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Music Interview

Jordin Sparks

By
Jordin Sparks
She's already proved she can pull off a power ballady duet ('No Air'), a midtempo R&B track ('Tattoo') and a crashing great slab of soft rock ('Battlefield'), but now Jordin Sparks is trying something completely different. Her new single 'SOS (Let The Music Play)' is a sassy dance-pop stomper built around a sample from Shannon's 1983 classic... thwack! 'Let The Music Play'. Keen to find out how the dancefloor's treating her, we called Jordin for a chat.

Have you enjoyed trying something different with 'SOS'?
"Yeah, I loved experimenting with it because I haven't really done anything this dance-pop before. This is the first single I've put out that I can imagine being played in a club. When my A&R first played it to me, he said, 'It's got a Shannon sample in it', but I didn't know the sample because I wasn't actually born when 'Let The Music Play' came out! I loved the track right off the bat though."

Are you a big clubber?
"Oh yeah, I love it! When I go out clubbing I can dance 'til three o'clock in the morning with just a water bottle in my hand. I love dancing to anything with a good beat really. My favourite song to dance to at the moment is probably Drake's 'Best I Ever Had'. The last time I was in a club everyone got really excited when that song came on."

Would you dance to 'SOS' if it came on in a club?
"Haha! It would probably depend on who I was with. If I was with friends and they were really excited for me, I'd love to have a dance to it! But I was with a group of new people, I'd probably be a bit more cautious. I might kinda say, 'Oh yeah, that's my song' but not really dance along."

Are you pleased with how the album's been received?
"I really am! I didn't want to assume that people would like my new material, but my fans have been really enthusiastic. I had more time to work on this album than I did with my first one, so I had a chance to live out the songs and really feel them. When I put them all together I was really proud with what I'd got. I don't go out there looking for reviews, but my label will send me some over so I can see what the overall consensus is. It's been mostly positive luckily."

'Battlefield' was a top ten hit in the US and nearly a top ten hit in the UK, but are you disappointed it didn't do better? Lots of pop fans thought it could be No.1.
"Oh, thank you! 'Battlefield' was one of those slow-building songs the way 'Tattoo' was. It was kind of a word-of-mouth hit. The more people heard it, the more they started requesting it on the radio. I love the song so much and when I first heard it I was like, 'Oh my gosh, No.1!' When it didn't do that, I was like, 'Well that's OK though, because I have lots of other great songs to come'."

You performed at VH1's Divas Live last month. Do you like being called a diva?
"That term's definitely got a negative aura to it, because people think a diva is somebody with an attitude who demands things all the time. Of course there is that type of diva, but my idea of a diva has always been a singer - whether male or female - who gets on that stage and captivates you with their presence and their voice. I think of people like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion, so to be able to follow in their footsteps and perform at Divas was really cool. So yeah, I guess I like being called a diva!"

Do you have any diva-ish demands?
"You know, I don't have anything too crazy on my rider. I just ask for tea, apples and chips and salsa! But since Idol I've gotten used to having an amazing hair and make-up team around me, so I'm starting to get picky. I know what I like now and I'm happy to say 'Could we maybe change that?' if I don't like something. I don't yell or anything, but I think I could definitely start to act a little diva-ish when it comes to my look."

Did you get to hang out with any of the other divas backstage?
"Backstage was just the craziest place - everyone was running around like they'd had their head cut off! I did get to talk with Jennifer, Kelly, Miley, Adele and Leona though. Leona actually wrote me a personalised card saying it was an honour to be going onstage with me, which was just so, so sweet. I really wasn't expecting it and she almost had me in tears! You guys have a really, really good girl in Leona."

Do you like her new single, 'Happy'?
"Yeah, I love the lyrics and you can definitely hear that Ryan Tedder worked on the music. The way Leona performs it is just amazing. I love everything that Leona does though - I'd listen to her sing the phonebook."

You've just finished supporting Britney on tour. How did that go?
"Great! Before one of the very last shows, I got to chat with Britney and say thank you for having me on the tour. She told me she really liked my show, which was cool to hear. I didn't have chance to hang out with her too much because she's Britney and she's always doing something, but I bumped into her a few times and she was always really sweet. And of course she killed it onstage! Her production's just crazy with all the dancers and contortionists and aerialists. It's an amazing spectacle to watch."

Jordin's single, 'SOS (Let The Music Play)', and album, Battlefield, are both available to buy now.

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