Jill Scott (born April 4 1972) is an American soul and R&B singer-songwriter, poet, and actress.
Scott was raised by her mother, Joyce Scott, and her grandmother, Blue Babe, in North Philadelphia. "She was a very loved child," Joyce Scott told Toure in RollingStone.com, a fact that Jill Scott herself readily acknowledges. She remembers protective teenage boys in the neighborhood looking out for her, making sure she got home safely. Many of those boys, she recalled sadly in Essence, died from gunshot wounds. She later donated money for a computer lab to the elementary school she attended as a girl. She grew up listening to her grandmother humming tunes around the kitchen. She has had very little formal vocal training, but Scott has spent years listening to artists who inspire her singing style.
She credits listening to singers like Sarah Vaughan, Donnie Hathaway, Minnie Riperton, and opera star Leontyne Price for helping her mold her vocal sound. "I listened and I went to a class that included all that I needed to learn," Scott said in an interview with Sanchez for Essence. "I wanted to learn voice techniques, how to breathe. I wanted to learn how to use the tools, but I didn't want them to take over and crush the spirit."
Jill began her career as a poet while studying at Temple University to become a high-school English teacher. When she first worked with children, Scott helped them learn how to spell by making up songs. The kids loved it, but her supervising teachers wrote her off as young and idealistic. Frustrated with her studies and a dead-end retail job while at Temple, Scott also pursued acting. At first she had balked when a friend suggested she should act, but when her first attempts were enjoyable and successful, she quit her job and dropped out of school to take an apprenticeship with a theater company. She ultimately landed the role in the Canadian touring production of the hit Broadway musical Rent. She worked a number of jobs to make ends meet during those struggling years.
A Three-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best-selling poet, and critically acclaimed actor are only a few titles held by Jill. Before having the #1 album in the country with "The Light of The Sun", performing at The White House, being named People Magazine's Top TV Breakout Star of 2010 and appearing on VH1 Divas alongside Aretha Franklin, the triple threat began her career collaborating with musical icons, The Roots, Will Smith, and Common in the late 90s.
In 2000, she released her much anticipated debut record, Who is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds, Vol. 1, a double platinum album that earned Scott several Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist. Two more critically acclaimed albums followed, Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds, Vol. 2 and The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3 which garnered two more Grammy Awards and spawned multiple worldwide tours.
Never limited to music, Jill Scott is a true multimedia brand across books, clothing, TV and film. Most recently, Jill starred in Get On Up: A James Brown Biopic, as DeeDee, the wife of James Brown. She also starred alongside Tyler Perry & Janet Jackson in the #1 national movie series Why Did I Get Married? (Pt. 1 and 2), Baggage Claim, Steel Magnolias and Sins of the Mother which aired on Lifetime and became the second-most watched premiere in the network's history.
Scott was also casted as the lead character in the HBO/BBC mini-series filmed on location in Botswana, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, a Peabody Award-winning show directed by the late Oscar Award-winning director Anthony Minghella. In 2017, Jill Scott was casted as "Nayyirah Shariff" in the original Lifetime film Flint, a drama based on the Flint water crisis in Flint, Michigan - also starring Betsy Brandy, Marin Ireland and Queen Latifah.
A consummate writer at heart, she penned The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours, a compilation of poems that instantly became a New York Times bestseller. Scott also developed an intimates line for Ashley Stewart and founded Blues Babe, a registered 501(c)3 foundation that has raised over hundreds of thousands dollars to support minority students pursuing college degrees.
Jill released her highly anticipated 5th studio album Woman on July 24, 2015 which opened on the music charts at #1 giving Jill her 2nd consecutive number one album. In January of 2017, Jill Scott marked her brand's expansion into stationary, releasing an exclusive "Jill Scott" greeting card collection in partnership with Hallmark Mahogany. Jill Scott received a 2017 Grammy nomination in the "Best Traditional R&B Performance" category for her single, "Can't Wait." Jill's most recent endeavor - find her taking on the role of "Hazel" in the BET + remake of the 1996 romantic comedy, The First Wives Club.
Poems - 15 in all
We the People
A Poet's Home
Old School Lovin'
It's the Little Things
Dis Niggah (for Leslie)
Untitled #1 (Love Sucks)
Perms, Hot Combs, and Curlers
The Downfall of a North Philly Freak
Young Buck Lovin' on the Kitchen Floor