Cross My Mind
“I am a woman. I make mistakes. I make them often. God has given me a talent and that's it.” Jill Scott
Nine-times Grammy nominating American soul, R&B, jazz, and neo soul singer and songwriter who got her start in the world of music as a spoken word artist, Jill Scott received her big breakthrough with the double-platinum debut album Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds, Vol. I (2000), which produced such hit songs as “A Long Walk” and “Gettin' In the Way.” For her efforts, she was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including one for Best New Artist, and took home a Soul Train Award and three Lady of Soul Awards. Her sophomore effort, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2 (2004) became a No.1 hit R&B album and won Scott her first Grammy Award for the song “Cross My Mind.” She acquired her next Grammy Award in 2007 through her famed collaboration with George Benson & Al Jarreau in a song titled “God Bless The Child.” Scott will release her third and newest album, The Real Thing, in September 2007. Scott has also branched out into acting.
Scott also writes poetry. The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours, a compilation volume of her poems, was published and released by St. Martin's Press in April 2005.
On the personal front, Scott is known as the founder of the Blues Babe Foundation, an organization established to help young minority students pay for university expenses. She donated $100,000 to help start the foundation. She currently resides in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and is divorced from her husband of five years, Lyzel Williams.
Jilly from Philly
Childhood and Family:
Jill Scott was born on April 4, 1972, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was raised under the care of two adoring women, her mother, Joyce Scott, and her grandmother. A profoundly beloved and talented kid, Jill learned to talk at eight months old and by age four, she was reading. After graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, she attended Temple University, studying secondary education. She had planned on becoming a high school English teacher, but after a discouraging stint as a teacher's aide, decided to leave school.
In 2001, at age 29, Jill married Lyzel Williams, a graphic artist and DJ. She has since filed for divorce from her husband. Her nickname is Jilly from Philly.
A Long Walk
Before starting her professional career in music, Philadelphia native Jill Scott worked in various jobs, including numerous retail positions and a job at a construction site and an ice cream parlor. Shortly after dropping out of school, she joined a local theater troop and after some hard work, landed a spot on the Canadian cast of “Rent.” Concurrently, she began to do poetry readings and befriended some top names in the Philly artistic community, including DJ Jazzy Jeff. However, it was Ahmir “Questolove” Thompson of the hip-hop group The Roots who invited Scott to join his group in the studio and the result of this collaboration was the co-penned song “You Got Me,” which was a Top 40 pop hit in 1999. Performed by Erykah Badu and The Roots, “You Got Me” won a 2000 Grammy in the category of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Subsequently, she found herself working with other artists like Will Smith, Eric Bennet and Common, as well as working on soundtracks for the Omar Epps-LL Cool J film In Too Deep and Wild, Wild West (both 1999).
With the help of Jeff, Scott eventually signed a record deal with Steve McKeever's newly formed Hidden Beach Recordings and released her debut album in July 2000 titled Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds, Vol. I. The album reached No. 2 on the R&B charts and went to double-platinum certification. It also received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best R&B Album and won a Lady of Soul for Best R&B/Soul Album and a Soul Train for Best R&B/Soul Female Album. The lead single, “Gettin' In the Way,” earned her a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Female Vocal Performance, but it was the follow-up “A Long Walk” that garnered the soul artist some chart success, a Grammy nomination and two Lady of Soul awards for Best R&B/Soul Single and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist. Scott was also nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy.
A live album, Experience: Jill Scott 826+, which represented Scott's critically hailed live performances and also supplied alternate versions of many songs from her first album, followed in November 2001 and went gold. The same year, she also performed in VH1's Divas Live with Aretha Franklin, but then took some time off to enjoy married life. She wrote the Grammy nominating song “He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)” for husband Lyzel Williams and it was included in Experience: Jill Scott 826+. She stated, “Married life is really good. It's a beautiful thing. I enjoy spending my life with this man. I like him. I like his personality. I like the way he treats his friends. When I'm talking about love, I'm talking about him.”
Scott returned to her studio in 2003 for her new album. Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, was released in August 2004 and went on to hit No. 1 on the R&B chart and received a Grammy nomination in 2005 for Best R&B Album. She won a 2005 Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative R&B Performance, in acknowledgment of her song “Cross My Mind.” Other singles released from the album included “Golden,” “Whatever” (earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance) and “The Fact Is (I Need You).”
Also in 2004, Scott could be seen adding to her acting credits by taking on the recurring role of Donna, a lover to main character William Dent, in season four of UPN's “Girlfriends.” She also had a supporting role, opposite Kyra Sedgwick, Regan Arnold and Aidan Quinn, in the Showtime film Cavedwellers. The year also saw Scott perform live with members of The Roots, which later was included in Dave Chappelle's 2006 concert film, Dave Chappelle's Block Party.
In January, 2007, Scott released a compilation album called Collaborations, which featured “Daydreaming,” a duet single with hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco that also appeared in Fiasco's 2006 album Food & Liquor. More recently, she picked up a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the song “God Bless The Child,” a collaboration with George Benson & Al Jarreau.
The Real Thing, Scott's new studio album, is slated for a September 2007 release. The lead single, “Hate on Me,” received airplay in May 2007.
“All I have to do is be me on stage. But acting, I have to be someone else and walk how they would walk and blink how they would blink. I used to talk about it bad like, 'Aw man, that person made $10 million a movie?' But now I understand why they do. I get it now.” Jill Scott
On the acting front, Scott will have a role in the big screen adaptation of Tyler Perry's stage play, Why Did I Get Married? (2007). She is also scheduled to star in the HBO film The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (2008).
Grammy: Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance-R&B, “God Bless The Child” (George Benson & Al Jarreau feat. Jill Scott), 2007
Grammy: Best Urban/Alternative Performance/R&B, “Cross My Mind,” 2005
Lady of Soul: Best R&B/Soul Single, “A Long Walk,” 2001
Lady of Soul: Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist, “A Long Walk,” 2001
Lady of Soul: Best R&B/Soul Album, Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, 2001
Soul Train: Best R&B/Soul Female Album, Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, 2001
Lady of Soul: Aretha Franklin Award, “Entertainer of the Year,” 2001