want to make music that people can identify with. Which is part of the storytelling. I want people to see the pictures and hear the thoughts.
LAS: Is there a story behind the title of your latest musical offering, “Woman”?
JILL: It’s about growing up and realizing that it’s happening. It’s about looking at my journals, paying attention and realizing that the choices that I made in the past were a girl’s choice based on fairy tales, and maybe the ideals of someone else. My journey really started with the journals and talking to elder women and looking into things that my grandmother has said in the past. I’m just trying to grow up and claim my womanhood.
LAS: You said we (women and men) try to make something that “ain’t into something that is.” Did “Fool’s Gold” come out of that thinking?
JILL: Absolutely! As a generation we are holding on to a lot of myths. Fool’s Gold is about so many things…the concept of religion, of government, finance…believing that having things you can’t afford makes you a better person when in actuality it just gives you more struggles. Fool’s Gold is anything that you have made out to be something more than it is.
LAS: You once said that the poetry comes first then the song, is that still the case for you?
JILL: Everything happens differently. Typically, what begins as a poem is just the words and silence. Then along the way I start to hear the base line, and the melody. Which is why it takes me so much time between records. I want the words to matter.
LAS: The song “Prepared,” talks about making room in your life for growth. What do you hope the listener will take away from that song?
JILL: If you want something and you believe that you deserve it, you have to be proactive. I know that when I wanted a child and every doctor told me that I would never have children, I had a room full of luggage and I went home and
made space for a baby. For some people that might sound absolutely insane. When I wanted someone special to come into my life, I made room on the opposite side of my bed, and made sure that my nightstand didn’t have anything on it. I made room in my closets. I made sure there was space available for the special person to come into my life. I looked at myself and checked out the things I didn’t like about myself and decided to try and deal with them.
LAS: Speaking of motherhood, how is your son?
JILL: He is fantastic! He’s bright, funny, musical, cool loving, and sweet. He gets along well with other children. His sense of discernment is so special and I’m so proud of that.
LAS: Lighthouse is so beautiful and you sing about having a safe harbor, a place where you can lay your burdens down. Do you have a safe harbor?
JILL: Absolutely, I do but I had to let some people go. I made some apologies to folks and I had to let some people go because not everyone is supposed to be there for the long run. With fame, there are times that people forget that you are just a person. And those people had to leave my life if there was any confusion about who I am as a person. It’s all about life and living.
LAS: The message of this album seems to encourage people to move on, to not get stuck in living a life that you don’t really want?
JILL: That’s right. You pour your heart into the music and the story shows up. Pretty much every song that I wrote and recorded ended up being up on this album. I thank God that I could see the storyline. We all are on a journey and we can determine where we go. We can turn around at any moment because we all deserve to be happy don’t we?
LAS: Yes – we do!
LAS: When is the next time we will get to see you on the screen?
JILL: I’m going to be doing a television show called “Snowfall” with John Singleton and I’m very, very excited about that.
For more information about Jill Scott, visit missjillscott.com