Jill Scott is one of those timeless artists that we have to thank the ancestors for time and time again. She never goes out of style, her music always feels new, and to be honest, we probably don’t deserve her. I remember the first time I head “The Way”, it was so familiar even though it was the first time. That’s the Jill Scott effect.
To date, Scott has made 12 projects, including studio albums, live albums, compilation albums, and even a remix album. And while Scott’s music is what she has became the most known for, she also got bitten by the acting bug, starring in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? and as Hazelle Rachelle in the BET+ series First Wives Club, which the second season premiered July 15.
And thankfully, sis knows just as much as we do, that her music is like that. So much so, that when asked by Glamour Magazine to pick her top five, she was like the rest of us, and had a hard time. And if you’re like me, you know what time it is soon as you finish reading this one.
So grab your wine, sit back, and press play. Here are the five songs Jill Scott says means the most to her soul:
[embedded content] “The Way” is the third single from her debut album, Who Is Jill Scott? Scott co-wrote the song with songwriter and producer Andre Harris. “The Way” reached the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.
“I was definitely in love. My boyfriend at the time was just so sweet to me and very kind and thoughtful and was real nice. I was being pretty literal in the song, talking about the day that I experienced waking up and making breakfast—like it was very, very literal. There really wasn’t a lot of science to it…I was talking about the day. I even worked on Third Street, as the lyrics say.”
“Why was I so happy? I was questioning if it was the way he loves me. This mutual sweet love started with a friendship. That’s what made it so different—it being mutual. That’s what made me write about it in the first place. It was precious, you know?”
“Whenever You’re Around”
“Whenever You’re Around” was the third single from Scott’s 2007 album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3. Released in 2008, the song was cowritten by Scott and songwriter and producer JR Hutson. Although there was never an accompanying video, it did well on R&B charts and reached number 16 on Hot Adult R&B Airplay.
“‘Whenever You’re Around’ is a song I wrote when things took a left. When the relationship wasn’t as sweet anymore; we had been married, and it was time to part ways. I had this awesome rhythm that easily could have been like a party song. In fact, Musiq Soulchild asked me why didn’t I make this a jam, and I said that’s the story that came out of me when I heard the music. Because it was bittersweet, at least. That’s the best way I can describe it—the hook of the song says, ‘I’m lonely whenever you’re around.'”
Yes, poetry! She then says:
“I tend to put my whole life into music. And then later on, I’m like, “Dammit, why did I say that? Why did I write that?” Now I have to either sing it or explain it. I think the challenge is that I have to relive it, you know? I have to keep reliving these things.”
“Until Then (I Imagine)”
From Scott’s fourth album, The Light of the Sun, the lyrics and sound of “Until Then (I Imagine)” epitomizes the sexy soulfulness that has been a signature for Scott. Though never a single on its own, the song was a big favorite among Scott’s fans when the project came out in 2011. It was co-written by Scott alongside renowned writer and producer Warryn Campbell.
“I do enjoy my sexual music very much. This is my favorite one, and I think it’s great writing too. I love this track. That ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding—I love that; it’s soooo dirty. And it’s so well written in my opinion. I’m not trying to get myself up, but I really think that if I didn’t write it, I’d be like, ‘Damn, that sounds good!’
“The song was about someone, but I’m not going to tell you who it is because he’s long gone! But he was very confident in himself. He believed in the power of his energy and of his penis. We know what he was working with, and he was fully aware of how to work it. It’s the confidence for me.”
“One Is the Magic #”
“One Is the Magic #” is another track from Scott’s debut album in which she worked with Vidal Harris, who co-wrote it. Since it wasn’t released as a single, there isn’t a video for the song either. But for Scott, the track showcases her lonesomeness. Growing up as an only child, Scott says she doesn’t like to be around people much; at that time of her life, it was a testament to the necessity of self-love and self-reliance.
“I was really on this mindset at that time that there’s nobody else that’s gonna do it for me. They’re not going to work for me, they’re not going to try for me, they’re not going to pray for me. They’re not going to cry for me, you know? I was thinking life is really about what I do, and how I do it. I remember writing that and feeling free. Because as a young woman, you get this idea that some prince is going to come and save you from the big bad world. That is a fairy tale; that is a myth.”
“So ‘One is the Magic #’ was that moment when I felt like I had come into another level of my womanhood. I said, ‘You’re going to have to figure this out on your own, and it’s okay because you can.’ The math that the world is using may not be right for you, how they’re adding up life may not suit or fit your spirit—that was the metaphor of it all at the time.”
Taken from Scott’s The Light of the Sun album, “Rolling Hills” was the final song of the first rendition of the album (prior to an iTunes deluxe edition). Scott wrote and produced the album with Adam Blackstone, Randy Bowland, George “Spanky” McCurdy, and Eric Wortham.
“That song came up in the middle of the night. I was minding my business, asleep, and that thing jumped out of my spirit so hard and came out in one complete thought.
“I woke up—I was in a hotel in L.A.—and I was scrambling, trying to write it all down. It came out fluidly. I love when that happens. That’s my favorite part of being a vessel—when it all just comes out like that. Because you know better, I know better.
“I know I was there—nobody else was there. I wrote it; I put this in my handwriting. But I know I didn’t write it. Does that make sense? It’s so beyond me. I love that, feeling that level of communication. I do feel like the Creator was speaking exactly through me, I really do. Being able to catch those things, I shout myself out in these moments because it’s like you have to really be obedient to it. It comes and it is not a guarantee, those thoughts, those pictures. That voice will leave you if you don’t get up and write it down. It’s a gift, not a given.”
Thank you for sharing your words with us, sis!
Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
Featured image by John Shearer/WireImage