After winning American
Idol in 2007, Jordin Sparks hasn't attained Carrie
Underwood-level success, but she's fared far better in her pop
career than Idol alums like Taylor
Hicks. Her self-titled debut album featured two smash singles,
"Tattoo" and a duet with Chris
Brown, "No Air." Both songs showed that Sparks can put her DNA into
material and helped the disc move more than 2 million copies worldwide.
Last year's Battlefield yielded the hit title-track single, which
has very little to do with Pat Benatar aside from the fierce attitude attached. Currently, Sparks
is prepping for her Broadway debut later this summer in the Tony-winning
musical In the Heights.
New Times recently got on the horn with Sparks -- who does not want teens to text and drive, and neither do we -- to discuss her new tour, moving to New York, and what a Cowell-less American Idol will feel like.
New Times: How does it feel to be moving to New York for In the Heights?
Jordin Sparks: It would be kinda difficult to do eight shows a week without living
there. It's going to be a new experience for me with how the music is
and being onstage. It's going to be different for me just in my life,
growing up. I'll be moving there and on my own for the first time. And
it's New York City of all places. It's just going to be really, really
cool. I can't wait to see what happens.
What is your favorite Broadway musical?
My favorite -- my new favorite now, once they gave me the soundtrack, is
In the Heights. I didn't know anything was going to happen. It was
totally unexpected for me. I went and saw the show and was like, "I'm in
love with this." I've listened to the soundtrack probably at least
three times a day since I got it, and that was in February. My all-time
favorite is Smokey Joe's Cafe. They had a pretty long run on
Broadway, and I was so sad when it ended. Ever since I saw it when I was 7, I wanted to be on that show. Some of the songs from the play I
have performed, and they've stayed with me. "I (Who Have Nothing)" was
one that I saw in that play, and I sang it on American Idol. That
was kind of a turning-point night for me.
Speaking of, what do you think American Idol will be without Simon Cowell?
It's definitely going to be different. Just the same way it was
different without Paula [Abdul]. People tune in to watch them
and what they were going to say. When Paula was there, what was she
going to wear, or was she going to say something funny? With Simon, he's
very truthful and says what's on his mind. He doesn't care what anyone
else thinks about it. There are a lot of people who want to say what he
says, but we're just a little more cautious (laughs). I think it's
going to be very different. I don't want the ratings to go down without
Simon because I love the show. Only time will tell. I think a lot of
people will tune in to see what it's like without him there and what
kind of changes they'll make. If they're going to stick with just three
judges still or add a fourth judge.
How's the tour going so far?
It's been going really well. We just finished New York last night. It's
been really crazy. A lot of people consider a day off to be something
different, but for me, a day off is when I don't sing. I think it's been
almost three weeks since my band and I have had a day off. The audience
has been so responsive and so great. It's so amazing to see all of my
fans there supporting me, singing the words to all of my songs. It's
something that I don't think I'll ever get used to. It's exciting to be
headlining for the first time. That's just amazing. I'm used to being
the opener for the past three years or a special guest. Instead of 20
minutes onstage, it's an hour, and instead of five songs, it's 17 songs.
Still getting used to that.
What's it like being on the road with Kate Voegle?
It's been great. She's so sweet, so talented. Beautiful too, by the way.
Last night, she was really sweet. She extended her set because there was
so much going on last night and it was so chaotic -- I wasn't sure if I
was going to get ready on time. She extended her set by a couple of
songs, and I think she had a lot of fun doing that. I also have Days
Difference on tour with me. They're this boy band, and they're really
good. I'm really excited to have them and still getting used to that.
I'm used to being in their spot.
Have you learned the songs for the music, and will that material be in
Yes, I know all of the songs already. When I listen to something and
it's really good music, it kinda just sticks with me. I've had the songs
memorized for quite a while. I met up with the [In the Heights]
musical director yesterday to go through the parts and the rhythm, so
that I can practice more thoroughly. We've been practicing so that I can
sing "Breathe" in the tour. We're hoping we get that done in the next
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couple days so that I can start performing it.
22, at Revolution, 200 W. Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost
$20.50. Call 954-727-0950, or click here.