Jordin Sparks (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Jordin Brianna Sparks (born December 22, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter and actress. In 2007, she came to prominence after winning the sixth season of American Idol; at age 17, she became the youngest winner in the series' history. Her self-titled debut album was released later that year; it was certified platinum by the RIAA and has sold over two million copies worldwide. The album spawned US Billboard Hot 100 top ten singles "Tattoo" and "No Air"; the latter is currently the third highest-selling single by any American Idol contestant, selling over three million digital copies in the US. The song earned Sparks her first Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Sparks' second album Battlefield (2009) debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200. Its lead single "Battlefield" reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Sparks the only American Idol contestant to have her first five singles reach the top twenty on the chart. The second single "S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)" became Sparks' first number one on the US Hot Dance Club Play chart. Throughout her career, Sparks has won numerous awards, including a NAACP Image Awards, a BET Award, an American Music Award, a People's Choice Award and two Teen Choice Awards. In 2009, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 91st Artist of the 2000s Decade. In 2012, Sparks was ranked at number 92 on VH1's list of the "100 Greatest Women in Music". As of February 2012, she has sold 1.3 million albums and 10.2 million singles in the United States alone, making her one of the most successful American Idol contestants of all time.
Sparks branched out from recording music, pursuing careers in acting and Broadway, and designing perfumes. She made guest appearances on several television series, beginning with The Suite Life On Deck in 2009, and later in Big Time Rush in 2010. That same year, Sparks made her Broadway debut in the musical, In The Heights, starring as Nina Rosario. She made her feature film debut in a remake of the musical film, Sparkle (2012), which also starred Whitney Houston, Derek Luke, Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter. In October 2010, Sparks released her first perfume, Because of You..., which was followed by her second perfume, Fascinate, in March 2012, with her third perfume Ambition, in November 2012. That same year, People magazine named Sparks as one of 2012's "Most Beautiful at Every Age".
On July 22, 2013 it was announced that Sparks would make her return to the music industry after a four-year solo material hiatus. RCA Records released the first promotional single, "Skipping a Beat", on August 1, 2013 on SoundCloud. The song became available on music media markets on August 13, 2013.
Sparks was born in Phoenix, Arizona, to Jodi (née Weidmann) Sparks and former professional football player Phillippi Sparks. Sparks has a younger brother, Phillippi "PJ" Sparks, Jr., who plays football at the University of North Dakota. Her father is African-American and her mother is Caucasian. She grew up in the suburbs of Ridgewood, New Jersey, while her father played as a defensive back for the New York Giants. After living in New Jersey, Sparks attended Northwest Community Christian School in Phoenix through the eighth grade. Sparks attended Sandra Day O'Connor High School until 2006, when she was homeschooled to better concentrate on her singing. Sparks is an evangelical Christian and attends Calvary Community Church in Phoenix. On her American Idol biography, she thanks her parents and God for her win. She won an award for best young artist of the year in Arizona for three years.
2006: Career beginnings and American Idol
Before appearing on American Idol, Sparks participated in and won such talent competitions as Coca-Cola's Rising Star, the Gospel Music Association Academy's Overall Spotlight Award, America's Most Talented Kids, Colgate Country Showdown, and the 2006 Drug Free AZ Superstar Search. Prior to Idol, Sparks frequently performed the national anthem at various local sporting events, notably for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Sparks also appeared with Alice Cooper in his 2004 Christmas show and toured with Christian contemporary singer Michael W. Smith in 2006. In 2006, Sparks was one of six winners of the Phoenix Torrid search for the "Next Plus Size Model". She was flown to California, where she was featured in numerous Torrid ads and promotional pieces. A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Sparks ran in the December 2006 issue of Seventeen magazine.
In the summer of 2006, Sparks auditioned twice for the sixth season of American Idol: once in Los Angeles but failed to make it past the first round, and again in Seattle after winning Arizona Idol, a talent competition conducted by Phoenix Fox station KSAZ-TV. The Seattle audition is the one seen in the January 17, 2007, broadcast of American Idol, in which she earned a "gold ticket" and the right to appear in the Hollywood Round. American Idol judge Randy Jackson made the offhand prediction that, "Curly hair will win this year." While on the show, Sparks gained a loyal fan base known as "Sparkplugs". On May 23, 2007, Sparks was crowned the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. She remains the youngest winner in American Idol history. Cowell said, "Jordin was the most improved over the whole season " didn't start the best, but midway through this was the girl who suddenly got momentum." He included that "Young girl, likeable, and the singer won over the entertainer [Lewis]."
Four selected songs Sparks had performed on American Idol, including the season's coronation song, "This Is My Now", were made available on her self-titled EP, released on May 22, 2007, the day before the grand finale. The coronation song, "This Is My Now" peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sparks' first top fifteen hit on the chart. The following summer, Sparks took part in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007 from July 6 to September 23, 2007, along with other contestants in the top ten.
Since her win in 2007, Sparks has returned to Idol six times. She performed twice on the seventh season of American Idol, once on the Idol Gives Back results show singing "No Air" with Chris Brown and again with "One Step at a Time" on May 21, 2008, for the finale. She performed "Battlefield" on the May 13, 2009, episode of American Idol.
The following year, Sparks took part in a tribute to Simon Cowell with other former contestants at the ninth season finale on May 26, 2010. During the tenth season, Sparks performed her new song "I Am Woman" on the Top 4 results show. She appeared on the finale of the eleventh season singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" alongside that year's fourth place contestant Hollie Cavanagh. Sparks was the most recent female to win the competition until the twelfth season. In a comedic clip on the finale titled "We Were Sabotaged", the boys of the twelfth season realize that she was the "mastermind" behind the girls' sabotage, because it was five years since a girl had won.
^ When Ryan Seacrest announced the results for this particular night, Sparks was declared safe placing in the top three.
^ Due to the Idol Gives Back performance, the Top 6 remained intact for another week.
2007"2008: Jordin Sparks and breakthrough
Main article: Jordin Sparks (album)
After winning American Idol, Sparks signed to 19 Recordings/Jive Records, becoming the first Idol winner to join the label. On August 27, 2007, she released her debut single, "Tattoo", which peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sparks' first top ten hit on the chart. The song certified platinum in the United States and Australia. To date, "Tattoo" has sold over two million copies in the U.S.
Sparks released her self-titled debut studio album on November 20, 2007, which debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200. To date, it has sold over a million copies in the U.S and was certified platinum by the RIAA. "No Air", a duet with Chris Brown, was released as the second single from the album in February 2008. In the United States, the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming Sparks' best-charting single to date. It was also her first song to appear on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where it reached number four. To date, the song has sold over three million copies in the U.S, making Sparks the first American Idol contestant to reach the three million mark. It also became Brown's first song to hit three million. "No Air" also charted in Australia and New Zealand, where it reached number one, receiving platinum certifications in both countries.
On February 3, 2008, Sparks sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLII. She performed in a tribute to Aretha Franklin at the NAACP Awards in February, as well. She had previously performed in a tribute to Diana Ross in December 2007.
In support of the album, Sparks opened for Alicia Keys on the North America leg of her As I Am Tour, starting on April 19, 2008. Before the tour, a career-threatening throat injury forced Sparks to cancel a few weeks of the shows. Officials revealed she was suffering an acute vocal cord hemorrhage and was ordered strict vocal rest until the condition improved. Sparks was back on the road by April 30, 2008 and remained on the tour until June 18, 2008. Sparks later joined Keys for the tour leg in Australia and New Zealand in December 2008.
The album's third single, "One Step at a Time", was released in June 2008. It peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Sparks her fourth top twenty hit on the chart. This makes Sparks the only American Idol contestant to have her first four singles reach the top twenty of the Hot 100. It also charted in the top twenty in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In New Zealand, the song reached number two and was certified gold by the RIANZ. In August 2008, Sparks co-headlined the Jesse & Jordin LIVE Tour with Jesse McCartney in the United States.
Sparks received two MTV Video Music Award nominations for Best Female Video for "No Air" and Best New Artist at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. While at the awards show, Sparks caused controversy by responding to a joke made by host Russell Brand during his opening monologue, in which he held up a silver ring, claiming to have relieved one of the Jonas Brothers of their virginity, saying he would "take them more seriously if they wore it (the ring) around their genitals". Sparks who also wears a promise ring, began her introduction of T.I. and Rihanna by saying "It's not bad to wear a promise ring because not everybody, guy or girl, wants to be a slut." In response to the controversy over her "slut" remark, Sparks told Entertainment Weekly that she does not regret the remark, commenting that "I wish I would've worded it differently " that somebody who doesn't wear a promise ring isn't necessarily a slut " but I can't take it back now." At the 2008 American Music Awards, Sparks won the award for Favorite Artist in the Adult Contemporary Category.
Main article: Battlefield (album)
On January 20, 2009, Sparks performed "Faith" at the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball, hosted by President Barack Obama during the First inauguration of Barack Obama. Her second studio album, Battlefield was released in the United States on July 21, 2009. The album's title track was released as the lead single on May 25, 2009, and reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked in the top five in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In the United States, Battlefield debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, peaking higher than her debut album's position of number ten. However, the album was notably unsuccessful compared to her debut, only selling 177,000 copies in the U.S and having failed to earn any chart certificates.
In support of the album, Sparks opened for The Jonas Brothers on the North America leg of the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009, starting on June 20, 2009. She also opened for Britney Spears on the second leg of her Circus Tour in North America, beginning on August 24, 2009. Sparks served as a replacement for Ciara.
"S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)", was released as the second single from Battlefield on September 15, 2009. The song topped the U.S Hot Dance Club Songs chart, becoming Sparks' first number one on the chart and peaked in the top fifteen in the United Kingdom. During this time, she recorded the duet, "Art of Love", with Australian artist Guy Sebastian for his fifth studio album, Like It Like That. The song reached the top ten in Australia and New Zealand and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The third single from Battlefield, "Don't Let It Go to Your Head", was released in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2010. The song reached a peak of number sixteen on the UK Singles Chart despite no physical release.
In May 2010, Sparks embarked on her first headlining tour in the United States, the Battlefield Tour. It began on May 1, 2010, and ended on July 18, 2010, stopping in over 35 major cities in the United States. In support of the DVD/Blu-ray re-release of the Disney animated film, Beauty and the Beast, Sparks recorded a cover of the film's title track for the soundtrack. A music video for the song was released on October 18, 2010.
2010"2013: Solo music hiatus and films
In March 2011, Sparks recorded a music video for a song called "The World I Knew" for the film, African Cats, which was released on April 22, 2011. Sparks also contributed background vocals to Demi Lovato's lead single "Skyscraper" from her third studio album. She was featured on the Big Time Rush song "Count on You," and the show with the same name titled "Big Time Sparks" that aired June 18, 2010.
On June 16, 2011, Sparks had her first-ever bikini shoot for the cover of People's Most Amazing Bodies issue. When speaking about her weight loss and diet to Access Hollywood, Sparks said, "My diet has pretty much remained the same, like if I want a piece of bread, I'm gonna have a piece of bread, but I'm making healthier decisions like instead of a bag of chips for a snack, I'll see if I can find an apple. I've also upped my intake of vegetables and I'm drinking a lot more water."
Sparks stated in an August 2011 interview there was no scheduled release date for her third album which was still in production. A song titled "You Gotta Want It" was to be part of an NFL compilation album titled Official Gameday Music of the NFL Vol. 2. According to reports, the song would be available to download on iTunes and Amazon on September 27. The song was co-written by Chris Weaver and Matthew J. Rogers, while being produced by Cash Money Records' Cool & Dre.
On October 7, 2011, RCA Music Group announced it was disbanding Jive Records along with Arista Records and J Records. With the shutdown, Sparks (and all other artists previously signed to these three labels) would release her future material (including her upcoming third studio album) on the RCA Records brand. On November 14, 2011, it was announced that Sparks had recorded an original song called "Angels Are Singing" as a part of ABC Family's "12 Dates of Christmas".
On February 29, 2012 Sparks' boyfriend Jason Derulo took to Twitter announcing the official remix of his single "It Girl" featuring Sparks. There was a video released with the remix, which showed home videos, of Derulo and Sparks together as well as pictures.
On September 12, 2011, it was announced that Sparks would be making her feature film debut playing the lead role in the music-themed pic Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 film inspired by the story of The Supremes. The remake was set in 1968 Detroit, during the rise of Motown. The story focused on the youngest sister, a music prodigy named Sparkle Williams (Sparks), and her struggle to become a star while overcoming issues that were tearing her family apart. R&B singer Aaliyah was originally tapped to star as Sparkle; however, following her death in a 2001 plane crash, production on the film, which was scheduled for 2002, had been derailed. Sparkle was filmed in the fall of 2011 over a two-month period. The movie, starring both Sparks and Houston, was released on August 17 in the United States. On May 21, 2012, "Celebrate", the last song Whitney Houston recorded with Sparks, premiered at RyanSeacrest.com. It was made available for digital download on iTunes on June 5. The song was featured on the Sparkle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album as the first official single. The accompanying music video for Celebrate was filmed on May 30, 2012. The video was shot over 2 days and was released on June 27. A sneak peek of the video premiered on entertainment tonight on June 4, 2012.
On July 24, 2012 it was officially announced that Sparks would star in her second film, an indie drama "'The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete'". The George Tillman Jr-directed film stars Jennifer Hudson, Sparks, Jeffrey Wright, and Anthony Mackie. Michael Starrbury wrote the script, which follows two inner-city youths left to fend for themselves over the summer after their mothers are taken away by the authorities. Production on the film began on July 23, 2012 in Brooklyn. Alicia Keys is the film's executive producer. The film is produced by Street State Pictures.
2013"present: Third studio album & Left Behind Film
In an October 2010 interview, Sparks revealed she had begun working on her third studio album. During an interview with Good Day New York in November 2010, Sparks confirmed she would be recording the album in New York and Arizona. In January 2011, it was reported that Sparks and John Legend were working on songs together in the studio.
On May 5, 2011, it was revealed that Sparks' would release a non-album single titled "I Am Woman". To support her new single, Sparks served as an opening act for the NKOTBSB summer tour. On May 12, 2011, Sparks performed "I Am Woman" on the American Idol Top 4 results show. It debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-two with 33,000 downloads sold. It also debuted on the US Billboard Digital Songs at number fifty-seven. Sparks performed "I Am Woman" on Regis and Kelly on June 14. On August 9, 2012, Sparks stated in an interview with Billboard, that she had about seven songs set so far for her third album. Sparks stated "It's going to be different from what my fans have heard before. With (2009's) 'Battlefield' it was pop/rock and a little bit of pop/R&B, but I'm going for more of the R&B side now, so it's like R&B/pop instead of pop/R&B." In an interview with MTV, Sparks confirmed she had recorded a duet with Jason Derulo and it would be on the album, and could serve as a potential single.
In early May 2013, Sparks took to Twitter announcing that her and RCA Records have finally came to an agreement with releasing new material. Sparks asked her fans to email her their opinions and frustrations regarding the delay in the release of her third studio album. A few days following the meeting, Sparks announced that her new music will be released in the fall of 2013.
On July 22, 2013 it was announced that the first promotional track from her upcoming third studio album would be released on August 1, 2013. "Skipping a Beat" was officially released on August 1, 2013. The buzz single became available for download on August 13, 2013. Sparks was featured on Jason Derulos third studio album, 'Tattoos' which was released on September 24th, 2013. Sparks and Derulos' duet is titled 'Vertigo'.
On August 9, 2013 it was announced that Sparks' had signed on to joined the cast of the action science fiction-thriller film Left Behind. Sparks' character is named Shasta, but for the most part her role is being kept under wraps. One of the films producers Paul Lalonde said that "She will be a passenger on a plane that the film's main character Captain Rayford Steele is piloting. Sparks' will co-star alongside Nicolas Cage as Captain Rayford Steele, Chad Michael Murray as Cameron "Buck" Williams and Nicky Whelan as Hattie Druham. The film is set for release in early 2014. The film's shooting has begun on August 9, 2013 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In April 2008, it was announced that Sparks would team up with cosmetics company, Avon, to become a spokesperson for the teen-focused line Mark. In November 2008, Sparks teamed up with Wet Seal to create her own clothing line 'Sparks', The line launched on November 19, 2008 featuring sizes XS to XL. Sparks said, "I am so excited that Wet Seal and I have been able to create a line of clothing that will appeal to more girls than ever before."
In October 2010, Sparks released her debut fragrance, "Because of You...." This fragrance was exclusively distributed at first by Dots, but by November was made available to other retail stores. The perfume is described as a "fruity floriental perfume" consisting of notes of "clementine, white imperial currant and orange blossom; a heart of nectarine, sharry baby orchid and coral charm peony; and a drydown of sheer musks, vanilla bean, Baltic amber and blond woods." Sparks wanted this product to be affordable for her fans, yet still high end. "When I was starting this project, I really wanted it to be affordable. I looked at some other celebrity fragrances, and they were like $80. Even now, I look at a fragrance that's $80, and I can't bring myself to spend that much." In March 2012, due to the success of her first fragrance, Sparks' released her second fragrance, Fascinate, exclusively with Dots Fashions as a sister scent to her first. It was announced on October 22, 2012, that Sparks was releasing her third fragrance Ambition. In an interview Sparks said; "Right now, I feel like I can take on the world. Ambition is the perfect word for where I am in my life right now". Her new scent is available in retail stores such as Bon-Ton. It was released in stores and online on November 8, 2012 before Sparks presented the fragrance at an official launch party in Milwaukee on December 1, 2012.
Acting and Broadway
In 2009, she made her acting debut on Disney's The Suite Life on Deck, guest starring as herself in the "Crossing Jordin" episode. The episode aired on October 23, 2009. Sparks also guest starred on the hit Nickelodeon show, Big Time Rush. The episode aired on June 18, 2010.
On May 3, 2010, it was announced that Sparks would join the cast of the Broadway show In the Heights as Nina Rosario. Sparks took part in the production from August 19 through November 14 for a consecutive 12 weeks. In addition, Sparks did a voice over on Team Umizoomi as the Blue Mermaid. The episode aired on May 13, 2011. In 2012, Sparks made her feature film debut in Sparkle.
In 2007, Sparks was asked by a relative who works for SOS Children's Villages USA in Florida to design a denim jacket festooned with Swarovski Crystal to support orphans. In February 2008, Sparks traveled to Ghana. She was part of the delegation of former U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush to help with Malaria No More, an organization with a goal to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Sparks joined Mrs. Bush at the Maamobi Polyclinic, where the First Lady donated a number of treated bed nets to some local female traders in order to help combat the scourge of malaria in Ghana. While there, Sparks sang "Amazing Grace" to the durbar of chiefs who had gathered at the venue to give audience to Laura Bush. Sparks said, "Traveling to Ghana with Malaria No More gives me the incredible opportunity to see for myself what a difference a simple mosquito net can make in the life of a child."
In 2008, Sparks supported Dosomething.org's Do Something 101 campaign by filming a public service announcement explaining the nationwide school supplies drive project. She further supported the campaign by helping out at the Do Something 101 School Supply Volunteer Event held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
On May 20, 2009, Sparks became an endorser for the Got Milk? campaign, an American advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of cow's milk. On September 17, 2009, Sparks took part in the VH1 Divas special, a concert created to support the channel's Save The Music Foundation. The concert was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York where Sparks performed the second single from her Battlefield album, S.O.S. (Let the Music Play), as well as "A Broken Wing" with Martina McBride. In February 2010, Sparks was one of the many artists who contributed to "We Are the World 25 for Haiti", a charity single for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Sparks teamed up with Pennyroyal Silver creator and designer, Tim Foster, to create her very own necklace design for the company's signature collection. Proceeds of the necklace funded medical units in Haiti.
On February 3, 2010 Sparks and David Archuleta performed at the "X the TXT" event, held at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. All proceeds raised by the event went to a number of charities, including the Miami Children's Hospital Foundation. The following day both Sparks and Archuleta delivered teddy bears to children at the hospital. In June 2010, the "Thumbs Up to X the TXT" pledge campaign, established by "The Allstate Corporation", made its way to Sparks' Battlefield Tour, presented by Mike & Ike to encourage teens and their families not to text while driving. Fans at Sparks' concerts made a pledge not to text and drive by adding their thumbprint to a traveling banner at each of her shows. The campaign began at Sparks' Battlefield Tour on June 3, 2010 and ended on July 18, 2010. Sparks is the main spokesperson for the "I'm M.A.D., Are You?" campaign. She also supports Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which helps to raise money for children with cancer. Sparks traveled to Louisiana in June 2010 to visit the Gulf Coast oil spill with the Audubon Society to view the effects of the oil spill on the wildlife and marshes. Sparks is also is a member of the National Youth Leadership Committee for the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, along with Nick Jonas, Genevieve Ryan, and Brodi Conover.
On July 28, 2011, Sparks performed a live surprise concert in Times Square. Sparks was named the "VH1 Save The Music Foundation Ambassador" in 2011. It was announced on November 9, 2011, that Sparks would be titled as a 'Vh1 Save the Music Ambassador' again for 2012. Sparks is joined by fellow American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry, Lupe Fiasco, Katy Perry and others.