Five years ago, I took advantage of an opportunity to feature great neo-soul artist Jill Scott. She was making a concert appearance here in South Florida that created a lot of excitement. March is the month that marks the annual Jazz in the Gardens event. It is a festival that features the best in today’s jazz and R&B entertainment. Jill Scott is one of the headliners at this weekend’s event.
It is great to have Jill Scott back, performing once again. I am definitely not the only one here in South Florida who considers Ms. Scott one of my favorites. Almost two years ago Scott released her fifth studio album, Woman. At that time, I was preparing to feature Scott and write about her new music. Circumstances pushed me to reschedule and eventually cancel the post. Now, I have an opportunity with her return to the stage of South Florida.
Usually, a great deal of career moves occur during a five-year span of time, unless an artist takes a hiatus. Jill Scott certainly did not take any time away from music, or any other entertainment projects. Woman is a hit with some of Jill Scott’s best songs to date. In Weekly Music Commentary’s first feature of Jill Scott, I wrote about her fourth studio album The Light of the Sun and other television and film projects. This time I would like to feature more about Jill Scott, the person and artist.
Jill Scott was born April 4, 1972 in Philadelphia, PA USA. She has earned several titles within the entertainment industry: singer-songwriter, model, poet and actress and others. She grew up an only child in a North Philadelphia neighborhood, 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”. Scott attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls. After graduating from high school, Scott attended Temple University while simultaneously working two jobs. She studied secondary education for three years and, at one time, planned to become a high school English teacher. However, after serving as a teacher’s aide, Scott became disillusioned with a teaching career, and she dropped out of college. Like many artist before their big break Jill Scott worked a variety of retail jobs and even in an ice cream parlor.
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. The collaboration resulted in a co-writing credit for Scott on the song, “You Got Me”. 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 début album, Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1 was released in 2000. She experienced some notice and chart success with the single “A Long Walk”, eventually earning a Grammy nomination in early 2003 for Best Female Vocal Performance. She never looked back.
Interestingly, Jill Scott embarked upon an acting career about the same time her music career took off. On the advice of her good friend, director Ozzie Jones, she began pursuing a career in acting in 2000. In 2004, Scott expanded her résumé by appearing in several episodes of season four of UPN’s Girlfriends, playing Donna, a love interest to main character, William Dent (Reggie Hayes). She also appeared in the Showtime movie Cavedwellers, starring Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Scott has moved to create and extensive television and film resume as well as musical accomplishments.
It is the stage where Jill Scott appears most at home. Wherever she might appear around the world, Scott is a performer who gives her audience 100 percent. Like many other festivals and venues around the world, Jazz in the Gardens here in South Florida continues to be a place where Jill Scott has many fans.
In the weeks looking ahead to this post, I went back and listened to the album Woman several times. It served as a reminder of Jill Scott’s vocal abilities. She is an artist who stands on her own talents. Woman is the first recording from Jill Scott since joining Atlantic Records. Therefore, there will possibly be more music in the near future. That would be great!
Once again South Florida has been host to one of the finest vocalists of our day. It’s always a delight when Jill Scott takes the stage. Therefore, on behalf of all the music fans of South Florida, welcome back Jill Scott.