AI6: Interview with Jordin Sparks: Long Live the Diva
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call with the newest American Idol, Jordin. She is a very nice girl and I sure she will have great success from this show. I wish her the best as she starts off her new music career.
And now being the newest Idol, whatís one thing that youíve gleaned from the other Idolsí careers that youíll use to your advantage in your own career? Perhaps maybe from the female Idols: Kelly, Fantasia, Carrie.
J. Sparks: Iím not sure. I look up to them; I know I do, because Iíve been watching them for the past couple years in their career and have their records. But I would love to model my career after theirs, because theyíve been so successful, so I would love to have a career like theirs.
And for my follow-up question I was actually just recently speaking with the two guys who penned your This Is Your Now tune, and they were so excited to have you sing it. What does that song mean to you?
J. Sparks: Itís actually so perfect, because I remember sitting down when we got the song, and I was listening to it and I couldnít believe how perfect it was for just this whole process in general, because it totally relates to what Iíve been dreaming about and just everything about it. It was so perfect, and I love singing it because it spoke to me that way.
My question for you is you got quite the nice Mustang on the finale. So do you actually have your driverís license and are you a good driver?
J. Sparks: Yes, I have my driverís license. I actually got it I think July of last year, so it was about before I went and auditioned. I think Iím okay; I havenít gotten any tickets or anything yet. So I think Iím all right.
And can you disclose how many you actually got wrong on your driverís test? Or did you get anything wrong on your driverís test?
J. Sparks: Well my driverís test I think I did pretty well. The permit test I kind of had a problem with, but then I went and studied and then I passed, so it was good.
How did you emotionally handle the showsí various pressures throughout the season?
J. Sparks: Itís cool, because since I am a minor I have a guardian with me. And so I had my mom or my nana, because they would switch off, I would have them with me throughout the season. So it was cool to have them to lean on. Ö everything like that, so it was really cool to have everybody and Ö
And when during the season did you first feel that you could win?
J. Sparks: I felt like I could win, I guess, at top 12. Your chances improve as you keep going through the competition, and itís better than one out of 15,000 at the Key Arena, so when I got to the top 12 I was like, ďHey, I have a one in twelve chance of winning.Ē It turned out pretty well.
What would like to sing on the American Idol Tour? Do you have any thoughts on what youíre going to sing?
J. Sparks: I have no idea what Iím going to do on it. Everything is happening so fast that I havenít even had really a chance to think about it. But itís going to be cool, because itís going to be a different show and everybody is going to sing what is geared towards them and what suits their voice the best. So I have no idea; I havenít really thought about it yet. Iím sorry.
And a follow-up question, has Blake taught you any be-bopping at all?
J. Sparks: Heís tried to teach me, but Iím really horrible at it. I try, and sometimes I entertain myself by trying to do it, but I canít do it.
I wanted to ask you throughout the course of, specifically I guess the top twelve, different contestants go attention for so many different things, Melinda and LaKisha consistently for their terrific voices, Blake for his originality and then Sanjaya for just sort of being himself. Tell me what you think it was that eventually, finally put you over the top despite all the other attention everyone else was getting.
J. Sparks: I donít know; I guess itís just want America liked and they loved seeing it. Itís cool to have different story lines, and thatís what makes this show so great is because everybody is so different. I donít know, I tried to top myself every week and I guess I just stayed the same. Iím just a quirky 17-year oldÖ I donít know, I guess people just started to see that.
I wanted to ask you what did Blake say to you immediately after the win?
J. Sparks: Well he just said, ďCongratulations, honey.Ē Heís been so great; heís been one of my biggest supporters since the beginning, I guess, and Iíve been one of his. So it was really cool that I got to share the stage with him. I felt very honored.
You sound like youíre losing your voice. Have you been constantlyó?
J. Sparks: I am a little bit. JustóI donít know.
So what has your schedule been like since you won?
J. Sparks: Itís been pretty crazy. The day before yesterday, the night of, I did a ton of press until about 11:45, and then didnít really get home or to bed until 1:30, and then I had to wake up at 4:00. So I was running on two hours of sleep yesterday.
Itís been pretty crazy, but it was actually pretty easy yesterday. We did some affiliate stuff and we did Leno and Ellen, and it was really fun. I had a good time. And now Iím up talking to you guys.
And have you spoken to your best friend from school yet? The one we saw in your tape of going home?
J. Sparks: Yes, yes, I have actually. Iím sorry; I couldnít hear. Yes, I did, I talked to her. She was telling me how proud she was of me, and that she was sad because she probably wonít see me as much anymore. I told her not to worry, because even though I am busy it will be okay and I still love her. Weíve been keeping in contact, and Iíve been talking to her all the time, so itís good.
I know kind of now youíre going to be thrust even more into the spotlight as the winner. How have you prepared yourself for all of it?
J. Sparks: I donít think you can prepare yourself for it. Iím kind of just taking it one step at a time and rolling with the punches and kind of just going with the flow.
Now that you are in the spotlight there are going to be a lot of pressures out there. How do you think you will keep yourself grounded? Like there are a lot of pressures to be super thin in Hollywood, there are a lot of pressures to do certain things, go out all the time; how will you keep yourself grounded from these types ofó?
J. Sparks: Oh, that super thin stuff, Hollywood needs to get over it. I donít know, I have a really good family around me and I love the people that I have around me. Iím pretty sure theyíll keep me grounded; I know they will, because they are always like, ďDonít let it go to your head, Jordin.Ē Iím like, ďOkay.Ē I know that my mom and my dad and my grandparents, Iíll just keep them with me. As long as I have them with me I think Iíll be okay.
First of all, they showed a red on and blue one. Which one did you pick? And then did you actually get out and get to drive it at all yesterday?
J. Sparks: The night we got it I talked to Blake and I was like, ďBlake, what color do you want?Ē because I wanted the red one and he was, ďI want blue,Ē And thatís the first thing that came out of his mouth and I said, ďYes,Ē because I got the red one. So he took the blue and I got the red, but I havenít seen it yet and I havenít been able to drive it yet. Itís been kind of crazy.
And the other part I was going to ask you was about your schooling now. Have you finished your schooling for your junior year? And for senior year, since youíre going to be so busy, are you going to do something else like tutor or test out or something?
J. Sparks: I actually had my last block of school yesterday, so now Iím on summer break so Iím really excited about that. But for my senior year I want to graduate, but Iíve been home schooling for about two years now, so I think Iím going to keep doing that. And they brought a tutor for me during the season, so it was really cool. But I would love to graduate. I donít know. I have to take each day by day, because I donít know because Iíve been so busy. I would love to finish though.
So my question for you is what female pop star would you most like to collaborate with?
J. Sparks: Oh my goodness. Whoa, thatís a good question. There are so many; I have such a broad taste that there are so many that I would love to work with. I love Christina Aguilera and I love Martina McBride. I donít know; there are so many. Those few I guess; I guess those were the first ones that popped into my head. I would love to work with them.
And have you ever thought about Broadway?
J. Sparks: Yes, I have actually. When my dad was playing football, since we lived really close, we would go to Broadway plays a lot. We saw The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast and Smokey Joeís Cafť--one of may favorites. I donít know, I love musical theater and I love the performance aspect of it. Singing will always be my number one, but on the side or maybe some day Iíll be able to do it. I donít know yet.
And what are you planning to do when you get home?
J. Sparks: I think I want to sleep in my own bed and I want to play with my puppies and spend time with my best friends and read a book.
Could you explain to those of us, and maybe itís only me, who donít know how the mechanism of your record contract works? In other words, now that youíre the winner how does the arrangement with the record company work, and if you could explain some of the logistics of that?
J. Sparks: I donít think I really even know that much. I guess Blake and I got the same contract. I donít really know. We have the same contract and we get to put an album out and we get to tour; I donít really know much more than that.
Do you have representation and have you contemplated what your earning power may be?
J. Sparks: Yes, I do. I donít know. Iím just looking forward to doing the best that I can do.
I donít quite understand the answer. You do have representation?
J. Sparks: Yes.
And can you say what agency youíre with?
Moderator: She canít answer that question at this point.
My question is what sort of album would you like to make now?
J. Sparks: I love all different types of genre of music, so I would love to infuse everything into one. I love country and I love pop, I love R&B and I love rock and roll, so I would love to do just a little bit of each, but still make it so that people can enjoy it. I hope they enjoy that with my little Jordin flair added to it.
And are there any particular songwriters or producers youíd like to work with?
J. Sparks: Wow. There are a lot. I canít think of any right now. I guess whoever is willing to work with me.
So my question for you is I just want to try to get some of an idea of like how much your life has changed from before the show started to now. What were you like in high school and with your friends, what did you guys like to do compared to whatís happening in your life now?
J. Sparks: Itís changed so much. When I was in high school I donít know, Iíd hang out with my friends and sometimes I had drama club. We had rehearsals because we did A Christmas Carol and Footloose, so we would do that, and that was, I think, my freshman year. I was just a normal kid.
I was excited to get my driverís license, but I was way more excited to do American Idol. I talked about it all the time; I am a die-hard fan of the show. I was just normal; I think Iím still pretty much that way. Iím still a die-hard fan and I still keep in touch with my friends and stuff.
Would you say that you were popular in high school? Did you hang out mostly with the drama club people?
J. Sparks: I was kind of a floater; I hung out with pretty much everybody, because I had so many different friends. It was really cool. I wasnít like in one sort of click. The drama club was always fun; that was like the after school, extra curricular thing that I would do, and I made tons of great friends in there. Then I have my basketball friends. I liked everybody.
Was there anyone, and you donít have to name names specifically, but now that youíve made it you kind of are like, ďHa ha,Ē like that kind of thing?
J. Sparks: Not that I know of. I tried to make friends with everybody, and if there was Iím sorry that they felt that way. I donít know.
Youíre the youngest ever person to win American Idol, and youíre being compared to Leona Lewis, who won the version in this country. Are you aware of Leona? Do you have plans to come over here?
J. Sparks: I actually heard that the other day; I think my mom was telling me about her the other day. But I would love to come over there. It would be really cool.
Youíre now seen as an Idol, because obviously millions of young kids watched it. Who are your kind of inspirations? Who made you want to sing in the first place?
J. Sparks: I guess Iíve always loved to sing, but I remember watching an award show, and I think it was Mariah Carey performing. I remember watching her and I was like, ďOh my gosh, she looks so beautiful and I want to do that, mom. I want to do that.Ē I donít even remember the exact year, I just remember seeing her and wanting to perform.
My first question is would you have been more nervous if you had been competing against Melinda in the final?
J. Sparks: I donít know. Actually I thought it was going to be Blake and Melinda, so I was just like, ďWhoa. Cool.Ē Melinda is one of my best friends ever, and I love her to death. If I would have been up against her I would have been so happy if she won, because she is just so amazing and I just love her. I donít know if I would have been nervous.
Did you feel that confidently you could have won against her?
It would have been anybodyís game I guess, because I guess we both kind of have the powerful voices. But I think we reach out to different people, so it could have been anybodyís game.
And my follow-up question is who is your celebrity crush?
J. Sparks: Iím going to have to say Brad Pitt.
Why Brad? Itís quite obvious, really, butó
J. Sparks: I donít know, heís just really cute. I donít know him, so I donít know anything else except heís just really good looking.
When is your song, This Will Be Now, to be released? And what is it about the song that will resonate with the fans?
J. Sparks: Itís already out, actually, on iTunes and americanidol.com, so itís already out. Did you ask what my plans are?
No. Whatís going to resonate with the fans? What about the song?
J. Sparks: Oh, Iím so sorry; I couldnít understand. For me the song is just so perfect, speaking to everything that Iíve dreamed about. It so crazy just talking about there was a time when you didnít feel like you could do it and now you can. Itís so amazing and I love the song so much. And hopefully they like it.
How are you handling all this sudden fame and what are the good and the bad parts?
J. Sparks: I donít think anything can really prepare you for it, so itís still kind of weird to me. Itís crazy. I donít know, Iím just taking it step-by-step and being careful. I donít know about any good and bad parts yet, because Iíve only been doing this for one day, so Iím still getting used to it.
Now Iím just wondering, what is the greatest lesson you learned from the American Idol experience?
J. Sparks: I donít know, this whole process has kind of made me a better person and everything. Iíve loved everything about it. Itís taught me how to emote better and itís taught me to be a better performer and itís definitely taught me how crazy a weekís schedule can be. Itís made me a better person, and I wouldnít have traded it for anything.
And my second question is who has been the greatest influence in your life?
J. Sparks: I guess that would definitely have to be my family. They all are just so amazing and theyíve been so encouraging, and have been supporting me since I told them that I wanted to sing. It was so awesome seeing them in the audience that night. They deserve all the credit, because theyíve been there pushing behind me 100%.
I wanted to ask you a little bit more about your family and what you remember about your dad being a New York Giant and growing up and spending time in New Jersey and in the city of New York.
J. Sparks: I remember is pretty well. I loved that he was playing football, because I love the sport myself. When he was playing it was really cool because we would go to the games and we would watch. It was just so amazing, because my dad, heís such a people person and heís so nice. Afterwards weíd have to walk around and he would sign autographs and stuff. He was just one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and so I really looked up to him for that.
He actually told me the other day how weird it was that he was watching me sign autographs, because I used to watch him do the same thing. So Ö kind of came full circle.
How many times did you come into the city itself? Did you used to come and spend the weekends in the city? Were there favorite spots you had that you used to go hang out in?
J. Sparks: We lived pretty close, like a 20-minute drive from Manhattan, so we were there quite a lot. We went to Broadway, obviously, and we love the All Star Cafť. That was an awesome place to eat; oh my gosh, I love that place. I think when I go out there hopefully Iíll get to stop by; I would love to.
Weíre wondering, obviously the big American Idol victory was the pinnacle of your life; you couldnít even imagine something so big. But by contrast, what were the pinnacles of your life before Idol? What were the greatest moments before this?
J. Sparks: Youíre going to laugh at me, but getting my braces off. Iím just a quirky 17-year old girl, and getting my braces off was awesome. I did get my license, and that was cool eventually. And then just making it through the first round of the auditions, it amazed me because I didnít think I had a chance because so many people auditioned. But just the normal things--braces and getting my license.
And other than the minute you were declared the winner, what was the most memorable American Idol moment for you?
J. Sparks: Singing with Gladys Knight was just so amazing; I canít even put into words how amazing that was. I remember she walked out on the stage during rehearsal and I couldnít believe that I was going to be singing with her. When she came out that night me and Melinda just looked at each other like oh my goodness, I canít believe this is happening. It was so amazing.
Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call. I also want to thank all the FORTers for the great question contributions this season. I tried to get as many in as possible but as we got down to the end I had a hard time getting any in.
That's all folks!
Re: AI6: Interview with Jordin Sparks: Long Live the Diva
Thanks for taking the time to do all of these interviews this year Gnome.
I don't know, do you think Jordin could have said I don't know just a little bit more. God love her I hope she stays she as sweet and innocent as she is now.
Big Electric Cat
Re: AI6: Interview with Jordin Sparks: Long Live the Diva
She seems to have a lovely, huge heart, but boy what cheesy taste in music! I hope she grows well as a musician, and wish her the best. She's a sweetie. Thanks, YG.
Token Christian. If truth is relative, how do you know?
Re: AI6: Interview with Jordin Sparks: Long Live the Diva
Oh, to be 17, and like, not know anything.
She wasn't my choice to win, and I'm not likely to buy her CD, but I wish her the best.
Great job all season with these interviews, Yardgnome. It's been truly enjoyable!
Re: AI6: Interview with Jordin Sparks: Long Live the Diva
Yardgnome, great recaps this season! Looking forward to next season!!!
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